Strong glutes play a crucial role in athletic performance.
Weak glute muscles affect the entire body, largely because the glutes comprise the leg's three largest muscles—the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. When these muscles are unable to extend and externally rotate your hip and trunk, other muscle groups have to compensate. This can cause lower back issues, knee pain or ankle sprains. (Does your workout include these Glute Exercises You Need In Your Training Program?)
For you to perform optimally through sport-specific movements, your three glute muscles need to be functionally strong and flexible. This makes stretching the glutes an important part of any training program. (See STACK's Featured Flexibility Exercise: Scorpions.)
Here are three great glute stretches that can help you prevent injuries. Incorporate them in your post-workout routine.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent.
- Cross your left ankle over your right thigh.
- Pull your right thigh back toward your chest.
- Hold onto the back of your thigh with both hands.
- Maintain the stretch for up to a minute, then switch sides.
Knees to Chest
- Stay on your back.
- Bring both knees in to your chest and hold them with your hands.
- Stay centered and hold the stretch.
- Then rock side to side or make little circles with your knees to massage tension away from your spine and back muscles.
- Take an all-fours position on your hands and knees.
- Push your hips back to rest on your heels and your arms forward to the floor.
- Place your forehead on the ground.
- Round out your back for a nice glute stretch.
- Try to rest your glutes directly on your heels if you can. It's okay if they don't touch.
- For more intensity, walk your hands to the right, place your forehead back down between your arms and hold the stretch. Then walk your hands to the left and repeat.