The buttocks are made up of four muscles -- gluteus maximus, medius, minimus and the tiny tensor fasciae latae muscle. The buttock muscles -- or glutes -- help the leg move in and out, help the hips flex and aid in sitting. In this modern world of sedentary lifestyles, it's important to stretch the buttocks, especially before and after exercising. Check with a doctor before doing glute exercises that increase flexibility and maximize muscle length.
Tightness or a muscle imbalance in your hip muscle, or the piriformis, or the buttocks muscles, the ilopsoas and glutes, can cause a sharp pain -- called sciatica -- in your backside and legs. A conditioned called piriformis syndrome -- where an injured piriformis muscle tightness around the sciatic nerve -- can cause the same pain in your buttocks. Stretching the buttocks adds flexibility to the hip and buttock muscles, and can help relieve imbalances and re-strengthen those muscles.
Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitated stretches -- or PNF -- are a two-man job, usually done by a physical therapist or personal trainer. Known as passive stretches, PNF stretches add flexibility and relax the muscle through controlled muscle contractions. Your physical therapist or personal trainer will hold a leg and stretch the injured buttock muscle in a 10-second stretch, 10-second rest pattern. Do a set of three proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitated glute stretches.
Dynamic stretches are active, fluid stretches a physical therapist or personal trainer may suggest lowering your chance of a buttock strain. Lying dynamic buttock stretches flex the glute, hip and quad muscle before intense activities, like running, to warmup the lower body and help you gain a greater range of motion. The glute ham bridge is a dynamic lying stretch for the buttocks. Locate a smooth, yet firm surface and lie with your back on the floor. Bring your knees up and your arms along your torso. Tuck your feet near your buttocks and raise your bottom into a bridge. Lift your left knee to your chest, gently pulling it with your hands wrapped around the shin. Hold for 30 seconds and release before repeating on the other leg.
When doing a static stretch, you'll feel a burn in the muscle and will hold the stretch for 10 to 60 seconds. A 30-second static stretch, or developmental stretch, lengthens the buttock muscles and helps strengthen the hips, quads and glute muscles. A static stretch builds the buttock muscle and is best after exercise while the area is full of blood. Do lying cross-glute stretches and lying glute stretches to work the buttocks. For a lying glute stretch, lie with your back on the floor and your knees bent. Bring your left leg over your right thigh, and grab your knee with your left hand and your foot with your right. Bring the leg and foot toward you, holding the stretch for 10 to 60 seconds. Hold until the stretch no longer feels comfortable. Repeat with the right leg.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Back Pain and Sciatica - Symptoms and Causes
- Stretching For Dummies; LaReine Chabut
- Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning; Thomas R. Baechle, Roger W. Earle
- ExRx.net: Stretching and Flexibility
- Brain Training For Runners; Matt Fitzgerald
- Backpacker: Hike Forever
- Dynamic Stretching; Mark Kovacs
- Personal Training: Theory and Practice; James Crossley
- Gluteus to the Maximus - Power Programs: Build a Rounder Butt Now; Nick Nilsson
- ExRx.net: Lying Glute Stretch