Not all resistance training exercises are equally useful. Find out how to do glute bridges, things to keep in mind, and whether they are good.
Glute bridges, also known as the bridge exercise or hip raises, are a movement where start lying down on your back with your feet flat on the ground.
After that, you raise your hips until you are in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
As their name implies, glute bridges will mainly work your glutes (butt) and hamstrings (back thighs).
One potential downside is that these muscles are very strong. In turn, bodyweight glute bridges are often not enough to see muscle growth and strength progress.
To resolve this, you want to do weighted glute bridges where you hold some form of resistance on your hips.
Once you do that, the glute bridge becomes a relatively effective exercise for working the muscles above.
How to do a glute bridge correctly
Having a yoga mat or another soft surface below your shoulders can make things more comfortable. That aside, take the following steps to do a glute bridge:
- Lie down on your back and put your feet about shoulder-width apart flat on the ground. Ideally at a distance where your lower legs are vertical in the next step.
- Raise your hips in a controlled motion until you are in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
- Slowly raise your hips back to the ground.
Glute bridges are a relatively straightforward exercise but one thing to keep in mind is to not raise your hips too much. This can be uncomfortable on your back.
Muscles worked with the glute bridge exercise
Some of the primary muscles worked with bridges include:
- Glutes (butt)
- Hamstrings (back thighs) (mostly the upper part)
- Erector spinae (lower back)
Some of the secondary muscles worked with bridges include:
- To some extent obliques
You typically do glute bridges if you want to isolate your glutes and hamstrings as much as possible. Keep in mind that you still need to approach your training in a smart way to see results.
What this means specifically in terms of how many glute bridges you should do with what weights depends on what you are trying to achieve.
A popular goal with this exercise is growing the glute muscles. For this, you want to do about 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 glute bridges with a weight where these ranges are very hard.
One potential downside is that many people will not be able to achieve this with just the bodyweight version. Even if they do one-legged glute bridges.
In that case, you will have to use resistance options like dumbbells, resistance bands, a barbell, etc. to make glute bridges harder.
Something else worth noting is that people who have a comfortable and sturdy elevated object at knee height can also do a hip thrust or its variations.
In this glute bridge modification/variation, your glutes go through a larger range of motion which can benefit your muscle gains (1).
Benefits of glute bridges
If you are able to create enough resistance, the benefits of glute bridges can be great. A few examples of these include:
- Stronger muscles: Doing glute bridges the right way can help you grow and strengthen your glutes and hamstrings.
- Can improve athletic performance: Your glutes and hamstring play a big role in generating the power to run. By strengthening them with glute bridges you can see improvements in certain sports.
- Can help with losing weight: Glute bridges can benefit weight loss by increasing your energy consumption during the workout with intense movements and after the workout with more muscle mass. Keep in mind that you may need other changes to achieve this benefit too.
- Can make daily activities easier: Improving endurance and strength in your glutes and hamstrings with glute bridges can make things like walking around and climbing the stairs easier.
These benefits are not completely unique to glute bridges but they do show that this exercise can offer many positive effects.
Glute bridge alternatives
While glute bridges can still be a great exercise, there are also other movements you can consider to work similar muscles and get similar benefits.
Some of these glute bridge alternatives are:
- Cable glute kickbacks
- Donkey kicks
- Fire hydrants
- Hip thrusts
- (Romanian) deadlifts
What glute bridge alternatives are the best for you depends on details like the exercise equipment you have, what muscles you want to work, what exercises you prefer, etc.
Is the glute bridge a good exercise?
The glute bridge can be a good exercise to grow and strengthen your glutes and hamstrings.
At least if you manage to find enough resistance to make this glute isolation exercise challenging enough. This can be hard since the glutes and hamstrings are strong muscles.
That aside, your personal preferences matter too.
If you like certain glute bridge alternatives more, they could be a better fit for you. Enjoying your workouts more can make it easier to stay consistent with your exercise plan.
The bridge exercise is mainly good for training glute muscles. If this is your goal you will likely have to use extra weight to make the exercise good enough for challenging these strong muscles.
Yes, glute bridges work in the sense that they can help you grow and strengthen your glutes and hamstrings if you use enough weight and do enough repetitions.