The glute bridge is a staple move in any strength training routine. Here’s how to do it correctly…
Modern life dictates that we spend a lot of time sat down, and, right now, that’s never felt more true. Without our commutes or gyms, and even longer spent at our desks, catching up on Netflix or sitting in the park, our glute muscles (aka the one’s you’re sat on) are getting weaker.
The implications of that are important. Glutes are the biggest muscle in your body, so if they’re disengaged it can lead to all sorts of other niggles, including tight hips, aching quads, sore knees and a painful back.
The best way to strengthen them? Doing glute-specific moves, like the glute bridge. This involves lying on your back, with your knees bent, and pushing your hips up off the floor.
BENEFITS OF DOING GLUTE BRIDGES
“A glute bridge is great for beginners because they’re a good low load exercise,” explains Alice Miller, Strong Women ambassador. “You can start with bodyweight glute bridges for around 20-30 reps. That’s a great way to train for weighted glute bridges and as a way to work yourself up to hip thrusts.”
Glute bridges offer a smaller range of motion than the more advanced hip thrust (in which your back is on a bench, rather than the floor). But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing: it means that once you’ve trained your spine, glutes and footwork, loading up the barbell for glute bridges is easy. A lot of people will find that they can lift heavier on glute bridges than on hip thrusts for that reason, it will help to build stronger glutes.
Another reason to add them to your workout? They are incredibly versatile.“You can use them in your warmup to activate the glutes, add them into the lifting section of your workout by adding a barbell or throw them in a finisher to burn out your glutes,” adds Alice.
The main benefit, according to Alice, is that the isolation work will transfer into your other lifts. “Glute bridges will strengthen the glutes and reduce the risk of injury, which will equal bigger squats and bigger deadlifts.”
MISTAKES TO AVOID
“The glute bridge is great because it’s hard to do wrong,” says Alice. But one mistake that people can make with bodyweight moves such as the glute bridge is forgetting to use mind to muscle connection, moving through the movement without engaging the muscle. “You really need to work on the control to feel the benefit,” she adds.
The other thing to remember is to engage your core by squeezing your belly button into your spine so that you don’t overextend. Arching through the spine will put pressure on your lower back, which is exactly what we are trying to avoid by doing this move.
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You also need to remember to keep your knees pushed out so that your glutes remain activated (remember how connected everything is?).
WHAT MUSCLES DO GLUTE BRIDGES WORK?
Well, the clue’s in the name! But the glute bridge also works a lot of other stabilising muscles too. Here’s the list:
- Glutes (including glute max and glute med)
HOW TO DO A GLUTE BRIDGE
- Come down onto your back with your feet flat on the ground, hip width apart and tucked just underneath your hips. Turn the palms up so as to not squeeze through them.
- Squeeze the belly button into the spine, tuck the hips under, and begin pushing through the middle of the foot and heel as you lift your hips up off of the floor. Make sure not to lift the heels off of the ground and keep the hips and ribs tucked in.
- Once you’re at the top, squeeze, and begin rolling back down to the floor, maintaining control as you lower the spine.
- Repeat up to 30 times with no weight. If you add weight, lower the reps.
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Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).