7 Best Glute Stretches for Runners (Stretch Your Glutes)

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Published by Christiana Mikesch, CPT | Senior Coach
Last updated: April 30, 2024
Our content is meticulously researched and reviewed by an expert team of fact checkers and medical professionals. They ensure accuracy, relevance, and timeliness using the latest reputable sources, which are cited within the text and listed at the end of the article. Before publication and upon significant updates, we confirm factual accuracy, committed to providing readers with well-informed content. Learn more.

Stretching is a necessary component of any integrated training program.

Stretching should always be a component of your cool-down after a high-intensity interval training, hill repetition, recovery, or long run.

As a certified fitness trainer, I went through a vast amount of research to know the best stretches that you can perform to release tight glutes and to understand the benefits of stretching the glutes.

In this article, I will provide my expertise, findings, and tips for properly stretching your glutes.

Quick Summary

  • The best glute stretches for runners include floor figure-four stretch, lying figure-four stretch, standing figure-four stretch, seated floor glute stretch, pigeon pose, lying glute stretch with resistance band, and open lunge stretch.
  • Stretching after a run is helpful since the muscle groups are still warm and supple, but do not overexert yourself to avoid overstretching.
  • A study by the National Institute of Health revealed that individuals with limited flexibility saw enhancements in their running efficiency after participating in intense, 10-minute stretching exercises focused on the hip flexors and hip extensors.
  • In my opinion, consistent glute stretching is essential for runners to maintain flexibility, reduce the risk of injury, and improve overall running efficiency.

The Best Glute Stretches for Runners

A runner doing glute stretches outside

Floor Figure-Four Stretch

How to perform:

  1. Place your left leg before you and your right foot behind you, both bent at 90 degrees.
  2. Lower yourself over your front, in this scenario, left, knee bent, dropping your elbows as close to the floor as possible while keeping your back straight.
  3. Don't overdo it to the point that you lose your stance and arch your back. At all times, your back should be level and straight for great hip flexor stretching.
  4. Try lowering down a little more with each breath for a deeper stretch.
  5. Maintain this posture for 45–60 seconds.
  6. Repeat on the opposite side.

Lying Figure-Four Stretch

A person doing lying figure four stretches

How to perform:

  1. Lie on the back with both knees bent and your right ankle crossed over the left knee.
  2. Lace the fingers underneath the left hamstring, then bring your left leg closer to activate your right side stretch.
  3. Maintain the stretch for 30 seconds by keeping your upper body level against the ground.
  4. Relax before switching sides.

Related: Lying Crossover Stretch

Standing Figure-Four Stretch

How to perform:

  1. Standing tall on your left leg, bend your right leg 90 degrees and place your right ankle on your left knee. Maintain a small bend in your left knee for further stability.
  2. Continue to bend your left knee until you are in a squat position.
  3. Gently press your right hand against your right knee until there's a stretch.
  4. Lean your body forward slightly, bringing your chest closer to your leg while keeping your back straight.
  5. Maintain this posture for 45–60 seconds.
  6. Repeat on the opposite side.

Seated Floor Glute Stretch

A person doing seated floor glute stretches

How to perform:

  1. Sit erect on the floor, back straight.
  2. Stretch your legs before you.
  3. Put your right hand behind your back.
  4. Cross your right leg across your left knee.
  5. Put your right leg on the floor, parallel to the left knee.
  6. Gently pull your right knee towards the left side with your left arm.
  7. Maintain this posture for 45–60 seconds.
  8. Repeat on the opposite side.

Related: The Best Glute Stretches

Pigeon Pose

How to perform:

  1. Begin in the down-facing dog posture (an upside-down V).
  2. Bring the right knee up to your right wrist while maintaining the left foot extended behind you.
  3. Bend the right knee and lower the right glute to the floor softly.
  4. Lower your body over the right leg, arms stretched out in front of you, elbow slightly bent.
  5. Maintain this posture for 45-60 seconds.
  6. Repeat on the opposite side.

Lying Glute Stretch with Resistance Band

A person doing lying glute stretches with resistance bands

How to perform:

  1. Wrap a resistance band over your right foot.
  2. Lie on your back with your legs stretched out before you.
  3. In the right hand, hold the ends of the band.
  4. Lift the right leg straight up with the band's help.
  5. Allow your stretched leg to cross over to the left side while maintaining your back erect and flat on the ground.
  6. Maintain this posture for 45–60 seconds.
  7. Rep on the opposite side.

Related: Resistance Band Stretching Mobility Exercises

Open Lunge Stretch

How to perform:

  1. Begin on all fours, knees, and hands in the same line - hands over the shoulders, knees over the hips while maintaining a neutral spine.
  2. Bring the right foot to the outside of the right wrist, then stretch your left leg backward, lowering your shin, foot, and knee to the floor.
  3. Extend your right leg and lower the forearms to the ground, keeping your back straight.
  4. Hold for 40 seconds, then return to the starting posture and repeat with the opposite leg.

Role of Glute Stretches in Speed Improvement

Improving glute flexibility is crucial for runners seeking enhanced speed and efficiency. Flexible glutes allow for a greater range of motion in the hip joint, leading to longer, more powerful strides.

