Recovery with Foam Rolling:
Glute Foam Roller Exercises
Start a new fitness routine and suffer from sore muscles in your lower back or glutes?
Dealing with a tight lower back or tight glute muscles?
Work a desk job and find yourself sitting for hours with poor posture?
It’s ok; take some deep breaths; I’ve got some good news:
You’re in the right place to relieve some of that muscle tension!
Since 2010 I’ve been working as a personal trainer for athletes of all ages.
In 2016 I opened my own gym called Bent On Better, where we have helped hundreds of busy adults get in shape and feel great.
In this post, you will learn,
the reasons to consider foam rolling (A.K.A. self-myofascial release),
how to use a foam roller to promote better blood flow,
and the benefits of foam rolling your gluteal muscles (also known as your glutes).
Help those glutes (sore butt & even sore lower back)
Using a foam roller is basically just a form of self-massage.
I love using a foam roller to roll out muscle stiffness and typically have most of our clients start with foam rolling before we begin our dynamic warm-up and workout program.
We recommend foam rolling for most people, particularly beginners because one can use as much pressure as desired while applying direct pressure with specific positions or other tools to mobilize specific areas or relieve muscles.
You can use a foam roller for your entire body (but be logical; you won’t use a roller on parts like your right hand, left foot, or your bones or joints).
Using a foam roller regularly can help you manage problem areas (like the tight muscles from sitting all day), but unfortunately, it does not create change to the muscle tissue itself.
(that’s what strength training using full ranges of motion and even stretching do, but sadly muscle tissue won’t change from foam rolling alone).
Think of foam rolling as a way to temporarily increase range of motion or temporarily help with muscle activation. Later in this post, we’ll discuss how to effectively foam roll your glutes and a step-by-step process to accomplish effective rolling.
Ok, ok…That’s enough talking.
Let’s get on a foam roller roll! (see what I did there? lol)
Top reasons to consider foam rolling (mobilization):
- 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 & non-traumatic 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.
Benefits of foam rolling:
- Increased flexibility: foam rolling those tight glutes can help to also improve hip mobility (especially if you spend a moment on those hip flexors, too)!
- Reduced muscle soreness: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (D.O.M.S.) affects a lot of people and can be a big mental challenge (especially for newbies who think they may have hurt themselves after a challenging workout or strength training session)
- Improved athletic performance: foam rolling your glutes is a great way to help other muscle groups in your lower body to operate efficiently and reduce the risk of injury, as well!
- Pain relief: by applying direct pressure to more tight areas, you can help reduce pain (but new rollers, be weary! Whether you are foam rolling on a rest day or before an activity, this may be painful at the start. But as you continue to move and promote healthier blood flow to that painful area, the feeling over time will subside (somewhat, at least).
- Increased blood flow: better blood flow means better movement and even better healing!
How to use a foam roller to mobilize the glutes:
Let’s say that you want to roll your LEFT glutes (so we’re going to work on the left side of your butt).
- 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.
Additional Mobilization Tools:
- Foam roller
- Lacrosse ball
- Tennis ball
- Trigger point cane
- …and more
- 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.
- This info is provided for educational purposes only and is not meant as professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare professional regarding your own condition.
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