Updated March 2016
An Exercise for Glute Muscle and Back Pain
The Seated Leg to Chest Stretch
It is very common to have both glute muscle pain and lower back pain. When your gluteus maximus, medius and minimus are not both stretched and strengthened, pain results. These muscles become weak and short. They are primary movers for your hip let alone your entire body. Without adequate exercise, they become strained and sore.
Weak and sore glutes fail to support the lumbar spine leading to back pain. When the glutes are tight, they affect your pelvic tilt and risk injury to the lumbar discs. It is important to condition these muscles in order to recover from lower back pain.
The Seated Leg to Chest is a very good exercise to help with glute muscle pain. When done correctly, it helps to release the tension from tight glute muscles. It is Exercise #6 of the Progressive Exercises. It helps in a number of ways. It helps to:
- Return you to neutral tilt (for even disc pressure, reduces posterior pelvic tilt).
- Stretch the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus (reduces pain from tightness, increased hip flexibility and mobility).
- Strengthen the lower and upper back muscles (maintain normal spinal curve).
- Strengthen the abdominals (reduces excessive anterior pelvic tilt).
This exercise can be done while sitting and during your breaks. (It is important to have consent from your family doctor prior to any exercise routine such as the Seated Leg to Chest.)
Seated Leg to Chest
Step 1: While seated, raise on knee up and bring the inner thigh up toward your chest. Use your hands to carefully assist in rotating the leg inward to your chest.
Step 2: Hold for 2 minutes while keeping your back straight.
Step 3: Relax back down and repeat with the other leg.
Step 4: Repeat often.
Tip: Contract your abdominals firmly against your raised thigh and hold.
Note: It may take time before you can bring your inner thigh to your chest. Make sure that your lower back does not bend during this hold. You should feel a very strong pull in the buttocks area as well as near the outside above the knee joint. The pull will change in sensation as the muscle learns to relax and stretch.
Do not expect to be able to fully bring your leg to your chest initially. Raise as high as your current flexibility will allow. This exercise require extensive periods of holding in order to allow the muscles to fully relax. This is one of the most vital exercises in the program.
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