The gluteus minimus is the smallest of the three gluteal muscles that comprise the buttocks. It originates at the ilium -- part of the pelvis -- and inserts on the greater trochanter of the femur. Despite its diminutive size, gluteus minimus has a number of important roles including the internal and external rotation, abduction and flexion of the leg. Additionally, gluteus minimus works with the other gluteal muscles to stabilize the pelvis while you walk or run. Consequently, it is important to stretch the gluteus minimus muscle before and after aerobic exercise.
Outer Hip Stretch
Lie on your back with your legs extended but not locked at the knees. Cross your right leg over the left and place your right foot on the floor next to your left knee. Extend your right arm out at shoulder-width and place your right palm on the floor to stabilize your upper body. Use your left hand to gently pull your right knee toward the ground. Allow your foot to come off the ground, but keep your right knee bent. Bring your right knee toward the ground until you feel a stretch. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds, then slowly return to the start position. Repeat the outer hip stretch on the opposite side.
Lie on your stomach with your hands palms down under your shoulders. Push into the floor to extend your arms. Bring your right leg out to the side, then tuck it under your body so the sole of your right foot is pressed against your left thigh. Breathe deeply and hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. To deepen the stretch, bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle.
Bent Leg Stretch
Sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you. Place your hands on the floor behind your back and straighten your arms for balance. Tuck your right leg under the left such that the right knee is bent to a 90-degree angle. The mid-calf of your right leg should be under the left knee. Straighten your left leg by pushing your heel away from your body. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
Lie on your back, extend your legs and press your heels into the floor. Reach with both hands and intertwine your fingers just above the knee of your right leg. Gently bring the right thigh toward your chest until you feel tension. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. If it is more comfortable, bend the relaxed leg slightly.
Carolyn Robbins began writing in 2006. Her work appears on various websites and covers various topics including neuroscience, physiology, nutrition and fitness. Robbins graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology and theology from Saint Vincent College.