08 July, 2011
Physical Therapy Stretches for the Lower Back & Gluteus Maximus
Physical therapy is a necessary intervention to rehabilitate most injuries, including those affecting the muscles of your lower back and the gluteus maximus muscle, which lies behind your hip joint. A physical therapist will likely recommend performing a series of stretching exercises after suffering such an injury to restore flexibility and normal ranges of motion. Follow her advice closely and consult your doctor if you experience any setbacks.
Squatting Lower-Back Stretch
The squatting lower-back stretch targets the erector spinae muscle group and the deep spinal muscles on either side of your spine that work to extend and hyper-extend your torso. Stand an arm's-length away from a waist-high bar, then squat as far as possible, reach forward and grasp the bar. Drop your head between your arms and curve your spine forward until you feel a gentle stretch through your lower back. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds, the relax briefly and repeat. Try to deepen the stretch slightly with each repetition.
Perform the hand-knee rocking exercise to stretch the lower-back muscles repeatedly over the same period that you held the squatting lower-back stretch -- 10 to 30 seconds. Start on all fours with your hands below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Sit backward, keeping your hands in place on the floor, and arch your spine, moving your head between your arms. Move your torso between your arms and lie on your belly with your spine curved in the opposite direction. Continue rocking back and forth for your desired amount of time.
Standing Glute Stretch
The standing glute stretch is a static-hold exercise that targets the gluteus maximus muscle, which, along with the hamstrings on the back of your upper legs, extends your hip joint. Stand with your back flush against a wall and your feet 6 to 12 inches away from the base. Lift your injured leg and flex your knee, moving it toward your chest. Pull on the front of your knee with both hands to deepen the stretch, then hold for at least 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise with your non-injured leg to promote muscular balance.
Seated Glute Stretch
The seated glute stretch targets the gluteus maximus and the other two gluteal muscles, the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. Straddle a flat bench, lift your affected foot, flex your knee and outwardly rotate your hip, placing the outside of your lower leg on top of the bench as close as possible to your upper body. Bend forward at the waist until you feel light tension through your buttocks and hold for 10 seconds or more. You also can perform the stretch dynamically by rocking forward and backward over your bent leg.
- Spine-Health; Exercise and Back Pain; Peter Ullrich; September 1999
- "Essentials of Athletic Injury Management"; William Prentice and Daniel Arnheim; 2008
- "Basic Biomechanics"; Susan Hall; 2007
- ExRx.net: Squatting Lower Back Stretch
- ExRx.net: Seated Glute Stretch
- Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images