Sore muscles making it tough to move around? We completely understand that. If you are a beginner at exercising or have not been working out for long and have resumed training, it is natural to end up with sore or tight muscles. Even pumping up your existing exercise routine to a high intensity cause increased soreness and/or tight muscles. And we know very well that it’s your glutes that can take the hardest hit.
The “glutes” or “glute-max” (butt muscles) are the muscles that form your buttock and outer thighs. They aid the external and internal rotation of the hip joint. The soreness of glutes can cause bigger issues apart from the obvious discomfort in motion. The piriformis muscle is a part of the glute muscles and is present right next to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve of the body running from the hips down each leg. Soreness and irritation of the piriformis can also irritate the sciatic nerve and cause severe pain in it which is referred to as sciatica. Simply put, while sore glute muscles are mostly considered harmless, it can also at times lead to bigger health problems.
Another challenge that sore glutes pose is that they can lead to pain in extended areas of the body. So apart from the glutes, pain can be felt in lower back and knees as well. Hence it becomes important to try to ease the soreness of the glutes as much as possible.
Foam rolling exercises are becoming increasingly popular due to the relief they provide to the sore glutes.
Foam rolling exercises require a cylindrical firm foam roller to perform. These rolls can be easily obtained from any sports or workout equipment store. They are also available in most gyms and the instructors can help you locate them.
Easy to perform, the purpose of foam rolling exercises is to elongate the muscle tissues by breaking up the tissue scars and trigger points. The most basic thing to keep in mind while foam rolling is the amount of pressure to be applied. To be effective, foam rolling should be firm, neither too strong, nor too easy. There will be a little discomfort while in the process, but the relief from pain is worth it.
Some of the best foam rolling exercises for your sore glutes are listed below. Try them out and make your exercise routines pain and hazard free.
1. Sit on the floor keeping your legs straight. Lift your glutes up by applying pressure through your hand and place the foam roll right under your buttock. Gently move your front so that the foam rolls backwards towards your hips. Then move backwards to roll the foam towards your hamstrings. Continue moving back and forth slowly to release the tension of your glute.
2. Sit on the top of the foam roller maintaining your balance. Now lift one leg and cross it over the other so that the entire body weight falls on only one of the buttock while the other gets lifted up along with the leg. Now gently move forward so that the foam rolls backwards till the hips and move backward to roll the foam till hamstrings.
Maintaining the body weight at the centre, gently lean towards the leg that is lifted and repeat the foam rolling to make sure all parts of the glute get relaxed. The exercise can then be repeated on the other side.
It is advised to perform foam rolling exercises when your muscles are warm. Hence thy can be done after a work-out or a short warm up can be done before foam rolling. Beginners can practice foam rolling on alternate days but after a period of two to three weeks, these exercises can be performed every day.
Keep calm and feel relaxed as you perform these exercises. Slow breathing also helps your glute muscles relax. In case you encounter any extra painful area, hold in the position for about 30 seconds to reduce the pain. These are the knots or trigger points that need to be relaxed. Foam rolling needs to be performed for at least 30 seconds each side to relax the glute. Lastly, perform foam rolling slowly to maintain your balance and avoid falling off the roll.
Give your tight and sore glute the much needed foam roll and begin your next exercise session pain-free. And for those suffering from pain in Piriformis or Sciatica, foam rolling is a must-try.