What is glute med | Best gluteus medius stretches | Benefits of glute med stretching | Takeaway

A weaker gluteus medius muscle can create several problems, including pain in the lower back and hip, a shorter range of motion, improper movement, etc.

You need to strengthen and improve the flexibility of your gluteus medius in order to prevent all these complications. One effective way to do that is stretching.

In this article, I’m going to share with you the nine best gluteus medius stretches to loosen your tight hips. I’ll also guide you to do the stretches correctly and a PDF to keep things handy.

What is the Gluteus Medius?

Image: Akademie-sport-gesundheit.de

The gluteus medius is one of the three muscles that make up your buttocks. The gluteus medius lies on top of the gluteus minimus, meaning it covers the minimus muscle.

It is located between the gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus, the upper lateral aspects of the buttock.

The glute med mainly works in the abduction of the hip and thighs to rotate internally and assist in stabilizing the hip and pelvis. [1]

You may also like: 11 Best Gluteus Medius Exercise for Strength & Tone

How to Stretch Gluteus Medius: 9 Stretches

Gluteus medius stretches: A women doing glute stretch in the floor

Do these nine gluteus medius stretches to loosen your tight hips:

  • Standing Side Bend
  •  Seated Glute Stretch
  •  Z-Sit Stretch
  •  Piriformis Figure 4 Stretch
  •  Sitting Cross-Legged Glute Stretch
  •  Seated Leg Cradle
  •  Standing Hip Drops
  •  Glute Bridge with Pause
  •  Glute Foam Rolling

1. Standing Side Bend

How to:

  • Stand upright with your left arm on the hip and right arm up toward the ceiling.
  • Take a breath and bend over to the left laterally.
  • Feel a nice stretch on the lateral glute, hold that position for 20-30 seconds, and then repeat with the other side.

Or,

  • Stand with the right side of your body closer to a wall.
  • Cross your right leg to the left and stand on your left leg. Place your right arm on the wall for balance and your left arm on your hip.
  • Bend your body to the left side and feel a nice stretch on the side of your glute.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds and switch sides.

Tip

When bending your body, try to (slightly) push your hip to the opposite side to increase the tension on your gluteus medius.

2. Seated Glute Stretch

How to:

  • To begin, sit on a chair or a bench with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  • Bending your right knee at the side, lift your right leg and place it above your left thigh.
  • Then slowly lower your torso above your right thigh until you feel the stretch on your glute.
  • Hold that position for 20-30 seconds, and then do the same on the other side.

Tip

As you progress, try to lean your torso on your lifting thigh to maximize stretch on the gluteal.

3. Z-Sit Stretch

How to:

  • From Downward Facing Dog, bring your right knee in front of your body and place it on the floor about 90 degrees.
  • You can angle your right shin toward your left hip or make it parallel, depending on your range of motion (ROM).
  • You can sit upright or lean your torso toward your front leg.
  • Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds, and then do the same with your left leg.

Tip

Taking a deep breath can help you get a deeper stretch. Don’t push yourself if it feels discomfort.

4. Piriformis Figure 4 Stretch

How to:

  • Lie on your back, your knees bent, and your feet flat on the ground.
  • Cross your left foot onto your right thigh (slightly above your knee).
  • Interlace your hands behind your right thigh and pull your leg toward your body until you feel a nice stretch on your glute.
  • Hold that position for 20-30 seconds and repeat with the other side.

Tip

You can do this stretch in a standing position. Bring your leg into a figure 4 and lower your hip like you’re sitting on an invisible chair. Relax your muscles and feel the stretch on your glute.

5. Sitting Cross-Legged Glute Stretch

How to:

  • To do this stretch, sit cross-legged on the ground with your back straight.
  • With your arms outstretched above your head, slowly lean your torso forward until you feel a nice stretch on your glute.
  • Hold that position for 20-30 seconds.

Tip

Don’t lower your torso too much if you feel discomfort. However, you can lower down further if your body allows it.

6. Seated Leg Cradle

How to:

  • Sit on the mat with your legs in front of you and your arms at your sides.
  • Then bend and lift your left leg and bring it toward you. Cradle your arm around your left leg.
  • With your hands, lift your left leg upwards until you feel a stretch on your gluteal.
  • Hold that pose for 20-30 seconds, and then switch to the other side.

Tip

Do the same movement in a standing position to increase your range of motion. You can place one hand on a wall for balance.

7. Standing Hip Drops

Although the standing hip drop is not stretching, it’s a great exercise to strengthen the gluteus medius. It helps align your pelvis, which helps you perform the other movements (like running, lunging, etc.) efficiently.

How to:

  • To begin, stand upright on your right leg on a block or weight plate with your hip level and hands on the hip.
  • Then slowly drop your left hip lower than the right hip.
  • Perform desired reps and switch sides.

Tip

Hold a dumbbell or weight plate to strengthen your gluteus medius.

8. Glute Bridge with Pause

How to:

  • Lie with your back on the mat, keep your legs bent and feet flat on the ground, and spread your arms at your sides for support.
  • Keeping your core engaged, lift your hip off the ground and squeeze your glute at the top for 5 seconds.
  • Then slowly lower your hip and repeat.

Tip

When lifting your hip, be sure to squeeze your glute intensely. Use a weight plate or dumbbell to increase resistance.

9. Glute Foam Rolling

How to:

  • To target the gluteus medius, slightly rotate your lower body and sit on a foam roller so that the lateral and upper of your glute (i.e., glute med muscle).
  • Keep rolling for about 1-2 minutes or about 10-12 rolls.
  • Alternatively, you can use a tennis or lacrosse ball that will hit the muscle more intensely.

Tip

Bend and place the opposite leg on top of your leg to increase the tension.

Benefits of Gluteus Medius Stretching

Regular stretching of the gluteus medius can benefit in several ways, including:

  • relieve tightness and tension in the glute
  • prevent lower back, hip, and knee pain
  • improve flexibility and range of motion
  • reduce the risk of injury

A tight glute med muscle may prevent you from achieving full range of motion (ROM) with lower body exercises, and certain yoga poses.

So, it’s worth taking the time to stretch your gluteus medius.

The Takeaway

Weaker gluteus medius muscle is very common in people who live a sedentary lifestyle or spend long hours sitting.

Choose any 3-5 glute med stretches and do 3 to 4 times a week. You can also include the glute stretch as a warm-up before the main workout.

Remember, if you have to sit for long hours, try to maintain a good upright posture. Standing up every 30 minutes and doing a little walk may also help.

So… There we have it: Best gluteus medius stretches.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below. I’d love to help you!

Read Next: 15 Best Upper Glute Exercises for Mass


References

1. Sean Sadler, Samuel Cassidy, Benjamin Peterson, Martin Spink, and Vivienne Chuter (2019). Gluteus medius muscle function in people with and without low back pain: a systematic review. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 20(1), 463. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31638962/