The gluteus minimus is the smallest muscle of the gluteal complex, or the buttocks, which also includes the gluteus medius and gluteus maximus. They all work together to extend, flex, adduct, abduct and rotate your hip joint. Stretching the gluteal complex can alleviate stress on your sciatic nerve and back that cause lower-back and hip pain. When you stretch, incorporate all your glute muscles and adjacent muscle groups rather than just focusing on the gluteus minimus.
This exercise stretches the outer hip, where the gluteus minimus is located, without placing stress on your spine. Lie on the floor on your back with your arms out to your sides and with your hands on the floor. Put your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Cross your left foot over your right thigh near your knee. Exhale and turn your pelvis toward your right so that your outer right knee and your left foot move toward the floor. Do not lift your left shoulder off the floor or twist your upper back. Hold this stretch for five to six deep breaths. Perform two sets of stretches on each side of your body.
This exercise stretches your entire hip region, which also takes pressure off the sciatic nerves, which run through either side of your buttocks. Lie on the floor on your back, and put your feet on the wall about hip-width apart. Cross your left foot on your right thigh near your knee. Do not move your pelvis as you cross your foot. Push your left knee toward the wall by using your hip. Hold this stretch for five to six deep breaths. Switch leg position, and repeat the stretch on the opposite hip.
This exercise stretches the entire back of your hip and leg from your buttocks and into your calves. Lie on the floor on your back, and lift your left knee to your ribs. Grab the back of your knee, and point your knee so that it faces toward your right shoulder or the right side of your chin. Slowly extend your leg straight up, and flex your left foot toward your right shoulder. Hold the stretch for five to six deep breaths. Repeat the stretch on the opposite leg.
This is a self-massage technique that breaks apart muscle and tissue adhesions that cause sensitivity, pain and stiffness. Use a foam roller to massage your gluteal complex near your outer hip and the head of the femur. Put the foam roller on the floor, and sit on top of it with both feet flat on the floor. Cross your left foot over your right thigh, and put your left hand behind you near the roller. Your weight should shift toward your left hip.
Gradually roll up and down your outer hip until you find a tender spot. Apply more pressure onto the tenderness, and breathe deeply as you massage the area until the pain subsides. The National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends that you perform the stretching exercises after you perform self-myofascial release.
- "NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training"; Michael Clark; 2007
- "Pain-Free Program"; Anthony Carey; 2005
- ACE: Butt and Hip Exercises
- NA/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.