We love the bridge for it's simple, uncomplicated nature. From basic glute activation to improve functional strength and performance, the exercise know as the 'Glut Bridge' can be used to take you from injury recovery to improved functional performance.
The following are 10 variations to provide a consistent challenge to your glutes and posterior chain.
1. Two Leg Isometric Bridge Hold
Isometric contractions (muscle contraction with no movement) provide a way to activate the muscles without overloading them following an injury. The two leg Isometric bridge hold is a great place to start if recovering from a hamstring strain or any other injury to the posterior chain.
2. Glute Bridges
The classic bridge exercise. Two things to watch for with the traditional two legged bridge:
- Tilt pelvis posteriorly (flatten arch of back) before pressing through heels. This engages the glute and posterior chain without putting force through the lumbar spine
- Shoot hips forward. Don't just go through the motions. As with any exercise, bringing awareness to the exercises improves the mind-body connection and ensures you get the most out of each exercise. I probably overexaggerated the 'explosiveness' in the video.....but you get the idea :).
3. Single Leg Bridge Isometric Holds
Unilateral, isometric training to help correct side to side imbalances that occur after an injury.
To perform: Press on one foot (or two and then lift opposite foot), and hold for 10 seconds. Lower an repeat. Brace the core to avoid your body /trunk rotating.
4. Glute Bridge Marches
To perform: Come up into a two leg bridge and slowly begin to 'march' feet. Maintain full hip extension and try not to let body/trunk rotate by bracing your core.
5. Single Leg Bridges
Concentric, unilateral training to further strengthen the entire posterior chain.
To perform: Lift one leg off ground and press through opposite heel. Reach full extension and don't let trunk 'rotate' by bracing your core.
6. Banded Glute Bridges
Adding resistance becomes the next way to progress the Bridge Exercise. The Banded Glute Bridge engages the entire hip complex and posterior chain. One of our favorite strengthening exercises.
To perform: Hook a medium resistance band around both heels and pull the band over your knees/thighs. Perform a two foot bridge.
7. Beginner Medicine Ball Bridges
Adding an unstable surface provides a further challenge the bridge exercise.
To perform: Start with legs elevated on medicine ball. Flex knees to bringe ball closer to your body, then press through heels to extend hips. hold for 1-2 seconds and the top and then lower hips and straighten knees.
8. Advanced Medicine Ball Bridges
Similar to our first medicine ball variation, only this time, we're not rolling the ball closer to us before pressing off. The exercise looks more like a hamstring curl, requiring you to both curl the ball closer while fully extending the hips.
9. Eccentric Bridge Slides
Eccentric contractions are the most effective form of exercise to build strength and recover from injury. Eccentric Bridge Slides
To perform: Place Sliders under heels and perform two leg bridge. From the extended positions slowly push sliders away (straightening legs). Get legs as close to the ground as you can and then curl back up.
10. Weighted Hip Thrusts
Better performed at the gym and as part of a functional strength program, weighted hip thrusts are a way to add a significant amount of weight to the bridge movement.
To perform: With shoulders on a bench place a pad between your body and the barbell. Thrust hips so body becomes parrallel with ground, holding for full second at the top.