BY NAOMI NAZARIO
Some might scoff at the notion of a glute bridge, assuming the only thing people associate them with are Jane Fonda home workout videos. And yes, thrusting your pelvis into the air at the gym is for the brave. (May we suggest avoiding eye contact?) But incorporating glute bridges into your workout routine is truly important.
Glute bridges aren’t just about building the glutes, they also train you to properly hinge at your hips. This translates to properly executing weight-bearing exercises such as bent over rows and deadlifts.
The key to a proper glute bridge is to keep your abs braced with your ribs down, and maintain that as you extend through the hips and as you lower. At the top of the bridge, you might be tempted to extend your lumbar spine for height, keeping your abs tight and your ribs tucked down should help you avoid that pesky lumbar extension. You should only go as high as you can with a braced core and your hips slightly tucked under, allowing for maximal glute contraction at the top.
Learning to keep your abs braced and spine neutral as you hinge at the hips is crucial to protecting your back during loaded exercises and will allow for total glute and hamstring activation.
Another selling point for hinges is that they don’t require much equipment. Single-leg bridges with a full squeeze at the top require none in fact, but your glutes will be lit. However, small pieces of equipment can bring about big improvements, like the hip circle used in the knees-banded glute bridge. That small addition will help activate and strengthen your hip abductors, which will make you stronger and more stable in many other exercises, including squats.
And once you have your bridge technique down and killer hip hinge capabilities, try the plyometric versions. That explosive movement will truly challenge your core and hip stability, while giving you a little cardio boost.