  • This increased stride length can significantly boost running speed.
  • Additionally, flexible glutes reduce the risk of muscle imbalances and injuries, ensuring that runners can maintain consistent training without interruptions.
  • By improving glute flexibility, runners can also achieve better pelvic stability, which is essential for efficient energy transfer and maintaining proper running form.

Ultimately, incorporating glute stretches into a regular training regimen can lead to noticeable improvements in both speed and running economy.

Research conducted by the National Institute of Health has shown that participants with lower flexibility experienced an improvement in their running economy (RE) after engaging in intense stretching exercises, lasting 10 minutes, targeting the hip flexors and hip extensors [1].

What Are Glute Muscles?

A person stretching glute muscles at the gym

The gluteal muscle groups, often known as glutes, are a collection of three muscles that comprise the gluteal area, also known as the buttocks.

I often explain to my clients that most glute stretches and motions we do also target the muscle groups around the hip joint, since these muscles don't work in isolation.

This biggest muscle group in the torso is made up of:

  • Gluteus minimus: According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), it helps to keep the pelvis stable during walking or jogging [2].
  • Gluteus medius: According to NIH, it aids in moving the leg out from the body and provides stronger pelvic stability [3].
  • Gluteus maximus: According to NIH this is your strongest muscle and aids in hip extension [4].

I always emphasize to my clients that engaging all these muscles effectively reduces hip drop in their stride, helping to prevent injuries.

Additionally, I remind them that their strongest muscle will be working hard to provide the necessary force for their stride.

Other muscles will take over if the glutes are harmed due to tightness or a lack of strength.

This frequently causes injuries since your calves and shins are not intended to bear the same load and volume as your glutes.

Glute Exercise Articles:

"Because of the high number of repetitions - up to 180 strides per minute for elite runners - failure to stretch will result in a disparity in the posterior chain. This can lead to knee, hip, or calf discomfort, and pain in the neck or back."

- George Edwards, Certified Personal Trainer

Benefits of Glute Stretches

A runner doing glute stretches at home

Stretching can help relieve tension in your glutes if they are tight.

This can alleviate a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Low back pain
  • Tight hips
  • Buttocks pain
  • Tight hamstrings
  • Pelvic pain
  • In some cases, knee pain

Furthermore, by releasing tenseness, glute stretches may help:

  • Improve your adaptability
  • Increase your range of motion
  • Decrease your chance of injury
  • Enhance your overall mobility

Strong glutes can help avoid common running issues like shin splints, runner's knee, and hamstring strains.

The following workouts will help you strengthen your glutes:

  • Resistance band clamshells
  • Leg raises
  • Squats
  • Wall presses
  • Lunges
  • Lateral resistance band walks
  • Dumbbell step-ups
  • Glute bridges
  • Hip thrusters

Tips for Stretching Glutes Properly

A woman doing glute stretches at home
  • Hold each deep stretch for 45 to 60 seconds to receive the most advantages.
  • Try to relax the muscle groups as you hold each stretch.
  • Breathe deeply with each stretch. Try to extend the muscle with each exhalation gradually.
  • Gently stretch your muscles. During the stretch, you should feel a slight strain but not discomfort. If you experience pain, reduce the stretch or stop completely.
  • Incorporate these best post-workout supplements after your training session.


Is It OK To Run With Tight Glutes?

No. It's not OK to run with tight glutes. Tight glutes can interfere with athletic performance. Glute muscle strength is essential for jumping higher and running faster. Tight muscles or weak glutes may result in piriformis syndrome.

How Do You Know If You Have Tight Glutes?

You know you have tight glutes when you experience pain in your butts or pelvis, tightness in the lower back and knee, or sore and tight hips and hamstrings.

Do Glutes Affect Running?

Yes, glute muscles affect running. While running, the gluteal muscles are the principal stabilizing muscles, supporting the whole lower leg. They collaborate to extend the hip and drive the body forward, resulting in a strong stride.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7857312/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK556144/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557509/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538193/
Was this article helpful?

About The Author

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Senior Coach
Christiana Mikesch, CPT is a personal trainer and author with contributions to publications like the Chicago Tribune and Yahoo. She emphasizes a holistic approach to weight loss, combining an energy-fueling diet, goal-oriented workouts, and daily habits. Her approach avoids short-term goals and fosters a lifelong commitment to health and well-being.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

You May Also Like

A woman at a home gym doing leg splits
By Christiana Mikesch, CPT 2 months ago
10 Best Stretches to Get Your Splits
A man doing banded hip thrust exercise
By Christiana Mikesch, CPT 5 months ago
Banded Hip Thrusts: The Secret to Sculpting Strong Glutes
Best Butt-Lifting Exercises Featured Image
By Christiana Mikesch, CPT 4 months ago
7 Best Butt-Lifting Exercises (Hack to Sculpted Glutes)
A group of people doing gluteus maximus workouts outside
By Christiana Mikesch, CPT 15 days ago
Best Gluteus Maximus Exercises (Get Firm & Big Glutes)

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our scoring system is the result of objective testing data and subjective expert analysis by a team of fitness coaches and medical experts. Our scoring factors are weighted based on importance. For more information, see our product review guidelines.