TOP 12 GLUTE STRETCHES
We are all looking to tighten up our glutes and spend hours squatting, lunging, jumping and hip thrusting to get a gravity-defying booty and while a lifted, taut derrière is something to be proud of, a tight rear can actually be a pain in the butt, which is why it is essential to incorporate glute stretches at the end of every butt workout.
A sore butt makes it hard to sit, stand or walk, but stretching our glutes tends to be an afterthought. We work on flexibility for our hamstrings and quads, even take care of the hip flexors, but for some reason we tend to forget about the glutes and leave them to their own devices.
However, tight glutes don’t just limit our range of motion, it can also negatively impact our performance, so in this post, we want to focus on giving our glutes a little extra TLC.
Here are our TOP 12 GLUTE STRETCHES that prepare the body for movement and reduce the risk of injury if you do them before your workout and increase range of motion, enhance flexibility and release tension or tightness after your workout is done.
#1 Figure 4 Stretch
Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, hip-width distance apart. Pick up your right leg and place your right ankle right above your left knee onto the left thigh, foot flexed. Lift up both legs, push the right knee away from your chest and draw the left knee towards you. You can hold on to the back of your left thigh by threading your right arm through between your legs. Make sure to relax your head and back on the floor.
#2 Seated Figure 4 Stretch
Sit on your mat with your legs in front of you and your hands behind you, fingers pointing away from your body. Place your right ankle just above your left knee and flex your foot. Slowly bend the left leg towards you until you feel a stretch in the outer right hip. Make sure your back is straight and you pull your shoulders down the back. Use your hands as leverage to push your chest forward. Don’t forget to switch sides.
#3 Cradle Knee Hug / Standing Figure 4 Stretch
Stand tall with your feet hip-width distance apart, tailbone tucked under, belly button pulled towards the spine, back straight, chest lifted and shoulders away from the ears. Pull the right knee up towards the chest and hold your right knee with your right hand and your right, flexed foot with your left hand, so your lower leg is parallel to the ground. Lift the leg as high as you can towards your chest without compromising your form and gently rock your leg side to side. Hold this cradle knee hug for about 30 seconds before placing the right ankle just above the left knee as you bend your left knee to come to a one-legged chair pose. Bring your hands together in front of your chest and hinge forward at your hips so you can place your forearms onto your right lower leg to intensify the stretch. Hold for 45 to 60 seconds before switching legs.
#4 Hip-to-Heel Rocking
This is a great dynamic warm-up stretch that will prepare your body for exercises like squats and lunges. Come to all fours with your shoulders directly over your wrists, shoulder blades floating on the back, belly button pulled towards the spine, knees hip-width distance apart and cross your right ankle over your left ankle. Shift your hips back towards your left heel, hold it for a breath or two and then shift your hips back forward to align them over your knees. Keep rocking back and forth before switching the cross of your ankles.
#5 Seated Leg Cradle
Start seated with your legs extended straight out in front of you, spine straight and belly button towards the spine. Bend your right knee and draw it towards the chest, cradling the lower leg by placing the right knee in the crook of your right elbow and the sole of the right, flexed foot in the crook of your left elbow. Make sure to keep your spine straight and chest lifted and gently rock your right leg from side to side. You should feel this in your right glute and hip area. You can adjust the intensity of this stretch by holding your knee and foot with your hands or scooping both elbows underneath your calf muscle. Don’t forget to switch sides.
#6 Seated Spinal Twist
Sit up straight with your legs stretched out in front of you. Bend your right knee and cross the right foot over your left thigh. Bring the right hand behind you, placing it close to your butt to support a straight spine and hook the left elbow on the outside of your right knee. Turn your head and look over the right shoulder and hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, release the twist and repeat the same on the other side. You can intensify the stretch by bending the left knee as well and binding your hands behind your back or lessen the intensity of the stretch by hugging the knee into your chest instead of hooking the left elbow to the outside of your right knee.
#7 Pigeon Pose
From Downward Facing Dog bring your right knee into the chest and let the right knee come down behind the right wrist while bringing the right flexed foot across your mat behind your left wrist. Stretch your left leg back and make sure your hips stay square. If your right hip is off the ground, place a blanket or yoga block underneath it to fill the gap. Inhale and puff out your chest and as you exhale fold forward over your right shin. If your forehead domes down to the ground, place your hands on top of each other to create a pillow for your head. You can also use a yoga block if your head doesn’t come all the way down. Hold Pigeon for at least 45 to 60 seconds before switching sides.
#8 Double Pigeon
Start seated with your legs straight out in front of you, abs tight, spine straight and shoulders down the back. Bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle so that your shin is parallel to the front of your mat. Bend your left knee, pick up your left leg and stack it on top of your right leg with the shins directly on top of each other and the left ankle above the right knee. Keep both knees flexed to protect your knees and aim to lower your left knee on top of your right ankle. This may already be very intense for you, however, if you want more, press your hands into your feet and with a flat back, fold forward over your legs. Stay in Double Pigeon for at least 60 seconds before switching sides.
#9 Prone Happy Cow
Lie face-up on your mat and draw both knees into your chest. Cross the right knee over the left knee, making sure the knees are directly in front of each other, stacked over your hips and grab a hold of your right foot with your left hand and your left foot with your right hand. Pull your feet closer to you until you feel a stretch in your glutes and hip area. Hold for at least 45 seconds before releasing the pose and switching the cross of your legs.
#10 Cow Face Pose
Start sitting with your legs extended in front of you, then bend your knees and bring your feet flat on the ground. Slide your left foot under the right knee to the outside of the right hip. Cross your right leg over the left, making sure your knees are stacked on top of each other and bring the right foot to the outside of the left hip. Make sure your feet a equally away from the hips and you sit evenly on your sitting bones. This may already be more than enough, however, if you want more, bring your right arm up and bend the elbow, so that your palm will touch your back in between the shoulder blades. Internally rotate your left arm and bring it behind your back, trying to clasp the hands together. You can always use a strap or towel if your hands don’t come together. Slowly fold forward over your legs and hold for five to ten breaths before switching to the other side. If this is too intense, you can always extend your bottom leg and start with just one knee bent.
#11 Pretzel Stretch
Lie on your back with both legs extended in front of you and your arms straight out to the sides at shoulder height, so you look like a giant T. Pull the right knee into the chest and let the right knee fall over to the left side just like in a supine spinal twist. From here extend the right leg and hold on to your right toes with your left hand to feel a hamstring stretch on top of a glute stretch in your right leg. Bend your left knee and hold onto the left toes with your right hand, pulling the left foot closer to you so you feel a quad stretch in the left leg. Hold for at least 60 seconds before repeating the same on the other side.
#12 Modified Low Lunge Glute Stretch
Start in a low lunge with your right foot forward on the outside of your right hand and place the left knee on the ground, untucking the left toes. Now turn your right foot out to a 90-degree angle and press the right knee towards the back so that you come to the outside edge of your right foot. You can use your right hand to guide the back of the right knee towards the floor. Your knee won’t really touch the floor, but aiming in that direction is going to deepen the stretch. If you want to deepen the stretch even more, place your forearms on the ground. Don’t forget to switch sides.
Incorporate these butt stretches into all your workouts so you can reduce soreness, prevent injury and get your glute muscles into tip top shape. Keep in mind, our glutes don’t just get tight from an intense butt workout. Between sitting at a desk at work all day, sitting on the subway or in our car during our commute to and from work and sitting on the sofa to watch our favorite Netflix series, our glutes get tighter and tighter and need a little TLC.
RELIEVE GLUTE TIGHTNESS AND PAIN
Joschi & Monika