August 04, 2021 8 min read

Although many people automatically think of squats when they think about building their glute muscles, glute muscles definitely don’t get enough credit on leg day.

The incorporation of exercises like glute bridges can activate your glute muscles to prevent them from being weak after long days at work or remaining sedentary.

Glute bridges are extremely easy, require no additional equipment, and provide a killer, engaging butt workout. Glute bridges are a great example of hip extension exercises that put an emphasis on strengthening that posterior chain. Your posterior chain is in charge of pulling your leg backward and allow you to perform many day-to-day tasks.

Try incorporating some glute bridges into your workout routine to change it up a little up. It’s easy to get stuck to the same couple of exercises on rotation but this leads to boredom. Boredom leads to you giving up on your routine which leads to eventually giving up your gains. 

So, give those squats, lunges, and deadlifts a break and try some new lower body exercises to engage and stimulate your glute muscles. Not only are you challenging your glute muscles but you are also challenging your mind to learn a new type of movement.

What Is A Glute Bridge?

A glute bridge exercise is a great glute activation exercise that is performed on your back. It takes a focus on those glute muscles that control your hip mobility and provide strength for your lower back muscles. Your glute muscles are made up of your: gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and gluteus maximus.

glute muscles anatomy

People don’t give the glute muscles enough credit for how much they support your whole body. Your glute muscles do much more than make you look good. They are extremely important for stability in the pelvis area as well as your lower back. 

The more emphasis you put on strengthening your pelvis and lower back at a lower age, you can help prevent injuries in the future. Once you strengthen these muscles, you will be capable of lifting heavier loads if that is your goal. 

Something to note though, however, is there is a difference between a glute bridge and a hip thrust. A glute bridge is a strengthening exercise typically performed on the floor or on a mat but a hip thrust is also a strengthening exercise but typically performed with your upper back placed on an elevated platform such as a bench.

Also, glute bridges are typically bodyweight exercises but a good variation could be adding some weight depending on your goals. Glute bridges are extremely ideal for those of you who are on the go or don’t always have the time to get set up at the gym. They can be performed alone without the use of any additional equipment meaning that they can be done at home or even in your office.

Glute bridges are a great activation exercise for both your glutes and hamstrings, so you can actually use glute bridges as a warm-up prior to performing any of your favorite exercises such as deadlifts or good mornings. You will really feel that burn in your glutes and hamstrings as soon as you start lifting your hips into the air.

What Muscles Do Glute Bridges Target?

Well, you guessed it. Glute bridges definitely target your glute muscles, specifically the gluteus maximus which indeed is the largest glute muscle but they also target your leg muscles including your hamstrings. 

Your glutes are in control of your pelvis, hip flexors, and extensors, legs. They prevent your lower part of the spine from overarching which could lead to lower back pain.

Not only do glute bridges focus on your lower body but they also strengthen your core and abs. Your core is the driver of all the movements you perform so it is crucial that you incorporate exercises that strengthen your core muscles.

Your core is responsible for everything whether it is something as simple as vacuuming your living room carpet or performing a Romanian Deadlift. Proper core strength improves your ability to balance which can prevent possible injuries.

Harvard research shows that weak or uncoordinated core muscles can have a negative impact on your everyday acts, back health, participation in sports, housework, posture, and balance.

How To Perform Glute Bridges Safely And Effectively

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  1. First, lay back on your back and bend your knees with your feet flat placed on the ground. Your feet should be pointing forward and should be hip-width apart.I recommend placing a mat or a comfortable surface below you.
  1. Contract your abs and glutes to ensure engagement. Exhale and slowly lift your hips up to the ceiling. 
  2. Raise your hips as high as possible but DO NOT arch your back. 
  3. Continue squeezing your glutes at the top and hold for a couple of seconds. Imagine a straight line that connects your hips to your knees to your shoulders.
  4. Inhale and slowly lower your hips while still contracting your muscles.

Glute bridges, as the name states, are mainly focused on the glutes so if you do feel more engagement in those hamstring muscles in comparison to your glutes, try getting your feet closer to your glutes.

Why Focusing On Breathing Is Important While Exercising

Many people neglect breathing while they are working out but it actually can impact your progress. Breathing further activates your muscles as it ensures blood flow as well as oxygen absorption to your muscle cells. When you are working out, you are performing three types of movements: eccentric, isometric, and concentric.

