Woman in pigeon pose

The two glute stretches you should do after every leg day

Posted by for Strength

The lower body stretch a fitness trainer swears by. 

Like every muscle, we want our glutes to be strong in order to power us through lifting, runs and every day movement. But intense training can make muscles tight, which can result in pain and injury.

As the glutes are one of the biggest muscles in our body, they are responsible for keeping the rest of our body going. Weak glutes can therefore refer pain all over the body, including the knees, back, hips and hamstrings. The easiest way to help? Stretching. 

“Stretching the glutes out after working them will release the tension you just put into the muscles,” explains Emma. Not only will that help muscles recover, but it will also increase mobility and range of motion in the glutes which in turn will help you lift and move better in your future strength training. 

“These are the two stretches that I practise after leg day,” says Emma. “The key with them isn’t where you end up, but how they feel. You should feel a deep release.”

The figure four stretch

“This gets really deep into the glute and works one side at a time which means you can take the stretch as far as each side will let you,” says Emma. 

Figure four stretch
Figure four stretch

This can be performed lying down, sat on the ground or in a chair or standing up. It involves bringing the ankle to the opposite knee (if you perform this lying down, bring one foot flat on the ground and bring the other ankle to meet the knee). Flex the foot and press the knee back towards the foot. 

The pigeon stretch

Starting in a high plank position, bring one knee into the chest so the knee meets the elbow and then bring the foot towards the opposite hand. Once the leg is bent like this, place the weight down so your body is on the floor, the weight through the front hip and you’re resting on your finger tips. Take this stretch further by coming down to your forearms or so your chest is folded down towards the floor. Alternatively, bring the leg to be parallel with the top of your yoga mat, or bring it in towards the body to release the stretch slightly.

“Rather than remaining static, you can rotate in your torso slowly from left to right and right to see which position gives you a deeper stretch in your glue,” advises Emma. 

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Images: Getty

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Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).