Hip Bridge 101
The hip bridge is an exercise that targets the glutes, hamstrings, and core. Working your glutes properly will do a number of great things. First and foremost, it actually improves your ability to work your core and abdominal muscles correctly. It is well-known exercise science that if your glutes fire properly, your abdominals can support your spine and function properly. Unfortunately, if you are already weak in your core, you’re more likely to overwork your low back and hamstrings, creating a vicious cycle of weak glutes, and a weak gut. The Hip Bridge exercise is the solution, especially if you currently suffer from lower back pain; sit for long periods of time, or looking to prevent injury from a demanding strength training or athletic program. Remember, if you are setup properly, you will feel the exercise in your glutes primarily.
- Lying face up on a mat, arms long and flat at your sides, knees bent, and feet flat on the ground.
- Tilt your pelvis slightly back (your low back will move toward the floor). Avoid “pressing” your back or forcing it into the mat.
- Lift your glutes (seat) and low back off the mat. Only lift to where you can maintain the tilt in your pelvis and length in your low back. Avoid hyperextending (or arching) your low back in order to boost your hips higher. This will not help you work harder, only prohibit the use of your glutes.
- You should feel strength and muscles firing in your glutes (seat). If you feel your low back or hamstrings (especially if your hamstrings cramp), lower your hips, re-tilt your pelvis and try again.
- Hold for 3-5 deep breaths (approximately 30 seconds).
- Increase the overall strength required from the hip bridge by adding a march to the movement. Simply setup and do the above movements, then progress by lifting one leg off the ground, aligning the knee just over the hip. In other words, don’t let your knee drop to your chest.
- Alternate one leg at a time for 20-30 reps.
- Work to keep hips level and glutes fired throughout the movement. If hips are moving, walk your feet closer together to assist stability. Eventually work your feet to hip distance apart or slightly wider.
If your goal is to build a better butt, prevent injury, improve athletic performance – then get started on bridges and work them at least 3 time per week!
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