If you were to ask me what muscle my clients love to foam roll most, it’s either the glutes or upper back.
A proper glute foam roll will feel awesome but also may leave you screaming in pain.
Ok, maybe you won’t be screaming, but it can be quite painful if your glutes are tight or sore.
In this article you will learn how to correctly foam roll the glutes, how long a glute foam roll session should be, the anatomy of the glutes, and frequently asked questions I’ve gotten from clients.
- How To Correctly Foam Roll The Glutes
- How Long A Glute Foam Rolling Session Should Be
- The Anatomy Of The Glutes
- Why You Should Foam Roll Glutes & Piriformis
- Frequently Asked Questions
To properly target your glutes while you foam roll, I suggest rolling one at a time. Here’s how to do the movement correctly.
- With the foam roller perpendicular to your body, sit on top of it with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
- Keeping your hands on the ground behind you for support, lift one foot off the ground and cross it over the opposite knee. Your shin should be perpendicular to the leg that is still on the ground.
- This position will lengthen your glute to optimize your foam roll. From this position, lean your body over to the side of the lifted leg so only one glute is directly on the foam roller.
- Begin rolling out your glute by going from the top of your hamstring all the way up the glute to the point where you are almost to your lower back.
- Go back and forth at a steady pace and spend extra time in areas that are sensitive.
Since you’ll be targeting one glute at a time, spend between 30 - 45 seconds on each side. If you take the reps slow and controlled, it should equal between 5 - 10 reps per side.
If it feels good or your glutes are sore and it feels more sensitive than usual, it’s ok to spend extra time working them out. You can do an extra 30 seconds - 1 minute or break it up and foam roll your butt 2 - 3 times per day.
Your “glutes” are actually the nickname for the 3 muscles that make up your butt. The muscles include the:
- Gluteus maximus
- Gluteus medius
- Gluteus minimus
Another muscle that is worth discussing with the glutes is your piriformis. This muscle lies underneath your butt so when you are doing a glute foam roll, this muscle will also be targeted.
Because they are constantly being used throughout the day, it’s very common for your glutes and piriformis to become tight and fatigued. It’s not uncommon for the root of lower back pain to come from weak and tired glutes.
If it becomes severe, the pain could be from your sciatic nerve and the pain will begin radiating down your leg.
Keeping both of these muscles loose and flexible is important for overall health and movement in your lower body.
Besides for tightness and pain relief, a glute and piriformis foam roll can be a part of an effective warm up before a workout.
Priming the muscles and warming them up before a leg workout or cardio session will help you perform better during your main movements.
Lastly, you can also do this as a cool down once you finish a workout help get your body in recovery mode.
Also, it just feels good so why not spend some time doing something that feels good!
There is no “optimal” time to foam roll your glutes but for most people they will benefit from foam rolling:
- First thing in the morning to get the body moving and the blood flowing.
- Before a workout
- After a workout
- Before bed as part of a stretching and foam rolling routine.
If you sit a lot for work a technique I like to do with my clients is to have them get up every 1 - 2 hours and spend 3 - 5 minutes on the ground stretching and foam rolling the hip and glute area. You can do the foam rolling mentioned in this article and pair it with a few of these hip stretches.
A tight glute will feel like soreness & stiffness area in the butt region. You’ll notice it’s tight when doing certain movements like walking, sitting, or during exercise.
During certain leg exercises like squats, lunges or deadlifts, if you feel like your range of motion is not what it normally is, there’s a chance that your glutes and hips may be tight.
In more severe cases of tight glutes, you might have numbness in your glute or down your leg. This is a sign of sciatic issues and you should consult with your doctor.
The main reason why one glute may be tighter than another is if you have an imbalance in your hip or leg area which is causing one side to work more than the other.
Over time doing repeated tasks where one side works harder than the other, the glute tightness will be more evident.
Another reason why one glute might be tighter is if you had a prior injury that required you to compensate on one side.
If that’s the case, you’ll want to add glute stretches and strength exercises such as bridges, deadlifts, squats, and lunges into your workout program to fix the issue.
The Best Glute Foam Rolling Tutorial Recap
Tight glutes can cause problems to your lower back and your legs so it’s important to foam roll them constantly to keep them feeling their best.
Finding time before your workout and throughout the day spending 30 - 60 seconds per side will help alleviate tightness and has the chance to reduce pain.
As I always mention in many of my posts, if the pain feels more intense than you think it should feel, you probably want to talk to your doctor to ensure nothing worse is going on.