How to Do the Glute Stretch: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a glute stretch to help with back and hip pain, plus modifications to make it easier or harder.

Published Date: Sep 7, 2023

How to Do the Glute Stretch: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a glute stretch to help with back and hip pain, plus modifications to make it easier or harder.

Published Date: Sep 7, 2023

How to Do the Glute Stretch: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a glute stretch to help with back and hip pain, plus modifications to make it easier or harder.

Published Date: Sep 7, 2023

How to Do the Glute Stretch: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a glute stretch to help with back and hip pain, plus modifications to make it easier or harder.

Published Date: Sep 7, 2023
Table of Contents

Let’s face it: Your daily life may require you to spend countless hours seated at a desk or behind the wheel in order to do your job. As a result, you may experience muscle tightness, particularly in the gluteal region. This can cause day-to-day discomfort, and it can also play a big role in low back and hip pain

Among the many stretches and exercises that promote physical well-being and pain relief, there lies one simple-yet-effective remedy: the glute stretch. This stretch targets the powerful muscles of the butt and has a positive ripple effect on the entire body, offering a cascade of benefits.

Read on to learn more about the glute stretch and how to do it, plus ways to make it easier or harder. 

Our Hinge Health Experts

Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist and Clinical Reviewer
Dr. Peterson is a Hinge Health physical therapist who focuses on developing clinical exercise therapy programs and member education.

What Is the Glute Stretch?

There are many different variations of the glute stretch, all of which target the gluteal muscles, or the muscles of the buttocks. The seated glute stretch is one of the most common variations. It involves sitting upright in a chair and resting one ankle on the thigh of your opposite leg to relieve muscle tension, improve flexibility, and alleviate joint pain (particularly in the back and hips). 

What Muscles Does the Glute Stretch Work? 

The glute stretch primarily targets the three main muscles that make up the gluteal muscles: 

  • Gluteus maximus. This is the largest of the three gluteal muscles and is responsible for hip extension (moving your leg behind you) and outward rotation (moving your thigh away from your body).

  • Gluteus medius. Situated on the outer surface of the pelvis, this muscle is responsible for inward rotation of the thigh (moving your thigh and knee closer to your body). It also plays a significant role in stabilizing the pelvis during walking and running.

  • Gluteus minimus. This muscle is located underneath the gluteus medius and helps support the functions of the gluteus maximus and medius. 

While the primary focus of the glute stretch is to elongate and relax the gluteal muscles, the seated glute stretch also engages other muscles, including the: 

  • Piriformis. This is a small, deep muscle located beneath the gluteus maximus that helps with activities such as walking, running, changing directions, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of a car.  

  • Tensor fasciae latae (TFL). This muscle is located on the outside of the hip and connects to the iliotibial (IT) band. It helps with things like walking, running, climbing stairs, putting shoes on, and shifting weight from one foot to the other.

  • Hamstrings. Located at the back of the thigh, these muscles might be slightly stretched in the glute stretch, especially if they are already tight. Relieving tension in the hamstrings can help with walking, standing up from and sitting down in a chair, climbing stairs, bending over, jumping, and maintaining an upright posture. 

  • Lower back muscles. Bending forward during the seated glute stretch engages and stretches this area, which can make activities that involve bending, twisting, and lifting easier. 

Glute Stretch Benefits

The seated glute stretch offers several benefits, particularly if you have to spend prolonged periods sitting, engage in rigorous physical activity, or experience tightness in your hip and butt muscles. It can be particularly helpful for: 

  • Improving functional movements, like putting on your socks and shoes, getting in and out of a car, standing up from a seated position, and climbing stairs

  • Improving flexibility, particularly in your hip, back, and butt muscles 

  • Relieving muscle tension (this is especially common for people who regularly do activities such as running, cycling, or prolonged sitting) 

  • Relieving low back pain 

  • Preventing injuries 

  • Improving circulation, which can aid in muscle recovery and reduce muscle soreness 

  • Mental relaxation (taking time for stretching can be a calming activity and offer a break from daily stresses) 

As an added bonus: You can discreetly do the seated glute stretch anytime you find yourself stuck in a seated position and need a movement snack.

Glute Stretch: Exercises and Modifications 

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

Glute Stretch

Glute Stretch

Glute Stretch

Glute Stretch

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To do a glute stretch: 

  • Start by sitting in a chair with one ankle resting on your opposite thigh. The other foot should be resting flat on the floor. 

  • Hinge at your hips by moving your chest toward the floor until you feel a stretch in your leg or hip. 

  • Hold this stretch for a few seconds, taking deep breaths as you do so. 

  • Return to the starting position. 

Glute Stretch Modifications

Glute Stretch Modifications

Glute Stretch Modifications

Glute Stretch Modifications

To make the glute stretch easier:  

  • Start with your planted foot farther away from the chair. Rest the calf (instead of your ankle) of your other leg on your thigh. 

  • Bring your knee to your chest, without crossing your legs, and hold this position for a few seconds. 

  • You can also limit how far forward you lean during the stretch. 

To make the glute stretch harder: 

  • Place your hand under the knee of your lifted leg and lift your knee toward the ceiling as you bend forward. 

  • You can also increase how far forward you lean during the stretch. 

You can apply one of the above modifications to make the stretch easier or harder, or multiple modifications at once. 

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program. 

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.  

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. 

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

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References

  1. Gluteus Maximus. (n.d.). Physiopedia. Retrieved from https://www.physio-pedia.com/Gluteus_Maximus

  2. Gluteus Medius. (n.d.). Physiopedia. Retrieved from https://www.physio-pedia.com/Gluteus_Medius