You might be experiencing tight glutes or wondering how you can stretch your glutes before exercise.
Either way, this guide has everything you need to know about the gluteal muscles and how to stretch them effectively.
The glute muscles play a bigger part in everyday life than we tend to realize. They are important muscles for various reasons, offering support and stability with different everyday movements.
But when tightness or muscle strain is experienced in the glutes, it can mean that you are not stretching them enough, or have been putting unnecessary strain on them without realizing!
Fret not, as this guide explains how to stretch your glutes below.
What Are Glutes Used For?
Where are the glutes located exactly and what are they used for?
The gluteal muscles are located in the buttocks. As a result, it goes without saying that they are used for a variety of everyday movements, including walking, running, lifting, and even standing!
The glutes are popular muscles to train and grow, done with common exercises such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts.
But since the glutes are also used a lot, as well as sat on for long periods of time, these muscles are also subject to tightness and muscle strains that require proper attention.
The 3 Gluteal Muscles Explained
The gluteal muscles are referred to as glutes for a reason; there are three gluteal muscles, each making up a different area of the buttocks.
The three gluteal muscles are the:
- Gluteus maximus
- Gluteus medius
- Gluteus minimus
The gluteus maximus is the largest of the gluteal muscles, located from the bottom to the middle area of the buttocks.
The gluteus medius is the next largest gluteal muscle, located above the gluteus maximus close to the pelvis.
The gluteus minimus is the smallest of the glute muscles, sitting behind the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius.
Due to its size, the gluteus maximus is the gluteal muscle known for providing power and stability. It’s also the gluteal muscle that can grow the largest when trained.
Signs Of Tight Glutes
The three gluteal muscles are linked to your hips, pelvis, lower back, and hamstrings. So, experiencing tightness in the glutes can also affect these surrounding areas.
Tight glutes might feel like there is a build-up of tension around the buttocks area – as if the muscles are difficult to move or contract. It can be an uncomfortable sensation or a feeling of sharp pain when attempting to move.
Tight, or even strained, glutes can be due to a variety of reasons. These can include injury, overuse or overtraining, poor posture or gait, a bad fall, or insufficient warm up before exercising.
The Benefits Of Stretching Your Glutes
So, why should you stretch your glutes?
Stretching the gluteal muscles offers various benefits – no matter whether you consider yourself a physically active person or not.
Stretching the glutes can also benefit people of all ages and fitness levels, with positive effects that can prevent glute strains and hip problems in old age.
Overall, the benefits of stretching your glutes includes:
- Improved performance when exercising (running, cycling, swimming, and weightlifting)
- Improved mobility for everyday tasks and activities (walking, standing, and lifting)
- Reduced pain or tightness
- Reduced risk of muscle strains in the buttocks area
- Improved overall posture
- Improved gait
On the opposite end, there are little to no downsides to stretching your glutes. As long as the stretches are done safely and correctly, there is nothing but benefits to come from stretching your glutes on a regular basis or before exercise.
How To Stretch Glutes: 3 Exercises
The gluteal muscles might seem like a difficult area to stretch, but it’s more than possible to stretch your glutes using effective stretching exercises.
The following stretches do not take much time or effort, and are therefore perfect for doing in the morning before you start your day, at the end of the day before bed, or before any kind of exercise.
Needless to say, stretching your glutes should be done alongside other important muscle stretches, ideally as part of a full stretching routine.
At the same time, doing these stretches can also strengthen your glutes and help tone them up!
Downward Facing Dog Pose
Downward-facing dog is a common yoga pose that just so happens to be one of the best ways to stretch your glutes.
Performing downward-facing dog pose involves getting on your hands and knees and forming a triangle shape that’s bent at the hips.
From this position, it’s possible to hold the pose for time, or rock backwards and forwards to effectively stretch all three gluteal muscles.
Downward facing dog pose also stretches the hamstrings and calf muscles, and even builds core and shoulder strength.
Pigeon pose is another popular yoga pose that’s effective at stretching the glutes. It involves getting into a seated position with one leg bent sideways in front of you and the other leg outstretched behind you.
In pigeon pose, the glutes are contracted and can be stretched by adjusting your posture and leaning forwards.
Pigeon pose requires some degree of flexibility and hip mobility, which means it’s best to ease yourself into the pose gradually.
Bridge pose is another popular yoga pose that stretches the glutes, similar to the traditional bridge exercise performed using bodyweight and gym weights.
Bridge pose is accessible for most people of all ages and abilities, simply requiring that you lift your hips from a supine lying down position.
You can hold the pose or move the hips up and down to achieve a greater stretch of the glutes.
Doing bridge pose can also increase hip flexor mobility and provide a good stretch of the hamstrings and quadriceps.
The gluteal muscles of the buttocks might seem like a hard area to stretch, but it’s more than possible to stretch the glutes using the three effective glute stretches listed above.
These three stretches are also common yoga poses: downward-facing dog pose, pigeon pose, and bridge pose.
And you’ll be glad to know that these yoga stretches are relatively easy to do at home, requiring no equipment whatsoever!