The only 2 glute stretches you'll ever need.

glute stretch glute stretches Aug 14, 2023
Glute Stretches

Do you get stiffness or discomfort in the side of your hip? 

Have you tried stretching this area but can’t seem to find relief? 

Well hipster, you’re not alone. This area of the body is one of the most common places to feel stiff. 

Those lateral glute muscles are incredibly strong and vital for moving with healthy function.  

But with great strength comes great responsibility. 

And sometimes, these muscles take on a little too much of the load.


Maybe it’s the other side of the body that slacks off. Or its other joints and muscles upstream or downstream that don’t equally contribute. 

These lateral hip muscles will often work extra hard to keep us moving.  

The result: stiffness and achiness. 

So what do we do about it? How do we get this part of the body opened up and feeling better? 

Stretching, yes. But also strengthening and balancing out other areas of the body. 

In this article, I’ll show you how to do both. 

How to Stretch the Glutes

Before I share my favorite glute stretches with you, let’s talk about the how.

How do we stretch the glutes?

I’m not about to give you an anatomy lesson and put you to sleep. BUT understanding the basic function of the muscle you’re trying to stretch will help you stretch it.

Once you understand the HOW, any stretch you try becomes 10x more valuable.

First and foremost, there are multiple glute muscles. It’s unclear what exactly some people mean when they say “glutes.”

The glute muscle group has become popular in the last decade (thanks Kardashians?).

But this mainstream reference to glutes in the fitness world probably refers to the actual muscles of the butt.

The budonkadunk.

This is where the glute max exists and is one of the strongest muscles in the body. It’s mainly responsible for closing hip extension and opening hip flexion.

The glute max is a VERY important muscle. But most people that I work with and that hit me up for advice don’t feel stiff in this muscle.

Rather, it’s the side of the hip that most people complain about. This is where the Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus, TFL and the “deep six” glute muscles live.

These muscles are responsible for closing hip abduction. They also support opening rotation and adduction.

What do I mean by “closing” and “opening?”

Every muscle in the body either lengthens or contracts to support a movement. Another word for lengthen is to stretch.

Still with me?

In order to stretch a muscle we need to place it in the position that it lengthens in.

For the lateral glute muscles, this would be rotation - and more specifically, hip external rotation.

The Best Glute Stretch You’ve Never Tried

My favorite stretch for the lateral hip is the hip twist stretch.

I’ve posted and written about this stretch many times. But as they say, if ain't broke, don't fix it. 

This stretch works. It puts those lateral hip muscles in a stretched position just like we want.

It also allows most people to access this position for a long period of time.

Hip external rotation is a difficult and limited movement for many.

This exercise is awesome because it makes it easy for almost anyone to safely access deeper ranges of hip external rotation.

Some people complain that they can’t get into the position with the way I demonstrate it.

An easy solution for this is to simply walk your feet further away from you.

This small tweak will reduce hip flexion (another limited movement for many people) and make the exercise much easier.

How to balance the glutes for more function 

As I mentioned earlier, stretching is not the only way to get those lateral glute muscles feeling better. 

Some may argue that balance and strength are even more important than stretching.  

I think it all depends on the person.   

It’s not so much about finding the perfect exercise as finding the right exercise for you at the right time. 

Whether it’s a stretch or activation exercise, the exercise that helps you experience and learn something new about your body is the one you need to bookmark. 

The glute conversation exercise is another staple in my exercise library.  When it comes to helping people with lateral hip stiffness, it is my #1 go to exercise. 

Combined with the hip twist stretch, I have confidence that you will notice something happen to your movement once you’re done. 

Closing Thoughts

Stretching has become incredibly polarized in recent years. Some swear by it while others shun it as the worst thing since GMOs.

Like most things in life, there is a middle ground.

Should you jump into a stretch every time you feel some stiffness in your glutes? Probably not.

But to say stretching has no value or that it’s dangerous is also silly.

There have been stretching practices for thousands of years - for a reason. It works.

We just have to balance it with other exercises that promote stability and strength.

That's why I usually program strength work along with stretching to ensure we give the body the best possible stimuli. 

Try the above two exercises back-to-back with the hip twist stretch done first for a few weeks.  

I'm confident you will notice changes in how your glutes and hips feel.