In this article we will discuss the dumbbell glute bridge, a glute-building exercise that can be done by most level lifters in most gyms and training facilities. In the below sections we will cover the proper dumbbell glute bridge setup, exercise technique, and the benefits of performing such a glute intensive movement.
The dumbbell glute bridge isolate the glutes to a high degree, which is why it has such an impact of glute engagement, development, and performance. Note, that the dumbbell glute bridge may also require the hamstrings and lower back to act isometrically to stabilize the body so the glutes can promote force and moment at the hip.
Dumbbell Glute Bridge Exercise Demo
In the below video the dumbbell glute bridge is demonstrated. Note, that this exercise can be done with a pad (for added comfort) as well, however it is often limited by the total amount of loading one can balance and stabilize on their hips. If this is an issue you are dealing with, please read below regarding the barbell hip raise option.
5 Benefits of the Dumbbell Glute Bridge
In the below section five (5) benefits of the dumbbell glute bridge are discussed, each highlighting a specific aspect of force output, explosiveness, overall athletic performance, and/or general health and muscle function for most individuals (strength, power, and fitness sports).
Dumbbell glute bridges are a great weighted option to increase glute engagement eiter prior to lower body training or simply to induce new muscle activity in dormant glutes. Dumbbell glute bridges can be used in class settings, hotel and home gyms, and just about anywhere else making them a great glute activation exercises for any setting.
Build Stronger Glutes
When looking to add basic muscle hypertrophy and strength to the glutes, movements like the deadlift, squat, lunge, and dumbbell glute bridge can be used to do exactly that. The dumbbell glute bridge is a great accessory exercise to perform (in addition to performing deadlifts, squats, and lunges) either before or after main strength work to increase glute development.
Alleviate Knee and Lower Back Pain
When the knees and lower back hurt during movements like deadlifts, squats, and other acts of daily life (running, standing, walking, etc); we can often consider weak glutes as a contributing factor to the pain (try these foam roller exercises for the glutes as well). Additionally, when the glutes lose tension in the bottom of the squat, the lifter typically must place more loading into the quadriceps which can increase loading onto the quads and knee joint. Note, that if you are experiencing any pain in the knees and/or hips, it is best to first seek a qualified physical therapist or medical profession, especially if you suspect a more serious injury (herniation, lumbar discs issues, knee ligaments, arthritis, etc).
Explosive Hip Extension
The glutes are a powerful muscle group that are part of the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, and spinal erectors). The posterior chain is responsible for hip extension, which lies at the basis of most strength and power sports such as weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman, and athletics. Additionally, hip explosiveness contributes to an athlete’s jumping sprinting abilities, which can have positive impacts in both competitive sports and fitness.
Aesthetic (and Athletic) Glutes
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t train squats and pulls because I like the way the make me look. Glute bridges are one of the most effective exercises for targeting the glutes, which just so happens to be a pretty aesthetic muscle, regardless of your sport. Adding this into your workout for all the other benefits (ya know, for improving performance) is he key, but also understand that you may find some additional benefits (like this one) from doing those glute bridges as well.
Can’t Add Enough Weight? Try This Instead…
The dumbbell glute bridge is a fine glute exercise when you are in a jam and without a barbell. The issue with the dumbbell glute bridge is that the dumbbell itself can often roll around the hip crease and/or simply be too large and uncomfortable to use if you are a stronger athlete looking to raise anything over 40-50 lbs. The barbell hip raise at this point offer all of the above benefits AND allows you to place the load in the hip crease more effectively and with greater comfort. By doing so, you are able to load this glute bridge significantly more (hundreds and hundreds of pounds more, like James Harrison’s 675lb hip raise for reps session).
Featured Image: Meena Sharif on YouTube