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In this Post: Massage Therapists often shy away from hip and glute work. It intimidates them! But that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Here is a hip and glute massage sample routine to help therapists tackle this important work.
Far too often, I see therapists fresh out of school, shy away from doing any type of real glute work. They are scared to expose this part of the body. Maybe school didn’t prepare them, they come from a conservative background, or they just generally feel unprepared. Whatever the reason for this avoidance, it is a mistake. The glutes and other muscles that help control the hip are hugely important and deserve serious attention!
Ever heard the expression “pain in the ass?” Much of the population holds tightness and tension in this part of their body. They literally have pains in their asses.
Repetitive use injuries, excessive sitting, and many activities may cause the body to hold tension in the hips. Massage can be an effective way to alleviate some of this tension.
Clients Want Hip and Glute Work!
In my experience, if a client removes their underwear, they want and expect glute work, especially when you are dealing with athletes or anyone who has hip injuries.
If you choose to ignore this part of the body, your client WILL walk away feeling disappointed!
Don’t disappoint your clients!
Instead, learn some focused hip and glute work. By doing so, you will significantly increase your chances of elevating your massage from good to excellent. Don’t you want to be excellent?
And I don’t just mean a little kneading here and there. I’m talking get in there and work those cranky butts!
When I Fractured My Hip In College
When I was in college, I fractured my hip playing rugby. It chronically gave me trouble, UNTIL I went to massage school. While in school, it finally received the work it needed to break free from the pain cycle it had been stuck in for years.
The following routine was developed based on techniques that helped me personally break free from years of frozen and locked hip mobility. These techniques helped me get my giddy-up back in my step.
So, grab a partner and test out these techniques. This way, the next time you have a client who is struggling with hip issues, you will know exactly how to treat them.
Hip and Glute Massage Sample Routine
- Start with the client in the prone position.
- Uncover the glutes from the top of the body. Do this by folding the sheet in a triangle. This will expose part of the back, and the glutes on one side of the body. (I love working from the top half of the body. It is a method that few therapists implement and allows for you to stand out from your peers, while also allowing accessing to areas that may be neglected when worked from the lower half of the body.)
- Using your forearm, apply broad strokes down the back. Move over the iliac crest, and onto the glutes. Repeat this process 3-4 times.
- Knead the glutes with loose fists.
- Using your elbow, apply pressure as you follow the line of the iliac crest, as close to the anterior surface of the sacrum as you can get, over the PSIS, all the way across the ischial tuberosity. This allows you to work the origin for gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and the piriformis.
- Using fingertips apply cross-fiber friction across the entire iliac fossa, addressing glute med, min, and max. Make sure to also address the lateral hip rotators, the piriformis, quadratus femoris, obturator internus, gemellus superior, and gemellus inferior.
- Cover the glutes and back. Then move to the lower half of the body.
- Drap to expose the same side you just worked on, making sure to expose the glutes from the sacrum and coccyx laterally.
- Perform effleurage and broad forearm strokes up the hamstrings into the glutes.
- Set your forearm right up next to the sacrum and coccyx as you perform PROM on your clients. Apply PROM by placing your client’s knee in 90-degree flexion, then slowly rotate the leg medially and then laterally. Move your forearm laterally and repeat the same PROM motion a few times until you have reached the greater trochanter.
- Cover the glutes but not the hamstrings with the sheet.
- Move the client into the “frog-leg” stretch. Essentially, have the hip in lateral rotation as you encourage flexion with a flexed knee.
- Once in the “frog-leg” stretch, perform kneading and palming around the glutes and down the IT band.
- Shake out the leg as you move it back into extension.
- Perform the same steps on the other side of the body.
- Have the client flip over to the supine position.
- Apply broad strokes with your forearm, starting around the knee and moving proximally and ending at the ASIS. Make sure to work the medial as well as lateral part of the leg.
- Apply cross-fiber friction with your fingertips to the TFL, sartorius, and the iliopsoas.
- Implement PROM where the client’s knee and hip are in flexion. Place the client’s foot on your shoulder as you bring the client into further hip flexion. Next, laterally rotate the hip out to the side. Lastly, medially rotate the hip across the body. Shake out the leg as you return it to neutral.
One word of caution about the PROM techniques – if you have a client who has hypermobility, it would be wise to proceed with caution or omit these stretches altogether. People with hypermobility are more prone to injury from these types of stretching routines because their body doesn’t have the same resistance as those without this condition.
I hope this hip and glute massage sample routine can help give you the confidence to tackle this part of the body without fear and hesitation! It’s just a butt you guys, no big deal, we all have them. And, most of us carry loads of tension here. So get your forearms lubed and elbows primed for a serious deep dive into this neglected body part. Your clients are going to love you for it!
- Boulder College of Massage Therapy Graduate
- Nationally Certified through NCBTMB
- Colorado Licensed Massage Therapist
- Certified CranialSacral Level 1 through Upledger
- Certified Herbal Therapist through Nutrition Therapy Institute
- Certified Fujian Massage through Barefoot Masters
- Fort Lewis College - Majored in Art, Minored in Business Administration
- 6 Year Winner of Best Massage Therapist for "Best of The Boat" Competition
- Massage Business Owner Since 2008