The glutes are the muscles of the buttocks. They include the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle group of the glutes. In fact, it is the largest muscle of the body. It attaches to a long fibrous tissue known as the iliotibial band, or IT band. It inserts at the tibia, or shin bone. Another muscle, the tensor fasciae latae, also attaches to the IT band. This muscle is located at the side of the hip. The gluteus maximus primarily acts as an extensor of the hip, while the tensor fasciae latae mainly acts as a flexor and abductor of the hip. Thus, to stretch the gluteus maximus, you must flex the hip, and to stretch the tensor fasciae latae, you must extend or adduct the hip. When you stretch these two muscles, you will also stretch the IT band.
Standing Bent-Knee Glute Stretch
Stand in front of an elevated platform that reaches close to the height of your hips.
Lift your right foot off the floor and place it on top of the platform.
Flex your right knee a bit and place your left hand on the platform for support.
Lean your torso forward slightly until you feel a stretch in your glutes.
Hold this stretched position for 15 to 30 seconds, repeat the stretch with your left leg, then take a one-minute rest before moving on to the next set of stretching.
Standing Wall Tensor Fasciae Latae Stretch
Stand about 2 feet away from the wall with the right side of your body facing the wall.
Put your feet together and stand with your body upright.
Position your right hand on the wall with your right elbow extended.
Move your feet away from the wall until you feel a stretch in your right tensor fasciae latae muscle.
Hold this stretched position for 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat the stretch with the left side of your body. Take a one-minute break before moving on to the next set of stretches.
- Do three to five sets per stretch during each session. Do not perform more than three stretching sessions for the glutes and tensor fasciae latae per week.
- If your hips are not flexible enough to perform the standing bent-knee glute stretch, avoid injury by performing the stretch on a platform that is lower in height. You should lean forward more during the stretch when using a lower platform.
Richard Choueiri is a fitness and nutrition expert and the author of "The Human Statue Workout." He began writing professionally in 2007 and his work has been featured in Bodybuilding.com and "Physique Magazine." Choueiri studied exercise science and nutritional science at Rutgers University. He holds an American College of Sports Medicine CPT, and a National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association CMMACC.