It’s the 21st century, I think it’s safe to say we all sit way too much.
Even as someone who runs a fitness business, I still sit at my computer more than I would like to.
These excessive sitting can lead to disfunction of the glutes, core and hip flexors.
All of which are needed if we want to perform best in our sport.
Most people tend to leave out the stretching portion of a workout, and sometimes even the warm up.
Both of these pieces are curial for performance, and also for decreasing risk of injury.
Today we are going to cover 5 glute stretches to help boost your performance whether it be squatting, running, jumping, etc.
Form: Start in a half kneeling position. Take the front leg and lay in down in front of you – so you are sitting on the hips with one leg bent in front of you, and one straight behind you. The glute being stretched is the bent leg. If you need a deeper stretch, you can lay your upper body down over the front leg, relaxing forward. If you need a modification, stay upright with your chest tall, taking some of the pressure off your legs and keeping it in your hands. Hold for 30 seconds on each side, 3 times.
This stretch is also a great way to increase mobility in the hips. So rotating from side/side or forward/backward can increase that movement.
Form: Start laying flat on your back. Bend one leg up and put your foot on the floor. Take the other leg and cross it over to form a 4. Then grab the bottom leg and pull it towards you. The glute getting stretched is the top leg crossed over. I recommend holding this stretch for 30-45 seconds on each side, 3 times.
Form: Start in a seated position. Sit up tall with your legs straight out, and cross one leg over the other. You can then either hug your leg and pull it in close for a deeper stretch. Or you can twist the opposite direction to also stretch deeper. For example – if you cross your right leg over the left, you then rotate towards the right. Hold for 30 seconds on each side, 3 times.
This stretch is also great for back rotation/mobility. Especially sitting for long periods of time hunched over, the rotation can help alleviate pain and improve posture.
Form: Lay flat on your back with legs straight. Bend one knee up towards your chest, and pull it towards the opposite shoulder. This position is going to stretch your piriformis, a small muscle in the glute family. This one is responsible for external rotation of the hip, and usually weak for most people. This weakness can lead to imbalances, in the hip, but also pain if it is too weak. Ever had an ache in your butt cheek from crossing your legs or after a hip exercise you did? That is likely the piriformis. Hold for 20 seconds each side, 3 times.
Form: Start in a seated position, sitting up tall with your legs straight out in front of you. Take one leg and cross it over the other to form a 4. You can then hold here, or slightly lean forward for a deeper stretch. This stretch is also great for increase hip mobility. You want to make sure when performing this stretch not to hunch over to lean in deeper – you want to keep your chest up tall and lean forward with the chest. Hold for 30 seconds on each side, 3 times.
You know, stretching is one of those things we know we should do, but something we rarely do.
It’s slow, it’s boring, and there is no immediate return on our investment, right?
Besides – if you feel like nothing has happened yet, then you have to assume nothing is going to.
BUT – stretching is actually more beneficial than just….flexibility.
Benefits of stretching include:
• Improved posture – stretching allows us to maintain good posture, especially after sitting at a desk all day.
• Improve range of motion – this is key for performance. If you want to squat deeper, or run faster, you have to make sure your joints are healthy. Overtime, muscles get tight and we lose range of motion, stretching prevents that.
• Decrease pain – the more you move, the better you move. Stretching can help alleviate pain, especially in the back and hips.
• Injury prevention
• Decrease muscle soreness
So many benefits to stretching, but you have to remember that you don’t need to stretch for 30 minutes per day to get results.
Not to mention, stretching cold muscles isn’t beneficial at all.
In order to get true benefits, glute stretches are best done when the muscles are warm.
This can be after a workout, a walk, a run, etc.
It can also be beneficial to stretch before bed as it can promote sleep.
I recommend choosing 3-4 stretches per day, and doing them for 30-45 seconds on each side, 3 times.
This will improve flexibility and range of motion, without boring you to tears and making you spend too much time on it.
There you have it, 5 glute stretches to improve performance, but also to help break up your sitting time at work.
If you have questions – I would love for you to comment them on the blog here!