The glute bridge is among the simplest bodyweight exercises in its most basic form. Although, you can certainly load it to increase the difficulty. There are also several variations that we’d recommend to really maximize the benefits. This movement works the hip muscles, core, glutes, and more.
Here’s a guide to the glute bridge…
In This Exercise:
- Target Muscle Group: Iliopsoas, pectineus, rectus abdominis
- Type: Strength
- Mechanics: Compound
- Equipment: Exercise mat (optional)
- Difficulty: Beginner
The iliopsoas is the primary hip flexor. It’s composed of the major and minor psoas muscles and the iliacus muscle, that form the iliopsoas musculotendinous unit (IPMU). The muscles can function separately to stabilize the pelvis and lumbar spine during hip movement, and support flexion of the trunk.
The pectineus is the most anterior hip adductor muscle.
The rectus abdominis or abdominal muscles form the “6-pack”. It’s an important postural muscle that flexes the lumbar spine (e.g. performing crunches).
The obliques consist of the external and internal core muscles located on the lateral abdominal wall. The oblique muscles rotate and laterally flex the trunk with help from other muscles. They also help to compress the abdominal contents.
The quadriceps or thighs, consist of four muscles that include the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius. The quads are responsible for assisting the following actions: knee extension, hip flexion, posture support, proper stage of step/gait cycle, and patellar stability.
Aka, the butt muscles, the glutes consist of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Ther glutes function to extend, abduct, and internally and externally rotate of the hip joint.
How To Do The Glute Bridge
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor as shown in the video example below Place your arms by your sides.
- Tighten your core, and lift your hips so that your body forms a straight line.
- Drop your hips back down and repeat.
- Do not hyperextend your lower back
- Keep your core tight throughout the entire movement
- Do not place your feet too close or too far from your body.
3 Variations of the Glute Bridge
The basic bodyweight glute bridge is a viable option for some people. However, for those who are more experienced with resistance training, it may not be challenging enough to elicit significant results.
Here are some excellent variations to ensure you progress with this movement.
Single-leg glute bridge
The single-leg glute bridge takes the basic bodyweight version and adds a level of increased difficulty. Although, you can certainly add weight to the single-leg variation. Not to mention, training one side at a time builds unilateral (affecting one side) strength and function, which engages stabilizer and core muscles to a greater extent.
Want a real bodyweight glute bridge challenge? Try the straight-leg bridge as shown below.
Barbell glute bridge/hip thrust
There’s no better exercise for building glute and hip muscles than the barbell hip thrust. That’s because you can load this movement with very heavy weight which we know is key to hypertrophy and strength. Plus, you can even do the single-leg variation to further improve your unilateral strength.
How To Incorporate The Glute Bridge Into Your Training Routine
How you incorporate the glute bridge depends on your goals. For example, the basic bodyweight variation is great for beginners and higher reps sets. Then, you can progress to the single-variation variation when the basic version becomes less challenging.
If you’re looking to really pack on the muscle mass, then you’ll need to load this movement of which the barbell is the best tool for this. Although, some machines are great as well. But it’s very important to challenge yourself and the great thing is that you can safely use a lot of weight with this movement.
We recommend 3-4 sets of 6-25 reps for most workout sessions of which you’ll vary the number of reps depending on your training strategy for each session.
The glute bridge and its variations are staples for building stronger hips and glutes. It’s a safe exercise that’s simple to execute and nearly anyone can do it safely and effectively.