Chances are, you might be doing a lot of sitting every day. Whether your job requires it or you chose to live your best seated life (no judgement here), it can result in a serious under-stimulation of your glutes. And as you know, the less you challenge a particular muscles group, the weaker (and sadder) it becomes.
The three muscles that compose your glutes are called Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus (not to be confused with some obscure characters from Gladiator). They’re the largest, and some of the strongest muscles group in your body, and together, they’re responsible for the movements of your hips and thighs.
That’s why you might sometimes feel tension or stiffness in these areas after seating for a long period of time. Or when you train your butt off just a little too much and accidentally overexert those cheeky muscles. Oops.
Not only regular stretches will improve your hip flexibility, but they can also prevent or relieve some other discomforts linked to weak glute muscles. These include tight hips and hamstrings, or pain in the lower back, pelvic area, and even in the knees.
A few other advantages of getting stronger buttocks are reduced chances of getting injured and improving your posture and overall mobility.
Here are 4 surefire exercises to stretch your way out of a stiff bum situation. Don’t forget, you’ll need some comfy, breathable gym clothing (check out our scrunchy bum leggings range, or our ombre gym leggings sets).
From all fours, bring your right foot between your hands.
Ensure your right knee is aligned with the right ankle and the hips are parallel. Try to keep this alignment throughout the pose.
On your inhale, lift up your chest and bring your hands to your waist. While keeping your back straight, move your chest forward and your shoulders backwards.
If you struggle to keep your balance, you might want to place your hands on blocks or on the floor and gently lift your chest above your thigh. Be mindful to keep your back straight.
Deepen the lunge by shifting your weight to your right leg. Make sure that the right knee is still pointing in the same direction as the toes.
Stay there for a few breaths.
To come out of the pose, plant your palms on the mat, then tuck your left toes under to help lift your hips. Come into a plank pose, then repeat on the other side.
From your low lunge, bring one ankle just behind the opposite wrist. With both hands pressing on the floor, relax your hips and low back.
For a greater glute stretch, try to keep your shin parallel to the edge of the mat. If this is too intense for you, bring your foot closer to your thigh until it feels just right.
You can also use a blanket or a pillow to support your hip, or a couple of blocks under your hands to help keep yourself elevated.
Lengthen your spine towards the sky, bring your chest forward and your shoulders back.
Stay there for about 30 seconds, then bring your elbows to the floor.
On your exhale, let your forehead rest on your hands or on the mat, whichever feels the most comfortable.
Let the gravity pull your chest towards the floor and allow every part of your body to relax. Stay there for about 5 breaths or longer.
To come out of the pose safely, just walk your hands forward and use your arms strength to lift your hips.
Switch sides and repeat.
Start laying on your back with both knees bent. Your feet should be resting flat on the floor.
Interlace your hands on your shins, just below the knees, and gently pull your knees towards your chest. Try to keep your lower back relaxed as much as you can.
Hold the pose for about 30 seconds, then release with control.
If this is a bit too demanding for your back, you can try to do this stretch one leg at a time.
Start with the passive leg either bent or extended. You might find that one way stretches your glutes more than the other, so go with what feels best.
Bring your knee to your chest for about 30 seconds, gently release, and do the same on the other side.
Repeat about 10 times on each side.
You can follow this pose directly after the knee hug by releasing your leg until it makes a 90 degrees angle, or you can start lying on your back with both legs extended. In that case, bend your left leg, then place your right ankle on the left knee.
Grab your left leg with both hands interlaced just under the knee and try bringing it to your chest.
You should feel a stretch in your hip and glutes on the right side. If you want the glute stretch to be more active, try gently pushing your right leg away why pulling the left knee closer to your chest.
Release with control and swap sides.
For a gentler variation of this pose, you can press your left foot against a wall.
If on the contrary, you feel like upping your figure 4 game and throw in a little balance exercise at the same time, you can do so by standing on one foot.