The glute bridge is one of my favorite bilateral lower body exercises to program for all my athletes to build lower body strength! This blog post will explain five reasons why!
Reason 1: Simply put, they’re great for strengthening your posterior chain – isolating the glutes, and hamstrings.
Reason 2: Glute bridges allow you to train your lower body without a grip challenge. This becomes especially important for athletes recovering from an upper body injury where they can’t squat, deadlift, or have a bar on their back. In addition to this, it also becomes a very valuable movement to use in-season when it’s a good time to minimize grip work in the weight room.
Reason 3: They’re a safe way to train the glutes and hamstrings with a good amount of volume. More times than not, high-rep squatting and deadlifting will get pretty ugly at the end of sets for most athletes. With glute bridges not so much. In my experience, it’s really hard to screw up a glute bridge.
Reason 4: Glute bridges are a great way to train your lower body if you have very minimal equipment available. All you need is a barbell or sometimes just your body weight depending on the variation.
Reason 5: Glute Bridges don’t cause much muscular soreness. It’s hard to overload the eccentric component of a glute bridge – the eccentric (lowering) of an exercise contributes to the most muscular damage/soreness. With that being said, glute bridges can be a great exercise to include in your in-season training program as you’ll be able to train your glutes and hamstrings without any soreness.
Coaching Tips for Glute Bridges:
Bridging technique is extremely important if you want to get the most out of the movement. As I said above, the glute bridge is an exercise that is very hard to screw up technique wise. However, sometimes athletes will have a hard time performing the movement properly. Often times, I’ll see athletes compensate for lack of glute strength and pelvic control by hyper-extending their lumbar spine to bridge their hips up. Make sure you emphasize a neutral or even posterior titled pelvis. I like doing this by starting an athlete on the ground (back on the floor) and cueing them to “drive their low back in the floor” and once they’ve done this they can then bridge up. This cue or regression has eliminated compensation patterns and gets the glutes firing to their full capacity. Another coaching technique I began using a few months ago that has cleaned up glute bridge technique is to put a mini-band around the top of the athletes knees. What this has done has gotten the glutes to fire first and eliminates any compensation pattern from the athlete.