If you’re looking for a simple exercise to fire up your glutes and build your butt, the glute bridge is for you! While it may seem as an introductory move to many other lower-body exercises, the glute bridge is your quick access to better your posture, relieve back pain, and build your gluteal muscles.
Aside from cushioning your posterior and making a nice fill in your jeans, the role of glutes are crucial to stabilizing the pelvis and hip and in assisting many athletic movements and strength training like lifts.
Tight hip flexors can also be attributed to weak glutes. And so, this lower body workout effectively isolates and strengthen key muscles, including the glutes, hamstrings, core stability muscles, hip muscles, lower back muscles, and stabilize the spinal cord. To simplify, strong glutes lets you do more with efficiency.
Before you drive through your heels and push your hips upwards, here’s what you should know about the Glute Bridge exercise, and why you should start doing it today.
This Ultimate Guide Will Cover:
- How to do a Glute Bridge Exercise
- Glute Bridge Exercise Benefits
- Common Glute Bridge Exercise Mistakes to Avoid
- Glute Bridge Exercise Muscles Worked
- Glute Bridge Exercise vs Hip Thrust
- Our Trainer’s Suggested Reps, Sets, and Programs
- Glute Bridge Exercise Variations
- Glute Bridge Exercise Alternative Exercises
How to do a Glute Bridge Exercise
What you’ll need:
This is a no-equipment exercise that only needs enough space and a yoga mat. However, if you want to challenge yourself with variations, these optional equipment can be used to increase the intensity:
- Resistance bands
- Medicine ball
Step 1: Get Into Starting Position
Start the exercise by lying on your back with knees bent towards the ceiling and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Your arms should rest by your sides with your palms down. We recommend lying down on an exercise mat for more comfort.
Step 2: Lift the Pelvis
Press into the soles of your feet as you lift your pelvis off the floor. Lift until the lower body is aligned with your knees, squeeze your glutes and keep the stomach flat and core engaged. Doing so prevents overextending your spine.
Step 3: Hold
Hold this position for a few seconds, being aware to draw your belly button down to activate the cire. After a few breaths, slowly lower back to your starting position, controlling the entire movement. Repeat this for the recommended number of sets and reps.
6 Glute Bridge Exercise Benefits
1. It Works the Core
The glute bridge contributes toward flattening the stomach and focusing on those six-pack muscles. The exercise uses your abdominals to pull your body up, holding it in the lifted position. This fires your core up throughout the isometric move, making it an excellent core exercise!
2. Stretches the Chest and Shoulders
The glute bridge is a great way to stretch the chest and anterior deltoids, more commonly known as the shoulders—the front of your body will open as you lift your body to bridge position. If you want an extra upper body stretch, clasp your hands below the back, pressing them into the floor.
3. Helps with Lower Back Pain
Glute bridges help reduce lower back pain because the exercise strengthens your core. A strong core will improve your posture, easing lower back pain. This exercise is safe for those who have chronic lower or upper back problems with proper form.
4. No Equipment Needed
In its most basic form, the glute bridge requires no equipment. All you need is an open space to lie down and an exercise mat to cushion your body.
5. Improve Performance
Glute bridges help you run faster and jump higher as they strengthen your hip and leg muscles. This is helpful in sports and daily activities. Furthermore, this exercise can improve your golf game, as it stabilizes your pelvis. That encourages better posture for your golf swings.
6. Tone and Shape the Butt
The bridge and squat will incorporate hip and knee extension, using the same set of muscles like the gluteus maximus and quadriceps. The primary muscle used for this exercise is the largest muscle in the butt, which will greatly contribute to toning your butt and achieving the firm, round bottom you want!
Common Glute Bridge Exercise Mistakes to Avoid
Raise the Hips Too High
Do not raise your hips too high because this hyperextends your back, leading to strain. Don’t go too high as you perform the exercise, and keep your abs engaged so you don’t arch the back.
The Hips Sag
Lower the pelvis back down to the ground if you notice your hips dropping when holding the bridge position. This is a common occurrence for those who have just begun performing the glute bridge, so don’t worry! Hold the bridge position for only a few seconds and gradually work your way up until your hips don’t drop.
Pushing Through the Toes
You can perform glute bridges on your tiptoes, but your booty won’t get the full benefits. When pushing your toes instead of the heels, you shift the force, putting your glutes into a forward rotated position so you’ll use your quads and calves rather than the glutes. Put more force into the heels to rotate the pelvis appropriately to increase the load on the glutes and hamstrings.
