Lower Back Issues Part I – Tight Glutes

I did the introduction to lower back pain last week and today I had a few free minutes to take some pictures of helpful solutions.  I intended to make a video for each section, but with the Bull Strength Manual and the online consulations picking up I haven’t had the free time to do it right!  Hopefully you can see what I am talking about from the pictures, if not feel free to contact me at CoachHashey@synergy-athletics.com with questions, additions or comments. 

Lower back pain can be caused by a large array of issues.  Today we will look at the issue of tight glutes.  Tight glutes causes a pulling effect on the lower back which may cause pain and discomfort.  Imagine that something is hanging from the back of your hips and pulling you down.  Obviously if this pulling continues your back will start hurting.  Tight glutes essentially doing that same motion.  This effect usually occurs from lack of flexibility or muscular imbalances. 

This issue is easy to solve with some patience and continued stretching, foam rolling, and work with active release techniques.  Below are some pictures and descriptions of the work we do to PREVENT (don’t wait until pain occurs, be proactive!) or fix tights glutes. 

Step 1 – Get a lacrosse or tennis ball.  I greatly prefer the lacrosse ball since it is harder.  If the tight muscle is painful, start with the softer tennis ball. 

Lacrosse Ball

Step 2 – Lie on the ball and roll it on your upper glutes.  You should perform small circles with the ball while rolling.  Shop around a bit and find a tight spot.  If a spot is extremely tight, lie on the ball and don’t do the circles, just let the pressure of the ball release the muscle tension.  Hold it in that spot for a 15 count. 

Lacrosse ball Glutes

Step 3 – Increase the tension on the glute by putting one leg over the other.  Roll delicately in the small circles.  Again if the muscle is too tight, just sit on the ball for a 15 count.  Repeat that 2-3 times on the extra tight area.

Tight Glutes

Sit more upright if the pressure is not enough.

Step 4 – Stand and roll the ball closer to the side of your glutes.  This area is sometimes very tight so make sure you stand first.  If that pressure is not enough lie on the ball and perform the small circles and pressure on the tight area. 


Standing ART

Shown on the floor


Step 5 – Foam roll the glutes.  If you do not have a foam roller, a piece of PVC pipe will suffice for the glutes, however it would be too hard to roll out your IT band on.  Sit upright on the foam roller to maximize the pressure on the glutes.  Roll back and forth, just over the glutes, 8 times.  Perform the motion slowly!

Directly on the Glutes

foam rolling

Adding pressure on one side

Foam Rolling Side Glutes

Hitting the side

Foam rolling side

Step 6 – Stretching!  Here is one of my favorite glute stretches.  Sit down and bring one leg up and rest it on the other.  Sit upright and push the knee of the elevated leg towards the floor.  Lean forward as far as possible while keeping a big chest and neutral spine.  This will put the stretch on your glutes and not your lower back.  Perform each stretch 2 X 30 secs.

Front View

Glute Stretch Front

Side View

Glute stretch Side View

I’m glad I had a free hour or so to take the pictures and make this post.  After hitting a heavy leg with Jim Smith of the Diesel Crew yesterday, I needed a good stretch! Perform these stretches and movements often to loosen up those glutes!  Hopefully I’ll get around to making a video of all of our stretches in the next month.  Part II will concentrate on the opposite side, tight hip flexors pulling your pelvis forward and creating lower back issues. 


Also, here is a post by Bill Long over on his site.  He has some good things to say about the anticipated Bull Strength Manual!  CLICK HERE to check out Bill’s post this past Friday. 


Synergy Facebook Comments


  • Kie

    Reply Reply March 21, 2010

    Great post. I need to incorporate this.

  • Thanks Kie!


  • Naomi Hutchison

    Reply Reply January 13, 2012

    Really good glute exercises. I am always looking for useful stretches to show my clients with lower back pain.

  • Sharon

    Reply Reply May 12, 2012

    Great pictures to show exactly how to exercise those stubborn gluts and ITB

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