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3 Gluteus Maximus Stretches You've Been Missing!

Your glutes work hard for you everyday. Whether you’re a casual athlete or a serious gym rat, your glutes play a pivotal role in your daily movement. If you’re looking for some go-to  stretches to add to you stretching routine, you’ve come to the right place. 

Consistently incorporating these stretches to increase your glute flexibility will have you feeling limber and enjoying your newfound mobility. 

3 Best Gluteus Maximus Stretches

Standing Knee to Chest

  1. Stand straight with feet hip-width apart.
  2. Shifting your weight onto one leg, lift the opposite knee towards your chest.
  3. Use your hands to grab just below your knee, pulling inward.
  4. Keep your back straight.
  5. Stretch and hold for 15-30 seconds. 
  6. Lower your leg and switch sides.

Seated Figure 4 Stretch

  1. Sit tall on the floor with your legs extended.
  2. Bend your knees placing your feet flat and hip-width apart.
  3. Cross one ankle over the opposite knee.
  4. Sit tall and apply gentle pressure.
  5. Stretch and hold for 15-30 seconds.
  6. Switch sides.
seated figure 4 stretch for gluteus maximus stretch


Seated Twist

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched straight in front of you.
  2. Place your left leg over your right leg (placing your foot on the floor outside of your knee) and place your left arm behind you. 
  3. Place your right arm over your left knee.
  4. Twist to your left, using your right arm to pull your knee inward.
  5. Stretch and hold for 15-30 seconds.
  6. Switch sides

Stretching Tips:

  • Begin slowly and move with control.
  • Engage your core muscles to stabilize your torso as you stretch.
  • Aim for 2-3 reps for each side.
  • Stretch at least 2-3 times a week.
  • Ease off the stretch if you have any discomfort.
  • Remember to warm-up and cool-down.
  • Don’t forget to breathe!
  • Safety Precautions:

  • If you have pain in certain areas - consult with your doctor or physical therapist before moving forward with stretches.
  • Inflammatory conditions, recent surgery, or recent injury are some examples of when you should proceed with caution or consult with your healthcare provider.
  • If you have muscle discomfort due to nerve irritation, stretching may make it worse. Consult a physical therapist for how to better handle this issue. 

  • The Role of the Gluteus Maximus 

    The gluteus maximus is:

    1. The largest muscle in our body
    2. The most superficial of the three glute muscles.
    3. A major hip extensor, rotator and abductor
    4. Essential in stabilization (pelvis and lower back)

    A study published in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine analyzed the amount that the gluteus maximus activates by using electromyograph (EMG) technique. EMG was used to measure gluteal muscle activity and showed that high levels of gluteal muscle activation can be achieved with bodyweight as resistance. 

    With this discovery, it’s no surprise that the gluteus maximus is active in multiple exercises and movements such as…

    • Squats
    • Lunges
    • Deadlifts
    • Jumping
    • Sprinting
    • Changes in direction [1] 
    gluteus maximus anatomy for gluteus maximus stretch

    Even if you don’t do weight lifting or resistance exercises, using your glutes (not just the maximus) is necessary when it comes to walking and providing stability. 

    Gluteus Maximus Stretch: Why Are My Glutes Tight?

    The following are some reasons why you may be experiencing tension in your glute muscles. These same reasons can often be applied to other muscle groups as well.

    Overuse: Have you tried a new workout recently? Forgotten to stretch or do a proper warm-up? Also, not allowing for adequate recovery time can contribute to tightness or tension.

    Injury: A gluteus maximus tear would be painful, although this isn’t very common. Otherwise, if you experienced trauma or a contact type of injury, this may also contribute to tension. 

    Sedentary Lifestyle: Inactivity can indeed lead to muscle tightness. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) it can cause changes in muscle fibers that may contribute to muscle stiffness. 

    To prevent chronic tightness, be aware of your fitness routine (do you stretch and dedicate time to recovery?) and also use proper form and technique.

    Gluteus Maximus Stretch Benefits

    The benefits of stretching are numerous and worth your time. Just know that you can’t necessarily experience these benefits unless you stretch consistently.

    Some of the benefits of stretching are:

    Improve flexibility: Having improved range of motion allows you to move more freely helping you to use your joints to their full potential. Better flexibility also means better performance. 

    Decrease injury risk: The more limber you are the less susceptible you may be to strains, sprains and other injuries. 

    Improve circulation: Better blood flow is always a good thing since our muscles (and organs) get oxygen and nutrients via blood. This can also lead to some relaxing benefits. 

    Heart Benefits: According to Harvard Health, you can also help reduce blood pressure which would help protect you against heart disease and stroke. The article reports, “… leg stretching could add extra protection against heart disease, stroke, and even diabetes, all of which are associated with reduced blood flow. They added that leg stretching is especially helpful for high-risk people who have mobility issues and cannot exercise on a regular basis.” [2]

    If an easy stretching routine done 2-3 times a week can give you the above benefits, what have you got to lose! 

    Glute Stretch QL Claw Edition

    If you have the QL Claw (and if you don’t… you’re missing out!) this massage tool can release tension in the gluteus medius… which is slightly proximal and beneath the gluteus maximus. 

    While they are in slightly different locations, having tension in one muscle can still affect the other and of course influence your performance.

    Check out this video on how to position for pain relief!

    Gluteus Maximus Stretch FAQ

    How do you relieve gluteus maximus pain?

    The answer to this question depends on what’s causing your pain.

    If it’s caused by muscle strain or injury, rest is always the best intervention.

    Sometimes a muscle can also get tight because of nerve irritation - in which case, stretching might not be a good idea. 

    After your initial period of pain has subsided, start incorporating more stretching and strengthening exercises.

    If this doesn’t work or if your pain doesn’t get better, see your healthcare provider.

    How do you release gluteus maximus?

    Releasing tension in your glute muscles involve doing the stretches mentioned above. There are, however, so many other stretches you can try. Additionally, remember that correct form and consistency are key when releasing tight muscles.

    Tightness in your muscles can be due to trigger points or muscle knots. If you are unable to release them yourself, you can also try a butt massage from a physical therapist or masseuse!

    How do you loosen your gluteus minimus?

    The answer to this question is relatively the same as the previous question.

    What are symptoms of tight glutes?

    Symptoms of tight glutes may include the following:

  • Pain or discomfort (can be at rest of during activity)
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Low back pain
  • Pelvic pain/instability

  • You can address these symptoms with the above interventions. Remember to check with your healthcare provider if you don’t experience any relief!

    Gluteus Maximus Stretch: Conclusion

    Stretching can be one of the easiest habits you can include in your daily (or weekly) routine. Because our glute muscles are involved in all lower body movements, it’s an understatement to say that you should take care of your glutes!

    When you stretch consistently, your muscles will not only perform at their best but they will also feel more relaxed when at rest and recover faster as well. We should be able to enjoy optimal strength and full range of motion as we age no matter what our activity level!

    Now that you've read about gluteus maximus stretches, check out our page on gluteus maximus tears!


    [1] Neto, W., Soares, E., Vieira, T., Aguiar, R., Chola, T., Sampaio, V., Gama, E. Gluteus maximus actication during common strength and hypertrophy exercises: a systematic review. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 2020.  

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