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Stretches of the Month: January Glutes

 

Every month we will cover specific stretches that will loosen a different part of the body, and for the month of January we will be focusing on the gluteus maximus muscles -- the "glutes."  In layman's terms:  the butt.  

 

Implement these three stretches and start getting your glutes loose right away.

 

Lyuda already covered the basics behind why stretching is so important for staying healthy -- and stretching out the glutes is particularly vital.  The glute muscles are used in virtually any type of exercise you would care to do -- be it running, tennis, or a workout of squats and plyometrics.  In the video above, I run through a series of three different stretches that will assist you in loosening this area right away.

 

Stretching out my glutes on the net after a tennis practice.  Loose glutes have allowed me to avoid injury and optimize my on-court movement.

Stretching out my glutes on the net after a tennis practice.  Loose glutes have allowed me to avoid injury and optimize my on-court movement.

If you play a sport that requires side-to-side movement -- tennis, soccer, lacrosse, etc. -- or if you regularly run or workout your legs with weights, you need to keep your glute muscles stretched-out because doing so will help you avoid injury in your legs -- and even more you'll keep your lower back loose. 

 

Upright movement for long periods of time will usually result in a stiff lower back, and keeping the upper leg muscles loose -- specifically the butt and hamstrings (we will cover hamstrings soon) -- will prevent you from suffering from a lower back-related injury.  As a tennis player, I am constantly stretching out these areas because I know how important this is for my game. 

 

 

Regularly stretching the glutes will have a positive effect on getting your hips loose too -- and loose hips are a must for any sportsman or regular gym-goer.  Start with the three basic stretches I outline in the video above, and you'll be on your way.

 

Loose glutes go hand-in-hand with loose hips because stretching one will positively impact the other.  Flexible glutes and hips are a must for any sport that requires side-to-side movement.

Loose glutes go hand-in-hand with loose hips because stretching one will positively impact the other.  Flexible glutes and hips are a must for any sport that requires side-to-side movement.

 

 

 

In addition to stretching out the glute muscles, you can also loosen this area by getting regular massage or "rolling out" the upper leg muscles on a lacrosse ball.  A lacrosse ball is ideal because it's hard and you can pinpoint specific areas in the muscle due to the fact that it's so small.  Get a yoga mat, lay yourself down, and then lean your full body-weight into the areas you feel are tightest.  

 

 

 

 

More on this to come, but one positive aspect of having a partner who's into fitness and regular workouts is that you can massage one another's tight areas at the end of a hard training week.  Not only will this prove useful for utilitarian reasons, but with the right massage oil and a perfected ambiance (dim the lights and burn a scented candle), it might very well spark some other healthy activity.

 

 

 

Get your glutes loose this month and begin to reap the benefits of a flexible, agile frame.

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