Recovery with Foam Rolling
Glutes (sore butt/ sore lower back)
Reasons to consider mobilization (foam roller, lacrosse ball, trigger point cane, etc.):
- Muscle soreness in glutes from a recent workout
- Stiffness or limited motion with hinging or deadlifting
- Stiffness, limited motion, or discomfort in glutes, hamstrings, or calves at bottom of squat or squat-like movements
- Soreness or stiffness in glutes, lower back, hamstrings, or calves from sitting for long periods of time
- Non-specific lower back pain
- Sciatica or Sciatica-like symptoms, including pain originating from the lower back traveling to the hip and potentially down the leg
- Difficulty with toe-touch positions such as tying shoes or bending forward to pick up an object.
How to use a foam roller to mobilize the glutes:
- Let’s say that you want to roll your LEFT glutes.
- Start in a seated position with your legs extended. Place the foam roller on the ground underneath your LEFT buttock, gently and gradually lean more or less bodyweight into the foam roller to match your tolerability. Use your RIGHT leg and hands to support your body weight.
- Extend your LEFT leg out fully and keep your toes pointed up or pulled back.
- Roll throughout your buttock until you find a tender spot. When you find one, be sure to pause and hold for about 10-15 seconds!
- When you are holding a tender spot, you can further intensify the mobilization and achieve greater mobility by rotating your leg from a toes-pointed-straight-up position to a toes-pointed-to-the-side position for about 3-5 reps.
- You can also further intensify this mobilization and get a deeper release by crossing your LEFT leg over your RIGHT knee in a figure-four position. Position the foam roller on the back of the hip. Slow down your roll and move an inch at a time in this position. Be sure to hold on tender spots for 10-15 seconds! Then straighten your leg back out and repeat the process.
- After you are done foam rolling, take the opportunity to stretch your newly mobilized glutes!
To stretch your LEFT glutes, find a wall or something stable and lay down on your back in front of it. Place both of your feet on the wall to begin, then scoot yourself close enough so that your knees form a 90-degree angle. Cross your LEFT leg over your RIGHT knee in a figure-four position. Further intensify the stretch by scooting closer to the wall or by using your hands to press your LEFT knee closer toward the wall.
- In general, mobilizing tissue using a foam roller, lacrosse ball, trigger point cane, or another instrument will cause some discomfort; after all, the goal is to mobilize (move or “free-up”) the tissue from any restrictions that might be limiting your body’s movement or range of motion. However, if you experience too much discomfort or pain, you should stop.
- In general, you should not attempt to mobilize (foam roll, lacrosse ball, trigger point cane, etc.) a recent injury that has occurred within the past 48 hours.
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by Nick April, fitness trainer and mobility coach at Bent On Better