How to best stretch tight gluteal (glute) muscles

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How to best stretch tight gluteal (glute) muscles

There are countless ways that the gluteals (glutes) can be stretched. As a physiotherapist I see all manner of variety of glute stretches. Common stretches that I see include laying on one’s back and pulling the leg across the body, and pulling the knee to the chest with the foot on top.

The Sling Stretch

Of all the stretches that exist to stretch the glutes, the stretch that I most routinely prescribe is what I term the ‘sling stretch’. It frustrates me when I see clients stretching their glutes in a manner that is less effective than what can be achieved.

It frustrates me when I see clients stretching their glutes in a manner that is less effective than what can be achieved @Brad_Beer #physio #stretch Click To Tweet

This stretch to ensure patients with pathologically (ie represents a factor for injury development) and tight glutes get an effective stretch.

The steps are:

  1. Kneel in a 4 point kneel position (hands directly under shoulders and knees directly under the hips)
  2. Take one knee forwards, between the hands as far as the knee will possibly go. Failing to ‘drivce’ the knee forwards with this step will limit the stretch achieved.
  3. Walk the other leg around in a ‘C’ shape-ensuring that the knee of this leg crosses the foot of the leg with the knee bent up.
  4. Drop down onto the forearms and rest the head on the floor.
  5. Hold the stretch for 1-2mins. Because the body weight goes through the glutes in this position the stretch will be strong.
  6. For an advanced stretch walk the hands out, come up onto finger tips and rest the head.
  7. Note try and keep the body weight centered over the knee and avoid sideways tipping (ie keep the pelvis ‘square’).


The patient with inside (medial) knee pathology (eg medial meniscus pain/tears etc) needs to be cautious-as the body weight superimposed on the knee may potentially irritate this sub-group of people due to the compression of the knee. Caution is required as the knee is placed in a fully flexed (bent) and heavily loaded position in this stretch. If you are unsure whether you should stretch your gluts this way I suggest you first speak with your physiotherapist.

Yoga fans will recognise the similarity of this stretch with that of the ‘pigeon pose’. The key difference is that with the sling stretch shown the back leg is waled around behind the bent leg creating a ‘C’ shape of the body.

Happy and effective stretching!

Brad Beer physiotherapist runner author

Brad Beer (APAM)

Physiotherapist, POGO Founder, Author You CAN Run Pain Free!

pain free performance Gold Coast physio



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