Glute training is key for increasing posterior chain strength, power, and performance. While many strength, power, and fitness athletes spend most of their weight training performing squats, deadlifts, pressing, Olympic lifts, and more, most athletes and coaches integrate movements like the glute bridge within a training program to address muscle weaknesses and/or as a corrective exercise.
Therefore, in this article we will discuss the glute bridge, how to do them, and offer coaches and athletes five reasons why they should integrate glute bridges within their training programs.
What is a Glute Bridge?
A glute bridge is an exercise that can be used to target the gluteal muscles. It is often seen in warm up segments or strength/accessory training segments to increase glute activation, strength, and muscle hypertrophy.
How do you do a Glute Bridge?
Glute bridges can be done with bodyweight, dumbbell, or barbells; depending on the purpose. For some coaches, the glute bridge is used as a warm up movement to increase neurological activation and prepare an athlete for an upcoming training session. Coaches and lifters can use external loading (via dumbbell and barbells) to target muscular hypertrophy and glute strength during strength and accessory segments of a training session.
- To start, a lifter assumes a lying position on the floor with the feet bent at about 90 degrees, with the heels planted firmly on the ground.
- Using the abs to contract the core by pulling the belly button and ribs into the body (minimizing spinal extension), the lifter drives through their heels to lift the hips and lower back up off the floor.
- The lifter will fully contract the glutes and hamstrings, keeping their heels pressing down through the floor until the hips are fully extended and the tension is exclusively within the glute muscles. Note, that if pressure is felt in the lower back, the lifter must tuck their pelvis into their body to decrease lumbar extension (minimize lower back arch). If they have issues with this, this movement should be regressed until they can properly control anterior and posterior pelvic tilt.
5 Benefits of Glute Bridges
Below are five benefits of performing glute bridges within warm up, strength, or accessory training segments.
Glute activation is a huge goal of many squat and deadlift warm up series. The gluteal muscles, simply called the glutes (buttocks), are responsible for hip extension and power/strength in posterior chain dominant movements. Exercises like hip raises, kettlebell swings, and glute bridges can be used within warm up series or accessory programs to develop a better neurological connection with the glute muscles and enhance hip extension performance.
Bigger, Stronger Glutes
Aside from the aesthetic goals some may have from developing bigger, stronger glutes, strong functioning glutes can really help to enhance performance across all lifts, sports, and human locomotion. In addition, they have the ability to assist in correct posture and help to alleviate overuse or compensation injuries that may occur at various joints around the body.
Alleviate Knee and Lower Back Pain
Knee and lower back pain is common in strength, power, and fitness sports. Recreation and competitive lifters alike often find themselves with nagging pain or overuse injuries that sometimes are due to poorly functioning glutes (as well as sometimes they are simply doing too much too soon and/or not allowing for proper recovery). Stronger glutes can relieve spinal extension stress, help to fully extend the hips, and can act as an antagonist during squatting movements to help stabilize and balance out the forces on the knee.
Improved Squatting and Deadlifting Performance
The glutes are involved in deep squats and deadlift as secondary movers (second to the quadriceps and hamstrings). Strong glutes can help to enhance overall hip extension, which is key for squats (back, front, and low bar squats) as well as all posterior chain pulling movements like deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, cleans, snatches, and even jumping.
Greater Overall Athletic Capacity
Strong legs, glutes, and back muscles are often the tell-tale signs of a well developed weightlifter, Crossfitter, powerlifter, and strongman. The glutes are involved in all human locomotive and lifting exercises, and therefore have a profound impact on maximal strength, power, running and sprinting performance, and overall back, hip, and spinal health. Inadequate glutes can lead to injury and increased strain on other joints due to underdeveloped or misfiring glutes, making them a key muscles group for all athletes and lifters to develop for both performance and injury prevention means.
Build Better Glutes
Take a look at the below glute training articles to kickstart your glute training!
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