Jesse Lewis, PT, DPT, OCS
The glute bridge is one of the most common exercises in the gym, Pilates, physical therapy and almost every fitness routine. It’s a very simple, but effective, exercise that strengthens your glutes, hamstrings, and core. For many people it is a great way to start working these areas. Very quickly you will get too strong for this and it won’t be quite as helpful. Once this happens, it’s time to make things a little harder! Here are a few small changes that can make a big difference in how strong you get.
While it may seem like this exercise is foolproof, there are some important things to keep in mind when bridging.
You might not be sure where to place your feet. Should they be 6 inches away? 18 inches? Don’t stress. While foot placement does change how much each muscle is working, it only changes things slightly. So just find whatever placement is comfortable for you.
Don’t bridge too high. While you want to make sure you get the full movement out of it, don’t push past your level of comfort. If you’re feeling some discomfort in your back at the top of the bridge, just lower slightly until it’s more comfortable. You won’t lose any of the benefits of the exercise.
Single Leg Bridging
This is a great variation to work on single leg strength and core strength. By taking away one leg, it forces the leg that is on the ground to work that much harder and your core has to work really hard to make sure you don’t fall over. If you’re having pain in one knee or hip, this is a great way to progress your exercises. Just make sure you are keeping your hips level and you can use the suggestions in the video to help.
Bridging With Weight
If overall strength of your hips and core is your goal, this one is for you. By adding weight it forces your hip and knee muscles to work harder to lift. This is a great option because you can just keep adding weight as it becomes easier.
Medicine Ball Bridge
If core strength is your main goal, then this is a great variation. Holding the medicine ball (or any other weight) overhead forces your core to stabilize you as your hips are in the air. You can even combine this exercise with any of the other variations to really give you a total body workout.