8 Ways to Vary the Glute Bridge

The glute bridge is a complete lower body exercise that you can do a number of different ways. In this article, we'll show you some variations to add to your routine.
8 Ways to Vary the Glute Bridge

Last update: 26 September, 2021

The glute bridge is a very complete lower body exercise that works the abdominal muscles, glutes, hamstrings, and pelvic floor. This movement is ideal for improving hip mobility and strengthening the lower back. To get more benefits you can vary the glute bridge in different ways.

The basic exercise is performed by lying face-up on the floor, knees bent, and feet supported. From here, keeping your arms at your sides, palms down, you raise your hips until your knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line.

Here, the buttocks are squeezed tightly, keeping the abdominals contracted so as not to overextend the back during the exercise. The bridge position is held for a couple of seconds before lowering back down.

The glute bridge is an exercise that can be performed in any toning routine. It’s also present in disciplines such as yoga and Pilates.

Glute Bridge Variations You Can Try

The glute bridge by itself is already a good toning exercise. However, variations can be performed for additional benefits, making it more intense and challenging.

To vary the glute bridge, you can use extra equipment (such as balls or rollers) or no additional implements at all. Here are some of the more interesting options.

A woman performing a glute bridge.
Yoga and Pilates use the glute bridge as a movement. Its variations add complexity.

Read also: The Best Exercises For Beautiful Hips

1. Glute bridge on one leg

This is a very simple way to vary the glute bridge, but at the same time, it’s challenging. It requires much more work from the supporting leg and the abdomen, while also requiring additional work from the unsupported limb.

To do the glute bridge on one leg, lie on the floor on your back and bend your knees, resting your feet on the floor. Then, lift one leg up and straighten it, with your thighs parallel to each other.

Next, push your hips up until your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your outstretched toes. Slowly lower back down and repeat on the same side. After doing 8 to 10 repetitions, switch legs.

2. With the heels elevated

Another way to vary this exercise is to do it with your heels elevated. This involves working the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and sartorius.

The glute bridge with elevated heels is done in the same way as the traditional bridge, but keeping the heels elevated at all times. By not being able to rely on momentum, the lift requires more effort in the gluteal area and a more intense contraction of the core muscles.

3. Glute bridge on heels

In this variation of the glute bridge, what we do is lean only on the heels, raising the front part of the foot. This modifies the muscular activation and helps to involve or increase the work of the biceps femoris, the semitendinosus, the gracilis or internal rectus muscle, the gluteus maximus, and the gluteus medius.

The procedure’s the same as in the previous exercise, but you should avoid supporting the toes. Only the heels are used as support.

4. Gluteus bridge with a medicine ball

The medicine ball glute bridge is performed by placing your feet together on a medicine ball to challenge your balance. The primary challenge has to do with the curved surface of the ball. Also, having the feet together makes it more difficult to keep the hips up.

5. Roller

Resting your feet on a roller is another variation of the glute bridge. It’s a little easier because you can rest your feet at their normal width, but the instability of the roller and the narrow base of support make it very difficult to achieve.

6. Glute bridge on a bench

To increase the effort of the basic glute bridge even more, try placing your feet on an exercise bench, chair, or box. This will allow you to raise your hips much higher and will be more challenging. In addition, you can do all the non-equipment variations already explained.

7. Glute bridge with a bar

Place a barbell on your upper thighs and hold it. You can put weight on it or just use the weight of the bar. Holding the bar will cause you to lose support, which will increase the difficulty.

8. On a bench and a box

Stand with your back on a bench and your feet on a box that’s higher than the bench. From there, perform the basic exercise. You’ll see that the challenge is significant and that stability requires attention, as it’s compromised.

A man lifting weights at the gym.
The weighted variants of the glute bridge add difficulty and involve more balance to hold the element.

Assess your ability to vary the glute bridge

This isn’t a difficult exercise to do. However, it does require a certain level of endurance. In addition, it’s important to keep in mind that your technique’s critical to prevent injury.

For example, if the core and pelvic floor muscles are not properly activated, the exercise is stressful to the lower back. In addition, if there’s any type of pain or injury in the back, especially in the lower back, it’s important to avoid this movement until the discomfort passes.

As for the variations, it’s important to include them with caution in your routine and only perform them as your fitness and endurance allow. It’s much better to do the basic exercise with more repetitions and sets than to include a harder one.

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