Strengthening the muscles in the back of your body offers some major perks. This includes your lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves (a series of muscles often referred to as the posterior chain). However, if it’s completed incorrectly, bridge can lead to over-recruitment of the spinal erectors and hamstrings, which can lead to lower back pain. So before you add this move to your daily routine and reap all the benefits, learn how to do a bridge exercise with impeccable form.
How to do?
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Your feet should be hip-width apart and parallel. Your pelvis should be neutral. To find this position, let your hips settle into the place where your pubic bone lines up with the top of your hip bones.
- Once you’re set up, push your feet into the floor to activate your glutes and slowly lift your hips up towards the ceiling. While the bottom part of your rib cage will lift off of the floor, you want to focus on keeping your torso still as you open through the front of the hips.
- Pause at the top and then slowly release the glutes as you lower your hips back to the ground.
You know you’ve mastered this move if you feel your core and glutes activate first and then your hamstrings second. If you feel the work primarily in your lower back or your hamstrings, it means that you are not engaging your glutes enough at the onset of the lift, and you may be performing lower back extension instead of hip extension.
If this is the case, try moving a little slower and focus on keeping your ribs heavy as the hips lift up. You can also try foam rolling or stretching your quadriceps before bridging, since tight quads can inhibit hip extension and encourage excessive motion in the lower back.
If you feel comfortable with this move, you can increase the physical challenge by adding single leg lifts or putting a BOSU or Swiss ball under your feet.
Benefits of Bridge Exercise:
YOU’LL HAVE GREAT POSTURE:
When you spend the majority of your day sitting, your glute muscles can get weaker, while the hip flexors in the front of your thighs can shorten, making them feel tight. Eventually, you will end up slouching as your tight hip flexors pull you forward and your glutes aren’t strong enough to pull you upright. But when you practice glute bridges regularly you are targeting your glutes and your lower back muscles, those muscles that are meant to hold your body upright will be getting stronger. Strengthening the glutes and erector spinae helps you keep your posture upright whether you’re standing or sitting throughout your day.
STRENGTHENS YOUR CORE:
Although the exercise targets the butt area, the glute bridge does a great job of activating and strengthening your core stabilizer muscles. The transversus abdominis and multifidus muscles enclose your entire midsection. They are designed to support the spine and when reinforced will hold the stomach in like a corset. This exercise contributes towards flattening your tummy, focusing on the muscles in your six-pack, and working the obliques, which will give you a more defined waistline.
YOU’LL TONE AND SHAPE YOUR BUTT:
The bridge and the squat incorporate hip and knee extension so they use the same set of muscles, which includes the gluteus maximus and quadriceps. But the main muscle used in the bridge is the gluteus maximus muscle, the largest one in the buttocks. And that will go a long way towards toning your butt to give you the shape you want!
THEY WILL HELP WITH LOWER-BACK PAIN:
The bridge helps to reduce lower back pain as well. It works the hamstrings, lower back, abs, in addition to the glutes. With many of the benefits similar to that of a squat, another plus for the glute bridge is that it does not place any pressure on the lower back. This is also a great exercise for people who are unable to squat due to back, hip, or knee pain. With the bridge, a person can work on these muscles while lying down and avoid putting pressure on his joints. The glute bridge, which is much easier to learn than the squat, can be used as a training tool for building up to the full squat exercise.
GLUTE BRIDGES CAN IMPROVE YOUR GOLF GAME:
Strong glutes will help stabilize your pelvis so you can stay in the correct posture throughout the swing, from start to finish. This will give you a stronger and more consistent swing.“Golfers with a low handicap are more likely to have increased pelvic rotation speed as well as increased gluteus maximus and medius strength when compared to high handicap golfers.”- Callaway, Glaws et al. from the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy.
WILL HELP DECREASE YOUR KNEE PAIN:
One of the main reasons for knee pain is the lack of control of the femur, the upper leg bone. Not having enough control of the femur can have the femur sliding forward, causing internal rotation or collapsing towards the midline of the body. These movements are often associated with knee pain. The glutes play a big part in controlling the femur at the hip joint which affects how the other bones of the knee joint work together.
GIVE YOU A STRONGER BACK:
Glute bridges not only work the hip extension but they also safely and effectively work the posterior muscles. Do not overlook the muscles that line your posterior chain as it is the most influential muscle group in your body. Remember, you need a strong back to have a strong body. These muscles which run from your calves, glutes, hamstrings and lower back are extremely important for healthy movement, great posture, athleticism, and a back that is free from pain and discomfort.
SPRINT FASTER, AND JUMP HIGHER:
Glute bridges are also beneficial in helping you run faster and jump higher since they strengthen the hip and leg muscles used in these activities. People often believe that you must work the calves, that they must do hundreds of calf raises to hopefully get the height and speed that they want. But this isn’t true, the power and speed you crave. People often believe that you must work the calves, that they must do hundreds of calf raises to hopefully get the height and speed that they want. But this isn’t true, the power and speed you crave.