Tight hips got you feeling stiff and achy? Use these nine glute stretches to alleviate tension in your hips.
Your hips can easily become tight if you sit too much or exercise too hard. If you don’t have a regular stretching regimen in place, now is the time to start!
The hip complex is just that: complex. There are four muscle groups that make up the hip complex, and the glutes are one of them.
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From large to small, the gluteal muscles are made up of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. One of the strongest muscles in the body, you use the gluteus maximus for daily movements like sitting, standing, running, and jumping.
Stiffness in your glutes will also cause stiffness, pain, or even injury in areas of the body like the lower back, knees, shoulders, and neck
The gluteus medius and minimus are stabilizing muscles that assist in movements like walking and balancing. These three muscles are all heavily affected by sitting, which causes them to become shortened, tight, and weak.
Other common causes of tight glutes include cycling, running, weight lifting, and repetitive motions during work. Since the whole body is connected via the kinetic chain, stiffness in your glutes will also cause stiffness, pain, or even injury in areas of the body like the lower back, knees, shoulders, and neck. (1)
Both static and dynamic stretching effectively relieve tightness while increasing the range of motion in muscles. Dynamic stretching – moving a limb through its full range of motion – is a great way to begin your stretching regimen safely since it increases circulation and warms up your muscles.
9 Easy Glute Stretches
Do these glute stretches once (or even twice!) a day to release tight hips and improve your overall mobility.
Leg Swings | 12 reps per side
This dynamic stretch warms up the glutes, hip flexors, and core.
- Stand with your left hand on a wall. Engage your abs.
- Lift your right leg and swing it forward and then back, like a pendulum.
- Swing for 12 reps, keeping your torso upright the entire time. Switch sides.
Lunges | 10 reps per side
Lunges work to open up tight hip flexors, while also strengthening the glutes and legs.
- Start standing. Step your right foot forward a few feet and lift your left heel up. Engage your abs and place your hands on your hips.
- Inhale to lunge, bending both knees toward 90 degrees. Keep your front knee from sliding in over your toes.
- Exhale to straighten your legs back out and squeeze your glutes at the top. Repeat for 10 reps, then switch sides.
Bridge | 12 reps
Pressing up into bridge pose helps strengthen the glutes while releasing tight hip flexors.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width distance on the mat. Lengthen your arms down alongside your body with your palms turned face down.
- Engage your abs and press down through your palms. Inhale to lift your hips up, drawing your lower belly up and in and squeezing your glutes.
- Hold for a moment, and then slowly lower down one vertebra at a time. Repeat for 12 reps.
Pigeon Pose | 30 sec per side
This static yoga pose helps to open up tight glutes and the smaller muscles in the hips.
- Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees.
- Pick up your right leg and bring your right knee behind your right wrist. Flex your right toes back towards your shin.
- Straighten your left leg back behind you and untuck your toes. Stay on your palms or lower to your forearms to deepen the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Twisting Glute Stretch | 30 sec per side
Here’s another static stretch to relieve tightness in the outer glutes and hips. It also improves mobility in the lower back.
- Sit on your mat with your legs straight out in front of you.
- Cross your right leg over your left so that your right foot is flat on the ground next to your left thigh.
- Twist your torso to the right, wrapping your left arm around the front of your right shin to hug the leg in towards your chest. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Wall Runner’s Lunge | 30 sec per side
Relieve tight hip flexors and quads with this wall-assisted version of a classic static stretch.
- Fold your mat in half and place it up against a wall.
- Kneel down facing away from the wall with your right foot between your hands and your left toes touching the wall.
- Curl your left heel up towards your glutes and then slide the top of your left foot up the wall. Scoot your left knee a little bit closer to the wall to deepen the stretch. Keep your right knee stacked over your ankle.
- You can stay here, or walk your hands up onto your right thigh to deepen the stretch.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
IT Band Stretch | 30 sec per side
This stretch relieves tightness in the gluteus minimus and outer hip muscles.
- Stand with your right side facing a wall, slightly more than an arm’s distance away.
- Rest your right hand onto the wall and place your left hand on your hip. Keep your right arm and both legs straight, and your hips square.
- Lean your right hip toward the wall until you feel a stretch in your right outer hip.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Pretzel Stretch | 30 sec per side
The pretzel stretch opens up the gluteus medius and minimus, minimizing hip pain.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.
- Cross your right ankle over your left thigh.
- Pick up your left foot and thread your right arm between your legs. Interlace your hands behind your left thigh and hug the leg in towards your chest. Flex both feet.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Supine Stacked Knee | 30 sec per side
Similar to the pretzel stretch, this twisted pose opens up the outer hips and glutes.
- Remain lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.
- Cross your right thigh all the way over your left thigh. Then, pick up your crossed legs and bring your knees in towards your chest. Flex both feet.
- Reach your hands up and place each hand on the top of the opposite foot. Guide the feet out and towards your body to feel a stretch through the outer hips.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch the crossing of your legs and hold for another 30 seconds.
(Your Next Workout: 10 Gentle Yoga Poses to Release Tight Hips)