The Glute Bridge: A Complete Guide | How To Train Your Glutes!

By
Mike Kenler
November 17, 2020

The Glute Bridge

Given its name, it comes as no surprise that the glute bridge is one of the best exercises to strengthen your glutes. 

This glute isolation exercise is simple, versatile, and can seriously bolster your lower body workout routine.

Muscles Worked by the Glute Bridge

Primary Muscle Groups:

The glute bridge primarily works the gluteal muscles: the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. 

The glutes are one of the strongest and most powerful muscles in the human body. This exercise will help shape the gluteus and strengthen it as a cohesive unit.

Secondary Muscle Groups:

While the glutes are the main drivers of the glute bridge, this exercise engages the hamstrings as well. 

The glute bridge also recruits deep core muscles such as the transverse abdominis to stabilize your abdominal region during the exercise motion.

Glute Bridge Benefits

1. Stronger Glutes

The glute bridge will build major lower body strength. Stronger glutes will in turn improve your performance in a variety of exercises at the gym. 

If you want to improve your maximum deadlift or squat, the glute bridge can serve as a great supplementary exercise.

Stronger gluteal muscles can also boost your performance in athletic movements such as running and jumping that rely upon lower body explosiveness.

2. Improved Posture

Many people are surprised to learn that weak or tight hip flexors may actually be responsible for poor posture.

Tight hip flexors cause your lower back to over-activate, which can lead to back stiffness or pain.
As a result, this back tightness can cause you to slouch over, especially as you sit at a desk.

The glute bridge can help strengthen and loosen your hip flexors, which will take pressure off your lower back and help you maintain proper posture.

3. Improved Aesthetics 

Whether you are trying to build bigger, more defined, or more toned glutes, the glute bridge can help you accomplish your goals.

The glute bridge is an isolation exercise, which will help give your butt a balanced, well-rounded appearance. With that being said, let's learn the glute bridge form.

How to Do the Glute Bridge

Equipment:

To perform the glute bridge, all you need is your bodyweight.

Setup:

a) Lie on your back with your arms by your sides, your knees bent, and your palms facing down. 

b) Pull your belly button in towards your spine to brace your core. Your lower back should be flat against the ground. 

Action:

a) Contract your glutes to raise your hips off the floor as high as they can go. 

b) Squeeze your glutes hard at the top and then slowly return to the starting position. 

c) Repeat this motion for your desired number of reps. 

Recommendation:

You should aim to perform 3-4 sets of the glute bridge for 12-15 repetitions. 

Glute Bridge Mistakes

1. Arching the Back

The most common glute bridge mistake is arching your back. While a slight arch is permissible, overarching brings too much tension to your lower back and takes away tension from your glutes.

Instead, engage your core to flatten your back. Not only is this safer for your back, but you will also maximize your gains.

2. Incorrect Foot Position

When performing the glute bridge, many other people tend to set up with their feet too far away from them. This makes the hamstrings do more work than they should. 

While your hamstrings are important muscles, you are trying to activate your glutes and hips during the glute bridge. 

To correct this mistake, bring your feet closer to you until you are almost able to touch them. This is a good rule of thumb for a proper set up position.

3. Rushing the Motion

Another simple mistake is rushing through the glute bridge repetitions. The glute bridge is not designed to be done as fast as possible. 

Rushing the motion increases the likelihood of poor form. Instead, you should aim to slow down and increase your mind muscle connection during each rep.

This will help improve your hip mechanics and optimize the tension on your glutes. 

Glute Bridge Variations

1. Glute Bridge Hold (Weight Optional)

The glute bridge hold is an easy variation of the standard glute bridge. Keeping the same form, all you need to do is hold the bridge at the top of each rep for as long as you like. 

This will help build up metabolic stress, increase glute hypertrophy, and increase your hip strength.

2. Weighted Glute Bridge 

If you want to challenge yourself a bit more, the weighted glute bridge is for you.

Grab a medicine ball, dumbbell, kettlebell, plate, barbell, or any other form of resistance and place it on your lower abdominal/pelvic region. 

Then, complete the glute bridge with the same form as the bodyweight variation.

Glute Bridge Alternatives

If you enjoyed the glute bridge, check out these other glute exercises to improve your lower body training:

1. Donkey Kicks 

Assume a starting position on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders. Brace your abs and extend one leg backwards as far as you can. 

Squeeze your glutes and slowly return to the starting position. Switch legs and repeat!


2. Back Elevated Hip Thrust 

You will need a bench, couch, or some other elevated surface for this hip thrust variation.

Position your upper back on the elevated surface and plant your feet on the ground. Contract your abs and glutes to thrust upwards until your body is roughly parallel with the ground.

Squeeze your glutes hard at the top and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat!

 

3. Leg Extended Hip Thrust 

Lie on your back with your knees bent, your arms by your sides and your palms facing down. Straighten one leg and squeeze your glutes to thrust your hips up towards the ceiling.

Pause at the top and slowly return to the starting position. Switch legs and repeat!


Looking for a Glute Workout?

For more glute exercises, check out this intense 5-minute hip and glute workout!

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Mike Kenler
Director of Writing | Certified in Plant Based Nutrition at T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies

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