- Workouts -

Break It Down: The Glute Bridge

|
Man doing a glute bridge

Finesse your form to build a strong derrière that powers you in athletics — and in life.

A well-developed backside will help you run faster, jump higher, twist explosively, and steer clear of injury. The classic glute bridge — and its variations, including the hip thrust and single-leg versions — is an excellent way to build strength, mobility, and stability in the butt and hips.

What makes this move so effective is that it homes in on the lower body, hitting the entire gluteal musculature: the gluteus maximus, the largest of the butt muscles, as well as the gluteus medius and minimus, smaller muscles that include the so-called side-butt.

To incorporate the glute bridge into your program, begin with body weight only, focusing on proper form and sequencing: Call your glutes into action by squeezing them so hard that they begin to rise off the floor. Doing this before you press through your feet is critical for making the most of this exercise.

Once you get the hang of the lift, you can add weight with a sandbag or barbell positioned in the crease of your hips. (Place the sandbag or bar on a foam pad or rolled-up yoga mat for comfort.)

For guidance on selecting weights and reps to match your goals, visit “Expert Answers on Figuring Out How Much Weight to Lift.”

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. From this position, engage your core, press your back into the floor, and begin squeezing your glutes.
  2. Keep the glutes engaged and weight even across both feet as you press your hips up. Extend your hips fully so your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
  3. Hold this position for one breath, continuing to squeeze your glutes. Take care not to overextend and arch your back by keeping your ribs in proper alignment.
  4. Slowly reverse the movement — keep squeezing your glutes and don’t collapse to the floor — to return to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Tip: Keep your arms at your sides, or if you are adding weight, use them to support the weight in the hip crease.

Tip: Brace your core throughout the movement to avoid overextending your lower back.

Tip: If your knees cave in toward each other, squeeze your glutes and pull your knees apart until they are in line with your hips and heels.

August 2018 In-Article Subscribe Ad

WEB EXTRA!

4 Variations

Hip Thrust

Man doing a hip thrustPhotos: Chad Holder; Styling: Pam Brand; Fitness Model: David Freeman
  • Sit on the floor and position your upper back against a flat bench.
  • Bend your knees and position your feet flat on the floor about hip width apart.
  • Engage your core and squeeze your glutes, then press your hips into the air until they are fully extended. Your upper back will remain supported by the bench, and your body will form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. (Take care not to overextend and arch your back.)
  • Hold this position for one breath, continuing to squeeze your glutes.
  • Slowly reverse the movement — keep squeezing your glutes and don’t collapse to the floor — to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps, resetting the braced core and squeezed glutes with each rep.

Single-Leg Glute Bridge

Man doing a single leg glute bridgePhotos: Chad Holder; Styling: Pam Brand; Fitness Model: David Freeman
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip width apart.
  • Engage your core by pressing your back into the floor, and squeeze your glutes. Begin to lift up off the floor, pressing through your feet to raise your hips. Extend your hips fully so that your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. (Take care not to overextend and arch your back.)
  • Shift your weight into your right foot and lift your left leg to extend it straight in front of you. Keep your hips level and don’t let your back arch. You should feel your right glutes engage.
  • Hold this position for one breath, continuing to squeeze your glutes.
  • Slowly lower your hips until they hover just above the floor. Engage your right glutes once again to perform the next rep.
  • Continue lifting and lowering to complete the desired number of reps before switching sides.

Marching Glute Bridge

Man doing a marching glute bridgePhotos: Chad Holder; Styling: Pam Brand; Fitness Model: David Freeman
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip width apart.
  • Engage your core by pressing your back into the floor, and squeeze your glutes. Begin to lift up off the floor, pressing through your feet to raise your hips. Extend your hips fully so that your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. (Take care not to overextend and arch your back.)
  • Shift your weight into to your right foot and lift your left foot slightly off the floor.
  • Keep your hips level and don’t let your back arch. You should feel your right glutes engage.
  • Keep your hips fully extended as you lower your right foot with control, then raise the left foot. Alternate sides for the desired number of reps.

Banded Glute Bridge

Man doing a banded glute bridgePhotos: Chad Holder; Styling: Pam Brand; Fitness Model: David Freeman
  • Place a mini-band around your thighs, just above your knees (avoiding the kneecap).
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Set your feet wide enough apart so you feel tension in the mini-band.
  • Engage your core by pressing your back into the floor, and squeeze your glutes. Begin to lift up off the floor, pressing through your feet to raise your hips.
  • Maintain tension on the band and extend your hips fully so that your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. (Take care not to overextend and arch your back.)
  • Slowly reverse the movement — maintaining glute engagement and tension in the mini-band — to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

RKC, is an Experience Life senior editor.

Photos: Chad Holder; Styling: Pam Brand; Fitness Model: David Freeman

Leave a Comment