Guide to Banded Glute Bridge Variations
While lack of movement in office jobs has always been a serious problem, sedentary lifestyles are now even more rampant as more people start working from home. Sitting all day is especially detrimental to muscles such as the glutes.
The glutes are the largest muscle group in the body. They include the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. They form a central part of the posterior chain, the collection of muscles making up your backside. This muscle system includes the hamstrings, calves, lats, spinal erectors and upper back. Since all muscles in the chain are interconnected, weak glutes can lead to posterior weakness overall, which is a major contributing factor to common injuries such as hamstring injury, hip problems and low back pain.
To improve performance, prevent injury and keep your body healthy and strong overall, it is essential to target the glutes while working out. The glute bridge is one of the best exercises for these muscles since they require a lot of muscle contraction and can simultaneously strengthen the glutes and open the hips. There are many variations to keep your workouts interesting.
The main component of glute bridges is creating tension. Doing so requires squeezing your glute muscles together as hard as you can with a lot of control. Using a glute activation band is especially effective in a glute bridge-focused workout.
Classic banded glute bridge
Before you start looking at more difficult variations, you have to master the classic banded glute bridge. Lie on the floor in a supine position with your feet positioned about hip-width and extending a bit past your knees. Wrap a resistance band just above your knees. Then, engage your glutes and lower abs to slowly lift your hips off the floor until you form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees and lower down with control. Try not to allow your knees to draw together. Additionally, be careful to engage your core so you don’t put any strain on your lower back!
Maintaining control, activating your muscles and creating tension are essential to strengthening your glutes. Resistance bands create additional tension and require more muscle engagement to keep your knees in line, which increases the effectiveness of the exercise.
Single leg banded glute bridge
Once you’ve mastered the classic glute bridge, the single-leg bridge is a great way to increase the level of difficulty. Set up the same way you would for a normal banded glute bridge with the resistance bands just above your knees and extend one leg into the air at about 90 degrees. Make sure to keep your hips square so you are engaging the appropriate muscles. Repeat on the other side.
Resistance bands are especially effective for a single-leg bridge because extending one leg into the air creates more separation between the legs, stretching the band farther and creating more tension.
Abduction glute bridge
Another way to increase the distance between your legs and up the resistance is to perform an abduction glute bridge. To perform this exercise, wrap a resistance band above your knees and lift your hips from a supine position as you normally would in a classic glute bridge. At the top, open your knees as if you were doing a butterfly stretch to increase resistance and open your hips. Then, close your legs together and slowly lower back down.
Wide-stance banded glute bridge
This variation is a good way to increase resistance in a simple yet effective way. It requires a lot of muscle contraction and control to lift up into a bridge position without letting your knees knock together. The wide-stance bridge is also an effective hip opener.
To perform this variation, lie in a supine position with a resistance band around your lower thighs and your feet planted shoulder-width or wider. Keep your knees in line with your ankles instead of allowing them to splay out or knock together. Then, lift up and lower down slowly as you normally would.
Wall glute bridge
Keeping your feet elevated can up the difficulty be requiring extra balance and core strength. You can also work your glutes from a different angle by working from a vertical angle instead of a supine position.
Perform this variation by lying flat on your back and placing your feet on the wall with your knees bent. The resistance band should be secured around your thighs just above your knee. Keeping your knees bent to 90 degrees is a good rule of thumb, but you can increase the difficulty by placing your feet higher up. It should be much harder to lift from the glutes and push your hips up.
Swiss ball banded glute bridge
This variation adds another layer of difficulty to the wall bridge. To perform it, lie flat on your back and place your feet firmly on a Swiss ball with a resistance band secured above your knees. As you lift your hips up, try not to allow the ball to move. You will need to engage your core to increase stability as well as exercising careful control with your glutes.
A Bosu ball can provide similar benefits to a Swiss ball since it is also a less solid surface. You will still need stability and control to maintain good form and prevent the ball from moving. However, you do not need to elevate your feet as much. This is a good way to focus on stability without the extra layer of difficulty and may be a good way to work your way up to a Swiss ball glute bridge.
Place the resistance band above your knees as usual and then place your feet on either side of the Bosu ball. Putting your feet on the squishy side will elevate your feet slightly and still require you to hold your body very firm, while putting them on the flat side will require more stability work.
Working your glutes is one of the most important parts of a workout to build strength, prevent injury and reverse some of the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Glute bridges are a great way to activate the glutes and related muscles, so they should be an integral part of your lower body workout.
Resistance bands improve the effectiveness of glute bridges by increasing difficulty and forcing you to engage your muscles more to maintain proper form and control. If you don’t have a good set of fabric booty bands, get a pair today and start improving your posterior strength!