Concentric movements are muscle shortening and occur when you are lifting your hips during glute bridges. Isometric movements involve your muscles staying static and occur when you are squeezing those glutes at the top while holding. Eccentric movements are muscle lengthening and occur when you are lowering your hips during glute bridges.

Benefits Of Performing Glute Bridges

1. Helps With Lower Back Pain and Overall Lower Body Strength

Glute bridges are a great way to stabilize your core. Your core is what provides strength to your whole body. Glute bridges are great as they do not place excessive pressure on the lower back. 

Lower body strength is crucial for pelvis stability and lower back support. When you have a strong lower back, your posture is better and you are capable of continuing to build strength

2. They Are a Great Alternative For Individuals Who Cannot Perform Traditional Squats

Squats are widely popular in the fitness and wellness field but some people have knee, hip, and back problems that prevent them from being able to perform squats so glute bridges are a great alternative.

3. Improves Overall Posture of Your Body

Many of us spend a long time seated which can cause the weakening of our muscles. Glute bridges loosen up that tightness caused by sitting all day which aids in maintaining good posture and strengthening those muscles that allow you to function with good form.

By strengthening your posture, you decrease lower back pain and decrease the amount of tension place in your shoulders and neck. None of us want to be walking around with an arched back. 

Good posture projects confidence and you always want to make a good first impression on anyone whether it is at a job interview, on a first date, or simply at the gym. By continuously working on your glute bridges, you are not only strengthening your glute muscles but are taking the next step in influencing the way people perceive you.

How to Incorporate Glute Bridges Variations Into your Routine

If you've mastered the basic glute bridge, you might want to try some variations. Variations are another great way to challenge your body and further strengthen your body's big muscles. By performing these variations, you are redefining your capabilities. 

1. Single-Leg Glute Bridges


  1. Lay down on your back with your knees bent and your feet placed shoulder-width apart.
  2. Start with your right side. Lift your right leg in the air with your foot flexed.
  3. Making sure you keep your upper back on the floor, slowly begin to engage your glutes, and raise your hips off the ground by driving through your left heel. 
  4. Make sure you are engaging your core and hold at the top for about two seconds.
  5. Lower back to the start and repeat for your desired number of reps. Once you finish your reps, repeat the exact same steps on your left side.

2. Mini Band Glute Bridges

  1. Place your mini band either above or below your knees. If you're seeking more of a challenge, place it below your knees. Regardless of placement, make sure you are feeling that glute engagement. 
  2. Get into your starting position by laying back on the floor with your feet shoulder-width apart or feet hip-width apart.
  3. Bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle and begin to push through your heels and upper back to bring your hips up into a bridge position. Press against the band to ensure engagement. 
  4. Hold at the top for a couple of seconds and slowly lower down. Repeat this movement for your desired number of reps and sets.

Another variation for this exercise is you can perform it as a banded single-leg glute bridge.

3. Glute Bridge to Sit Up

  1. Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. 
  2. Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle. 
  3. Slowly perform a sit-up and engage your abs then lower your back to the ground. 
  4. Drive your weight through your upper back, arms, and heels, and slowly lift your hips as high as possible without hyperextending your lower back. 
  5. Make sure you are squeezing your gluteal muscles and pause at the top for a second or two. 
  6. Lower your hips down so you are back in your starting position.

4. Medicine Ball Glute Bridge

There are numerous glute bridge variations that can be performed with a medicine ball but the one described below is a simple glute bridge with a medicine ball squeeze. 

  1. Lie down with your knees bent and back on the floor or mat. 
  2. Place the medicine ball in between your knees and place your arms beside you with your palms facing up. 
  3. Squeeze the medicine ball and lift your hips by driving through your knees.
  4. Squeeze at the top for about two seconds then lower your hips to the mat. 
  5. Repeat for your desired number of reps and sets.

Wrap-Up

As you can tell, glute bridges are an extremely effective exercise that can be incorporated into your strength training routine. They do not need any additional equipment and you can perform them essentially anywhere. 

Bodyweight glute bridges are a great way to engage multiple muscle groups but if you're seeking to add more weight into your workout routine, there is no harm in adding barbells or dumbbells by your hips to make your glute bridges more challenging. 

No matter what variation you decide to move forward with, you are one step closer to working towards a goal and finally reaching it. The benefits of glute bridges are endless and I encourage you to keep trying different variations until you find the perfect fit for you.

If you enjoyed these glute bridges would like to try out other full-body workouts, I encourage you to check out the best full-body workout for both strength and size


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