“When we do a gluteal bridge, we are moving in the horizontal or vector plane,” says Miklaus. « It stimulates different muscle fibers than movements like squats, lunges or step-ups. »
Why are strong glutes important?
Strong glutes impact more than just your training. Sure, they’ll help you squat more weight or lift more weight, but they’ll also help you perform everyday actions more easily, like squatting or picking up a box, says Miklaus.
When your glutes are strong, it allows them to do the work they should do, rather than having your body tap into other muscles, like your hamstrings or spine erectors, to do the work instead. If your body depends too much on these other muscles, it can lead to tightness, which can set the stage for lower back pain, Miklaus explains.
Finally, strong glutes, which are part of your core, also play a role in good posture and can help you stand up straight.
« Over time, a strong muscle tone in the glutes allows them to be more ‘activated’ for longer, which contributes to postural support, stability and general daily tasks, » says Miklaus.
Are gluteal bridges safe?
Done correctly, glute raises or bridges are safe for most users and, as just mentioned, can even help prevent injury by strengthening the hip area. Still, there are some things you can do to make sure that you are exercising correctly and therefore safely.
On the one hand, make sure you maintain proper spinal alignment throughout the movement. Your body should form a straight line from your hips to the top of your head, says Miklaus. You also need to make sure you don’t arch your back too much, which can lead to strain. One way to guard against this is to make sure that you are resting your lower back on the floor (activating your core as if you are doing a squeeze) during the movement.
If you don’t feel the gluteal bridge exercise in your glutes, for example, you feel it more in your hamstrings, you might want to play around with your foot placement a bit, says Miklaus. The closer your feet are to your butt, the more movement you should feel in your butt. The further away your feet are, the more likely you are to feel it in your hamstrings.
Which variations of bridge should you try?
One of the most impressive things about the Gluteal Bridge is its scalability – it’s great for beginners, as well as those looking for a more advanced challenge. If you’re just starting out, the bilateral floor gluteal bridge, using only your body weight, is the best place to start, Miklaus explains. Once you’ve mastered that, you can try resistance glute bridges, either with a mini-band glute bridge, dumbbell glute bridge, or dumbbell glute bridge. You can also do a raised glute bridge (often referred to as a hip push) by supporting your back and shoulders on a bench or box, or by elevating your feet on a step for a greater range of motion.
How to do the buttock bridge exercise, as well as some common variations:
Demonstration of the movements below are Nikki pebbles (GIF 1), a New York-based fitness instructor for over nine years and AFAA and NCCPT certified personal and group trainer; Hejira nitoto (GIF 2), mother of six and certified personal trainer and owner of a Los Angeles-based fitness clothing line; Rachel Denis (GIF 3), a powerlifter who rivals USA Powerlifting and holds multiple powerlifting records in New York State; and Grace Pulliam (GIF 4), aerial yoga and vinyasa yoga teacher in New York.
1. Buttock bridge