BREAK IT DOWN: The Glute Bridge

By Maggie Fazeli Fard |

A well-developed backside will help you run faster, jump higher, twist explosively, and steer clear of injury. The classic glute bridge — and its variations, including the hip thrust and single-leg versions — is an excellent way to build strength, mobility, and stability in the butt and hips.

What makes this move so effective is that it homes in on the lower body, hitting the entire gluteal musculature: the gluteus maximus, the largest of the butt muscles, as well as the gluteus medius and minimus, smaller muscles that include the so-called side-butt.

To incorporate the glute bridge into your program, begin with body weight only, focusing on proper form and sequencing: Call your glutes into action by squeezing them so hard that they begin to rise off the floor. Doing this before you press through your feet is critical for making the most of this exercise.

Once you get the hang of the lift, you can add weight with a sandbag or barbell positioned in the crease of your hips. (Place the sandbag or bar on a foam pad or rolled-up yoga mat for comfort.)

For guidance on selecting weights and reps to match your goals, visit “Expert Answers on Figuring Out How Much Weight to Lift.”

  1. reverse the movement — keep squeezing your glutes and don’t collapse to the floor — to return to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Tip: Keep your arms at your sides, or if you are adding weight, use them to support the weight in the hip crease.

Tip: Brace your core throughout the movement to avoid overextending your lower back.

Tip: If your knees cave in toward each other, squeeze your glutes and pull your knees apart until they are in line with your hips and heels.

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