You may have seen this move in yoga class—but don't underestimate it.
You lay on your back with your legs bent at 90 degrees, push through your heels, and lift your hips to form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
Yogis typically hold this position for time or a certain number of breaths.
And if you're new to exercise, this move is a great place to start building a better butt.
But after a while, the muscle-building stimulus to your glutes dissipates since the move is performed with just your bodyweight.
So if you want to continue adding more shape and roundness to that backside, you need to bump up the intensity.
In the first installment of the #MHGluteProject, Bret "The Glute Guy" Contreras showcased the mother of all butt-building exercises, the barbell hip thrust.
The barbell glute bridge is a great variation of that move, the main difference being that it's performed on the floor instead of elevating your upper back onto a bench.
It also generates similar levels of gluteal and hamstring activation as the barbell hip thrust, but less quad activation.
In addition, the range of motion with the glute bridge is less than that with the hip thrust.
That's why this variation also tends to be a good place to start for beginners or people without access to a bench of the proper height to elevate their shoulders for hip thrusts.
However, there's a slick trick you can use to increase the range of motion of the glute bridge. Bret recommends using shorter 25-pound plates over larger 45-pound plates.
What's with the miniband wrapped above your knees?
It both fixes your form (many trainees with weak glutes have knees that collapse inwards when bridging or squatting) and improves glute activation by forcing you to push out laterally against the band during the entire exercise.
Though any miniband will do, Bret recommends a medium hip circle.
To perform the exercise like a pro, Bret says to:
- Place the barbell just above your pubic bone with a bar pad like the squat sponge.
- Keep your chin tucked and flatten your lower back against the floor to start each rep.
- Lift your toes off the floor and push through your heels to maximize glute activation.
Bret recommends starting with 3 sets of 20 reps with a light load on the barbell (or just your bodyweight if needed). From there, progress to using a heavier weight for 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps.