Last month I saw a great video posted by Bret Contreras showing a variation on a bodyweight glute bridge that very effectively targets the glutes. The reason it’s effective is that he basically fires up the whole body in a manner that prevents some of the typical “cheats” that people often do when trying to do glute bridges.
While glute bridges seem like an easy exercise (lie on your back, lift your butt up. how hard can it be?), the reality for many is that they feel glute bridges everywhere but their butt. When I ask clients where they feel a glute bridge, I often get some combination of hamstrings, back, quads, and abs. This is not everyone – some people do glute bridges and feel their glutes – but it is more than the minority.
This glute bridge with frog pumps that Bret posted struck me as a great option, so I gave it a try. And it was indeed a great option. Check it out here.
Essentially it’s a glute bridge but with feet flat against each other, flatten the lumbar spine, push the elbows into the floor, and bring the chin to the chest.
I did like it, but I opted for two minor changes:
– instead of chin to chest, I went for a neutral neck alignment, which looks like a packed neck, or what I call “ugly neck”. Take a look at my chins in the video and you’ll see why I call it ugly neck. I opted for this because I know some of my clients would have a hard time with holding the chin to chest position.
– Instead of feet flat, I went for feet angled to each other. Many people will be fine with the feet together position, but I personally found it irritating for my hips as I don’t have great hip mobility. I also have a few clients whose knees didn’t like the feet together position. So the angled feet position was a nice alternative for those with either hip or knee stuff.
Here’s a video of this modification:
If you find you have a hard time feeling your glutes when you do do glute bridges, try out Bret’s variation instead, and if your neck, knees, or hips don’t love that variation then try my variation to the variation.
Interested in reading and seeing more of the cues we use for glute bridges, along with when and why, as well as how we program and progress glute bridges? You’re in luck! You can get the Custom Strength Glute Exercise Coaching Guide for only $4.99.
Coaching Glute Exercises: A Custom Strength Coaching Guide
Elsbeth Vaino, B.Sc., CSCS, owns a personal training studio in Ottawa that specializes in getting people stronger and moving better.