Squats have become the “hot” exercise for great glutes, which honestly I don’t completely understand. Hinge exercises are way better and more posterior chain focused.
And while I get that we often turn to the deadlift or squat when we want to work our glutes because they are compound exercises that allow us to move heavy weights, they aren’t necessarily the best exercises to develop strong, powerful and sexy butt cheeks.
While lifting heavy is super important, so are those bodyweight moves that allow us to really focus on engaging and activating the correct muscles.
Actually, there are many other glute exercises that recruit MORE muscle fibers and are necessary to include in your workout routine if you want sexy, strong butt cheeks.
And the Glute Bridge is one of those bodyweight exercises you need to include.
Glute Bridge Form:
Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the ground just close enough that you can graze your heels with your fingertips when you stretch your arms down by your side. Your feet should be about hip-width apart.
Bend your elbows to 90 degrees so that only your upper arm is on the ground.
Then drive up through your heels and upper back to lift your glutes off the ground. Drive your hips up as high as possible, squeezing the glutes hard. Keep your belly button drawn in so you don’t hyper extend your back/
Do not push backward off your heels. Make sure you are driving straight up and that your knees aren’t caving in.
Squeeze your glutes for second or two at the top and lower all the way back down to the ground before repeating.
You should feel this move in your glutes and hamstrings and not in your low back.
Do not rush through glute bridges. Take time to hold at the top and feel the glutes activate.
Make sure that as you change up and/or advance the glute bridge that you are continuing to get your hips as high up in the air as you did with the basic variation. If you aren’t, regress the move until your glutes are strong enough to fully extend.
The Single Leg Glute Bridge is a great way to advance the basic glute bridge. Set up like you would for the glute bridge and then raise one leg up off the ground. You can bend the raised leg to 90 degrees or point the toe up toward the ceiling. Just make sure not to swing the raised leg as you lift. Drive up through your heels and upper back, lifting your hips as high as you can. Hold at the top and then lower back down. Keep your abs engaged so you don’t feel it in your low back.
You can also advance the basic glute bridge by placing your feet up on a bench or box step. This Glute Bridge Off A Box, can be done as a single leg variation or a two leg variation. The form is the same as a basic glute bridge except now your feet (or foot) are up on the box. Do not let your butt get too far away from the box. Keep your butt close to the box to help you engage the glutes and not use only your hamstrings.
An even harder variation of this move is the hip thruster with both your back and your feet up on a box. This move can also be done as a single leg bridge to advance. Be careful that you don’t feel it in your low back when you do progress to this move.
If you want to work more hamstring, the Glute Bridge And Curl is another great variation that can be done using a suspension trainer, Power Wheel or towels/Valslides. To do the Glute Bridge and Curl form Valslides or towels, place a towel or slider under each heel.
Beginners may need to start with a single leg bridge and curl while more advanced exercisers may curl both legs in together. To perform a modified glute bridge and curl, bridge up with a towel or slider under each foot. Slide one foot out, straightening the leg as much as possible. Then pull the heel back in. Keep your hips up in a bridge the entire time. After you bring one foot back in, slide the other foot out. Alternating extending each leg until all reps are complete. Keep your abs engaged and don’t let your hips sink down.
To perform the two leg curl, place both feet on a towel (or sliders) about hip width apart. Start in the bridge position and slide your feet out. Keep your hips up off the ground and your glutes engaged as you slide out. Straighten your legs out as much as possible. Then curl the heels back in, bringing the hips up again into a glute bridge. Do not let the hips sag toward the ground as you slide out or come back in. Keep your abs engaged so you don’t feel this move in your low back.
And if you really want to add weight, you may add weight across your hips while doing a glute bridge or a thruster variation.
To do a Barbell Hip Thruster, place your upper back on a box or bench with a barbell or weight across your hips.
Set up a bench so that it won’t move as you bridge up onto it. Take a barbell and put some padding around it. Place your upper back on the bench and sit your butt on the ground with your legs out straight. Place the barbell over your hips and plant your feet firmly on the ground and close to your butt.
Drive up through your heels and your upper back on the bench. Squeeze your glutes and press your hips up as high as possible, driving the barbell up and off the ground. Hold a second or two at the top and then lower back down and repeat.
Do not hyperextend your back at the top. Keep your belly button pulled in toward your spine and really squeeze your glutes at the top. Make sure you are driving straight up through your heels. Do not push yourself backward over the bench.
With all of these variations, do not rush through them. Focus on engaging the glutes and keep the core tight so you don’t feel these moves in your low back.
You want strong, sexy glutes? Do more glute bridges…Not more squats.