5 Ways to Stretch the Gluteus Medius

Gluteus Medius Stretches: What You Should Know About Glutes?

The gluteus medius muscle is one of the most commonly injured muscles in the body. A common mistake made by many individuals is to perform too much weight training exercises with their legs, which results in overuse injuries. This leads to chronic knee problems and other musculoskeletal pains. If you are interested in learning how to stretch your glutes properly, then read on!

What Is Gluteus Medius?

The gluteus medius is a large quadriceps muscle located at the front of the thigh. It attaches to the hip joint via ligaments and tendons. The gluteus medius plays an important role in stabilizing your spine during standing, walking, running, jumping and landing from these activities. This muscle is responsible for extending your leg forward while maintaining balance during all types of movement.

How Does Gluteus Medius Work?

When performing any type of activity involving your legs, it is very important to keep them stable. The gluteus medius helps stabilize your knees and ankles when you walk or run. When doing activities such as jogging, cycling, swimming and even playing sports like soccer or basketball, the gluteus medius will need some extra attention if you want to avoid injury.

Common Gluteus Medius Stretches

Knowing how to stretch your glutes properly is very important. Here are a few common stretches for the gluteus medius. Be sure to do all stretches slowly and hold them for around 30 seconds or so. You should feel a mild burn during the stretch and if you go too far, then you will most likely feel a sharp pain. If this happens, then you have gone too far and should back off slightly.

Standing IT Band Stretch

The IT band is a thick band of fascia that runs down the outside of your leg from your hip to your knee. It is very common for this band to become very tight on people, especially those who cycle a lot. To stretch this band, all you need to do is stand with your feet together and lift your knee up to your chest. Grab your ankle and pull your foot towards your buttocks. You may need someone to spot you in case you lose your balance.

Keep your knee slightly bent as you stretch, this will prevent you from overstretching the knee ligaments. Hold the stretch for at least 20 seconds and then switch legs.

Piriformis Stretch

The piriformis is a small muscle located underneath the gluteus medius. If this muscle starts to become tight, then it can cause the gluteus medius to become tight as well. This may result in pain and discomfort in your hip region. A piriformis stretch should help alleviate the pain caused by a tight piriformis. To do this stretch, all you need to do is sit down with one leg bent in front of you and the other leg out straight.

Gently pull the foot of your bent leg towards your hip until you feel the stretch. Hold this position for at least 20 seconds and then gently switch legs.

Piriformis Crawl

The piriformis crawl is a great exercise that stretches the piriformis muscle along with the other hip opening muscles such as the gluteus maximus and the iliotibial band. All you need to do is get down on all fours and then move one leg forward and the opposite arm back. Keep moving in this crawling motion until you have ‘crawled’ for at least ten seconds and then gently switch legs and arms. You should feel a nice hip stretch after doing this for both sides.

Hip Flexor Stretch

The hip flexors are a group of muscles located at the front of your hip that help to lift your knee and stabilize your leg when walking or running. If these muscles get tight, then it can cause a lack of mobility and could potentially put pressure on the lower back. It is important to do hip flexor stretches in order to keep these muscles loose and eliminate lower back pain.

One way to stretch the hip flexors is to lie on your back with one knee bent and the foot flat on the floor. Keep the other leg straight and gently pull the knee into your chest. You should feel the stretch in the front of your hip. Hold the stretch for at least 20 seconds and then gently switch legs and repeat.

The second way to stretch the hip flexors is to kneel on one leg and keep the other leg out straight with the foot on the floor. Keep the torso upright and slowly begin to lean forward until you feel a mild stretch in your hip. You should not feel this stretch in your groin or in your knees. Hold this position for at least 20 seconds and then gently switch legs and repeat.

It is important to remember that when your body is in pain, it needs time to heal. You should not try to force it or rush the healing process, otherwise you risk making it worse. Always listen to your body and never do anything that causes you pain. If you feel any unusual pain while performing these stretches, then stop immediately and wait until the pain has gone away completely before trying again. Work your way up to the more difficult stretches and try to do them twice a day, but never on consecutive days.

Lastly, if you have not used some of these stretches before, then ask a doctor before performing them for the first time.

By performing these stretches on a regular basis, you should see an improvement in your hip flexibility which should help to eliminate or at least decrease the intensity of your hip pain.

Sources & references used in this article:

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Effects of three different stretching techniques on vertical jumping performance by B Kirmizigil, B Ozcaldiran… – The Journal of Strength …, 2014 – cdn.journals.lww.com

Iliotibial band syndrome: a common source of knee pain by R Khaund, SH Flynn – American family physician, 2005 – aafp.org

Exercise and load modification versus corticosteroid injection versus ‘wait and see’for persistent gluteus medius/minimus tendinopathy (the LEAP trial): a … by R Mellor, A Grimaldi, H Wajswelner, P Hodges… – BMC musculoskeletal …, 2016 – Springer