Bodyweight glute bridges are not always enough. You likely want to do one of the weighted glute bridges to see more results faster.
This is because glute bridges work the strong glute and hamstring muscles. These typically require a good amount of resistance to grow and strengthen.
Most people will prefer doing the smith machine and barbell glute bridges at the gym and the banded glute bridges at home because of their progress potential, comfort, and convenience.
That being said, due to personal preferences and the equipment you have available, you can also consider one of the other weighted glute bridges below.
1. Weighted glute bridge with plate
Doing weighted glute bridges with a weight plate is a popular option but generally not that great in terms of effectiveness for a few reasons.
First of all, the glute and hamstring muscles you work with glute bridges are relatively strong.
The 45 pounds (20 kg) of the heaviest weight plate will often not be enough to really challenge these muscles enough for growth and strength progress.
Additionally, you likely don’t want to start stacking weight plates on your hips. These could fall on your face because of the upper body angle in the glute bridge movement.
Besides that, a weight plate will likely be relatively uncomfortable on your hips.
One benefit weight plate glute bridges do have is that they allow you to go through the full range of motion under tension. This may not be possible with the barbell glute bridge.
Another positive point is that most (home) gyms will have plenty of weight plates you can use.
2. Weighted glute bridge with kettlebell
Kettlebells are the metal balls with a handle in the middle. They are often used in specific kettlebell exercises like swings or a Turkish get-up but you can also use them to do weighted glute bridges.
You could consider this variation because you find the kettlebell relatively comfortable on your hips and convenient to hold the handle.
At the same time, many people will prefer one of the other types of resistance.
The first reason for this is that not all gyms have a full collection of kettlebells with all the weight jumps.
This may make it so kettlebell glute bridges are not even an option at your local gym or that the weight progression is suboptimal.
Next, people who are more experienced with glute and hamstring training may find the kettlebell weights a bit lacking. At least in terms of getting the weight on their hips and keeping it in place.
Additionally, even if you are willing to invest in fitness equipment for your home gym, there are exercise equipment options that are more versatile than kettlebells.
Lastly, kettlebells do have a helpful handle but they are still round and slippery. In the sideways position of glute bridges, holding the kettlebell in place can require some extra attention.
3. Weighted glute bridge with dumbbell
Dumbbells are the popular pieces of fitness equipment you can describe as handles with a weight on each side. You can take one of these and hold them on your hips while doing glute bridges.
Because dumbbells are so popular, you will always have the option to do this type of weighted glute bridge.
Additionally, while you do still have to pay some attention, dumbbells are relatively easy to keep in place during glute bridges.
That being said, there are definitely also some disadvantages to dumbbell glute bridges.
First of all, because the weight of the dumbbells rests on a relatively small surface area, they can feel relatively uncomfortable on your hips during glute bridges.
Besides that, if you have strong glutes and hamstrings, you may find the available dumbbell weights too easy. Using multiple weights is also likely not a risk you want to take in the sideways angle of glute bridges.
4. Banded glute bridge
Resistance bands are basically elastic loops that you can use to create resistance in exercises like a glute bridge. You can even do a banded glute bridge in two ways.
The more standard way is looping the resistance band around your heels and hips to create downward resistance. This makes the glute bridge harder on your gluteus maximus and hamstrings.
Another option is looping the resistance band around your upper legs. This will work your hip abductors (outer thigh muscles) to a larger extent.
One of the benefits of resistance bands is that you can create a lot of resistance in a relatively budget-friendly way. This makes them a great way to do weighted glute bridges at home.
Additionally, resistance bands are compact and easy to take with you.
One downside is that the standard banded glute bridge can feel a bit awkward. The resistance band is not entirely pushing down and the anchoring can require some extra effort.
Something else to keep in mind is that resistance bands are not as durable as the metal weights on this list. You will have to replace them every once in a while.
5. Barbell glute bridge
A barbell is a long bar that you can load with weight plates. You can use this piece of fitness equipment to do barbell glute bridges.
Something to note is that this is still different from the hip thrust exercise. You can describe this movement as a weighted barbell glute bridge with your shoulders elevated on a bench.
That aside, most people will really like barbell glute bridges for a few reasons.
First of all, they are relatively convenient to set up. There is no sideways dragging of a dumbbell. You just have to sit below the barbell and you are good to go.
Secondly, since you can load barbells really heavy, you should have no problem doing glute bridges with enough weight for your fitness goals.
Next, with a good pad/cushioning, barbell glute bridges tend to be a relatively comfortable variation.
One downside is that a part of your range of motion will not involve any resistance. This is because the weight plates only allow you to lower the barbell to a certain point.
Additionally, you still need to hold the barbell in place to stop it from rolling down.
6. Smith machine glute bridge
You can describe the smith machine as a construction where a weight lifting bar follows a rail system. Additionally, there are hooks that allow you to rack the bar at different heights.
A smith machine glute bridge is similar to the barbell version in many ways.
You can use a lot of resistance, it is easy to get in position, the bar is relatively comfortable with a pad.
Additionally, your range of motion under tension may be slightly smaller due to the weight plates on the bar.
That being said, there are also differences.
First of all, the bar of the smith machine follows a fixed up-down range of motion. This may make the glute bridge motion feel a bit more awkward.
On the flip side, smith machine glute bridges can be helpful in the sense that the bar can not roll down. You likely don’t even need to keep it in place.
These last two things allow you to really focus on working your glutes and hamstrings as much as possible.
Benefits of weighted glute bridges
On top of the ways to do them, a refresher on the benefits of doing glute bridges with weights can be helpful too. Some of these include:
- More muscle growth and strength potential: To grow and strengthen muscles you have to challenge them enough. By doing weighted glute bridges you increase how much progress you can see and how fast.
- Speeds up your workouts: Bodyweight glute bridges can sometimes still offer nice results with high-repetition ranges. Even in a situation like that, using weights can speed up your workouts with similar results.
- Helps you build fast muscle: The way you train can influence the ratio of muscle fiber types you have. Weighted glute bridges can help you train type 2 fast muscle fibers. These can be helpful for explosive movements.
- General glute bridge benefits to a larger extent: Glute bridges also offer more general health benefits like improving sleep, bone density, and mood. Adding weights (to a safe extent) typically allows you to get these benefits to a larger extent.
Most people will really benefit from doing glute bridges with weights. If your body can deal with it, you definitely want to consider one of the variations above.
Weighted glute bridge muscles worked
Similar to regular glute bridges, the weighted versions mainly work your gluteus maximus (butt) and hamstrings (back thighs).
Since these are relatively strong muscles, many people will need the extra resistance to see significant amounts of muscle growth and strength progress.
Additionally, keeping the weights in place will require a bit of work from your latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back), lower chest, tricep, and forearm grip muscles.
How much weight should I use for a glute bridge?
For a goal like muscle growth, you should use a weight for glute bridges where you are able to barely complete 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 repetitions. The exact number of pounds or kilograms will vary because of personal strength levels.
Do weighted glute bridges work?
Weighted glute bridges work in the sense that they allow you to see more glute and hamstring muscle growth faster. At the same time, you still need to implement the right weights, repetitions, nutrition, and rest.
Do weighted glute bridges grow glutes?
Weighted glute bridges can grow your glutes if you do the right amounts of repetitions, use the right amount of weight, eat enough nutrients, and give your muscles enough rest.