August 04, 2021 6 min read

Although many people automatically think of squats when they think about building their glute muscles, incorporating exercises like glute bridges can be an easy way to activate and strengthen your glute muscles, especially if you sit for long periods of time.

Glute bridges don't require any equipment, and provide a killer, engaging butt workout. They are a great hip extension exercise that strengthen the posterior chain.

Your posterior chain refers to the chain of muscles that run up the back side of your body from your feet to your head and allow you to perform many day-to-day tasks. Your glutes are part of this chain and the glute bridge is an exercise that has been proven to activate this muscle group effectively. That is what make this exercise such a great addition to squats, lunges, and deadlifts to target your glute muscles for strength and growth.

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 is a great glute activation exercise that is performed on your back. It puts the focus on those glute muscles which control your hip extension and provide strength for your lower back muscles.

Your glutes are actually 3 separate muscles which include:

  • Gluteus minimus
  • Gluteus medius
  • Gluteus maximus

glute muscles anatomy

Your glute muscles do much more than make you look good, they are also 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, you can help prevent injuries in the future. And by strengthening these muscles, you will be capable of lifting heavier loads. 

The 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, with a loaded barbell across your waistline to provide overloading capacity.

Glute bridges are typically performed with your bodyweight which makes them an ideal exercise for those are on the go or don’t have time to make it to the gym. And because you don't need any additional equipment, they can be done at home, in a hotel room, or even in your office.

What Muscles Do Glute Bridges Target?

Glute bridges target your glute muscles, specifically the gluteus maximus which is the largest glute muscle but they also target your your hamstrings which makes them a great warm-upfor deadlifts or squats.

Not only do glute bridges strengthen 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.

A stable core is responsible for movements as simple as vacuuming your living room carpet to complicated movements like a Romanian deadlift and 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

  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. Try to brush the back of your heels with your fingertips. 
  1. Contract your abs and glutes to ensure engagement. Exhale and slowly lift your hips up to the ceiling, pressing down into the floor through your heels. 
  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.

The glute bridge involves three types of movement: 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 your glutes at the top while holding. Eccentric movements are muscle lengthening and occur when you are lowering your hips during glute bridges. 

Glute bridges mainly focus tension on the glutes but you can create more engagement in your hamstring muscles by trying to pull your heels towards your shoulders on the floor when your hips are fully extended at the top of the movement.

Benefits Of Performing Glute Bridges

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

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. Glute bridges are a great way to strengthen your back and stabilize your core without putting additional stress on your lower back.

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

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. But many of us spend long periods of time sitting which can cause our muscles to weaken and tighten which can lead to poor posture, low back pain and more.

Glute bridges not only strengthen your glute muscles but they can also loosen up tightness caused by sitting all day. This aids in maintaining good posture and which may influence the way people perceive you by improving your posture.

How to Incorporate Glute Bridges and Variations Into Your Routine

If you've mastered the basic glute bridge, you might want to try some of these variations that are also great ways to challenge your body. 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 both feet into either end of the band so they loop around the bottom of your feet, and lay back with your feet about hip width apart.
  2. Bend your knees and try to brush your heels with your fingertips. Now pull the mini band over your knees, around the top of your thighs near your hip crease. This will cause the band to stretch when you extend your hips, thus creating tension and resistance on the band at the top of the movement.
  3. With your arms flat on the floor 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

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, so they are a great way to engage multiple muscle groups and grow your glutes without any equipment.

If you'd like to add more weight into your workout routine, try adding a barbell (hip thrust) or holding a dumbbell at your hips to make your glute bridges more challenging. 

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

And if you're feeling strong, focused, and ready, go grab our Elite Pre-Workout Stack and get started.