Tight hip flexors can neurologically weaken your glute complex, robbing you of the ability to fully extend your hips and cash in on complete gluteal activation. This means all that hard work you’re doing in the gym — lunging, squatting and deadlifting — may not actually be putting junk in your trunk! Use this dynamic stretching sequence preworkout on leg or glute days to activate your central nervous system, unlock your hips and get those glutes woke.
The Must-Do Stretch
Targets: hip flexors, psoas, side body
Do 5 each side.
Kneel on the floor with your left foot forward and placed flat on the floor, knee bent. Reach both arms overhead and grab your right wrist with your left hand, elbows by your ears. Shift your weight forward as you simultaneously pull your right arm up and over to the left. Return to neutral and repeat. Do all reps on one side before switching.
Tip: Before leaning to the side, make sure you’re getting plenty of upward traction of your arm to create maximum space in your spine.
Kneeling Adductor Lunge and Reach
Targets: adductors, groin, quadratus lumborum
Do 5 each side.
Kneel on your left knee and externally rotate your right leg, placing your foot on the floor with your right heel aligned with your left knee. Grab your left wrist with your right hand overhead, then shift to the right and lunge into your right leg as you simultaneously pull your arm up and over to the right. Return to neutral, then shift to the left and pull your arm to the right as you straighten your right leg, foot flat on the floor. Flow smoothly from one side to the other.
Tip: Actively press your hips forward and squeeze your glutes throughout.
Reverse Lunge and Reach
Targets: hip flexors, front body, lats
Do 6 each side.
Stand with your feet together and then take a large step to the rear with one foot, placing your toes on the ground and keeping your leg straight as you bend your forward knee. Simultaneously reach both arms up and overhead, doing a small backbend if you can. Push off your rear foot and lower your arms to return to the start. Do all reps on one leg, then switch.
Tip: Lift up and out of your hips and rib cage before going into the backbend to prevent compression of your lower back.
Targets: front body, quadratus lumborum, side body
Do 5 each side.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Drop both knees to the right, then slide your right foot back to touch your left knee and bring your right foot behind you, both knees bent 90 degrees. Place your right hand on the floor behind you, and then press your hips forward, squeeze your glutes and rise up onto your knees as you simultaneously extend your left arm overhead and behind you. Return to neutral and then place your left hand on your left foot, press your hips forward and rise up while you reach your right arm up and over. Transition smoothly between sides, then switch forward legs.
Tip: As you reach your arm behind you, flare your ribs and drive your hips toward the opposite wall to elongate your spine and prevent disk compression.
Targets: piriformis and hamstrings
Do 8 each side.
Lie faceup and cross your legs as you would when sitting on the floor. Grab your feet with your opposite hands and slowly pull them toward your head. Pause when you feel a stretch, then slowly return to the start. Complete reps with your left foot over your right, then switch and repeat.
Tip: To stretch those deep gluteal muscles (piriformis), pull your feet in closer to your chest.