Stretches Perfect For When You Get An Annoying Butt Cramp

Cramped muscles can be a real pain in the butt, especially when those cramps are occurring in the actual buttocks region. This uncomfortable phenomenon may not be an elegant topic for the dinner table, but it is important to discuss nonetheless. Butt cramps are a telltale sign of tight glutes and can result in soreness and pain, per Healthline. You can also tell if you have tight muscles if you experience tightness in the hip flexor region, pelvic area, hamstrings, or lower back.

There are actually different muscles that can be responsible for the cramping, including the gluteus maximus, medius, or minimus (via Live Science). It's also relevant to note that butt cramps are exceedingly common, regardless of lifestyle, though people typically associate butt cramps with post-workout soreness. There are, however, several other reasons why you may experience this discomfort. For instance, you can also feel crampy due to weakness or stiffness of surrounding muscles.

It's important to address tight glute muscles to prevent injury, especially when exercising. This is why it's necessary to determine the cause of your butt cramps, so you can choose the correct stretch to alleviate your symptoms and release the correct muscle.

What exactly causes butt cramps?

The number one reason for butt cramps is tight muscles and they can occur either in the glutes or in the surrounding muscles, such as the piriformis muscle which runs through the glutes, per Cedars-Sinai. The most common cause of tight gluteal muscles is exercise. If you overwork your glutes during lower body workouts, your gluteal muscles can become stiff as the muscles go through the healing and growth process, per Healthline. This can also occur if you don't stretch your gluteal muscles prior to working out and after the workout (via Healthline). You can also experience butt cramps due to incorrect form while exercising, which is important to consider while strength training (via Medical News Today).

Weak glutes can also occur when your gluteal muscles lack the strength to support certain movements and activities (via Balance Motion). Common reasons for weak glutes include chronic poor posture and a sedentary lifestyle, per Healthline. When your gluteal muscles are weak and are not regularly activated, this causes the surrounding muscles to overcompensate and further contribute to a lack of gluteal muscle recruitment, according to a 2019 study published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. When certain movements require the glutes to activate, therefore, this can lead to additional stress on surrounding muscles and joints which can cause muscle spasms and cramping (via Bodytrack Exercise Physiology). Once you know the reason for your cramps, it is easier to choose the right stretch to release the cramped muscles.

Three stretches to release tight glutes

The top four stretches to prevent muscle cramps include the pigeon stretch, supine twist, and downward-facing dog. The pigeon stretch targets the piriformis muscle (via Harmony Yoga). For this stretch, stand on all fours and lift your right leg forward underneath you. Bend the leg and twist so your knee touches the ground and faces your right elbow. Lean forward into the stretch as far as you can and breathe. Then, repeat with the other leg.

Another great stretch is the supine twist, which is a reclined stretch, per BeYogi. Lie flat on your back and extend your left leg so it lies straight on the ground. Bend your right leg at the knee and use your right hand to push your bent leg over to the left. Apply slight pressure to your right leg to get your knee as close to the ground as possible. Breathe into the stretch and repeat on both sides.

Finally, the downward dog stretch is a yoga pose and gives you a deep stretch in the glutes, calves, and hamstrings (via Medical News Today). For this pose, you want to start on all fours and then lift your knees and hips so your body takes the shape of an upside-down 'V.' Ultimately, while these stretches are great for preventing butt cramps, it is important to address weak glutes, if applicable. To strengthen the glutes, start with glute bridges to activate the gluteal muscles, followed by workouts targeted toward the glutes (via Transform Chiropractic).