Flexibility (Video) - Gluteus Medius & Maximus Stretch
Using the Undulating or Wave Technique

Dick Moss

 Starting Position
Starting Position
This stretch uses a new technique, called "undulating stretching," or the "wave" technique. The concept has been adapted into a stretch for the gluteus medius and maximus muscles by certified stretching instructor, Tony Scott.

This stretching system was discussed in the article, Flexibility - The Wave Stretch Technique.

The Undulating or Wave Technique - Explanation
The technique involves moving smoothly to a point of stretch (but not pain), then releasing, then back into the stretch, then releasing…back and forth in an undulating fashion.

The speed of movement will vary, depending on how close to a competition or training session it is performed. Also, the angle of each movement can change slightly on each wave, to involve more muscle and connective tissue in different planes.

Finally, the movements should be coordinated with the athlete's breathing, with the athlete moving into the stretch on exhalation, and releasing the stretch on inhalation. On each exhalation, the athlete should focus on relaxing the entire body and feeling the stretched tissue release.

 Wave Down to this Position
"Wave" Down to this Position
A coaching cue is that you move into the point of stretch like ocean waves, repeatedly moving onto the beach, then subsiding.

Setup for the Gluteus Medius and Maximus Stretch
This particular stretch is most effectively performed on a bench or table, but it can also be carried out on the ground.

Place one leg, bent inward, up on the table, so the outside of the thigh is down and the inner thigh is pointing up. The support leg can be adjusted for comfort and to change the feeling of stretch. The farther back it is positioned, the greater the traction on the joint. Applying traction to the joint helps in improving range of motion.

The Exercise
As described above, you move to a point of stretch (but not pain), then release, then back into the stretch, then release…back and forth 10 to 12 times.

The stretch is then held for a couple of seconds before being briefly released at which time the limb is pressed against resistance for about five seconds (the PNF component of the stretch). Once released, the limb is moved to a new range of motion.

The process is repeated until you feel you've reached your maximum range of motion for the day.

The video below shows the exercise being performed as a fast stretch. However, you can change the tempo - for example, if you slow down so that you're taking two breaths per movement, it would be considered a medium speed stretch.

The position of the top leg will determine the focus of the stretch. With the leg bent and pointing back towards the athlete, the focus will be on the gluteus medius muscles (side of the hip). As the leg is straightened, more of the gluteus maximus muscle becomes involved.

The video below demonstrates the exercise being performed
by certified stretching consultant, Tony Scott and Laurentian
University athlete, Meghan Juuti.

References :

1. Ann & Chris Frederick, Flexibility for Sports Performance - DVD, Human Kinetics Publishers, 2007. http://www.humankinetics.com

2.Ann & Chris Frederick, Stretch to Win (Book), Human Kinetics Publishers, 2006. http://www.humankinetics.com

3. Tony Scott (RMT & Certified Flexibility Therapist) is a stretching consultant and massage therapist, formerly with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Blue Jays. He now works as an independent consultant out of Newmarket, Ontario. 2008.


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