Not Squeezing Your Butt
When you don’t squeeze your butt, it reduces the time under tension and the way your glutes contract. That means your workout won’t be as intense enough! Squeeze those glute muscles together to get full contraction and shortening of your glute muscles.
Using Hips and Quads More
This is a glute bridge, not a hip and quad bridge! You shouldn’t swing your hips or rely on the quads to lift your body, as this won’t work the glutes the way you want.
Planting Feet Too Close or Far
How you position your feet can make or break your exercise. If you plant your feet too far or too close to your buttocks and to one another, you’ll engage the inner thighs and hamstrings more than the glutes. Remember to keep your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, about 12 inches away from the butt and six inches apart from one another.
Glute Bridge Exercise Muscles Worked
The glute bridge is a lower body exercise that mainly works to following muscles:
- Lower back
As the name suggests, the glute bridge works the glute, particularly the gluteus maximus, the largest glute muscle. The glute bridge will operate in the sagittal plane of motion, allowing forward and backward movement. Exercises working in the frontal plane of motion, which allow for side to side movement, would better work the smaller glute muscles called the gluteus minimus and gluteus medius. That said, all parts of the glute muscles are worked on with the glute bridge.
During the hip raise of the glute bridge exercise, it would work your hamstrings. The longer you hold the exercise, the more you work your hamstrings, as they need to stay activated to support your pose.
Your quads will need to fire throughout the movement as well to keep the feet flat on the floor to prevent sliding out.
While the exercise would usually target the buttocks area, the glute bridge does an excellent job activating and strengthening the core stabilizer muscles. Your transversus abdominis and multifidus muscles will enclose the entire midsection to support your spine. When these muscles are reinforced, it holds the stomach like a corset.
Glute Bridge Exercise vs Hip Thrust
The hip thrust is similar to the glute bridge, but this time, it uses a Barbell for extra weight. Moreover, hip thrusts require a workout bench for support while you can perform the glute bridge on the floor.
Both exercises will engage your glutes, hamstrings, lower back, core, abdominals, hip flexors, and obliques. Because of the added weight, hip thrusts are made best for strength exercises, though you can also add weight to your glute bridges as well. Because of the angle from the hips, hip thrusts allow you to add heavier weight than glute bridges, which is why the latter is better as a bodyweight exercise during a warm-up routine.
Even with their differences, it’s best to incorporate both exercises into your workout routine to build your glutes excellently.
Our Trainer’s Suggested Reps, Sets, and Programs
For Bigger and Stronger Glutes
You’ll want to do more reps to tone your glutes and achieve a firm, round butt, particularly when you have no added weights or resistance. Aim for 3-4 sets of 15-25 reps. But if you plan to use weight or elevation, start with 3 sets of 15 reps, increasing the amount as you build strength.
For Posterior Strength Training
When incorporating the glute bridge into your strength training routine for strong glutes, we recommend adding more weight or resistance to the exercise. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps during your routine.
Glute Bridge Variations
The glute bridge is an effective exercise that works to butt through a triple extension, which is the extension at the hip, knee, and ankle joints. While it’s a basic move, you can scale it up or down with a glute bridge variation for mobility sessions, heavy strength sessions, or even when cooling down.
Single-Leg Glute Bridge
The single-leg glute bridge is an excellent way to advance this exercise. Set up the way you would for glute bridges, this time raising one leg off the ground. It adds more intensity to your glutes, too!
Barbell Glute Bridge
The barbell glute bridge is excellent for those who feel like they have mastered the bodyweight glute bridge. You get to add more load and really work on those muscles for strength and a toned bottom.
Mini Band Glute Bridge
Add a bit more resistance without the added weight using a Mini Band! This adds resistance and tension to the movement when placing the resistance band around your knees during the starting position.
Glute Bridge Exercise Alternative Exercises
If you would like to add more exercises to build your glute strength, there are other effective exercises to try, such as:
Hip Thrusts are the most similar to glute bridges but would add more load to your glutes because of the added weight. For this exercise, you will need a bench and barbell.
This glute bridge alternative exercise doesn’t require any equipment, and you can easily do it at home, just like you would with glute bridges.
Romanian Deadlifts would focus less on the leg muscles than the Regular Deadlift, but they come closer to engaging the muscles as glute bridges do.
Lunges are another excellent glute exercise with a lot of variations. If you want a lot of glute engagement, opt for walking lunges for a larger range of motion.