The glutes are an important muscle group for almost every movement. Strengthening them through resistance training can improve your posture, performance, and aesthetics. Several exercises can be utilized to build your glutes, such as hip thrusts, glute kickbacks, and Romanian deadlifts.
If you’re new to glute training, getting proficient at the glute bridge is a great place to start. This exercise has good carry-over to more advanced lower-body movements like the squat and deadlift.
Glute bridges are one of the few isolation exercises that can be heavily loaded, making them effective for building a bigger and stronger posterior chain. This exercise is easy to perform, simple to set up, and can be modified according to equipment availability.
The glute bridge primarily works the gluteus maximus in addition to various other leg muscles.
Table of Contents
- 1 Glute Bridge Muscles Worked
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions
- 3 Other Exercise Posts
- 3.1 The 6 Best Gym Machines For Weight Loss
- 3.2 The 5 Best Benefits of Planks
- 3.3 Leg Extension Benefits and Muscles Worked
- 3.4 The 5 Best Gym Machines for Chest
- 3.5 Hack Squat Muscles Worked and Benefits
- 3.6 Incline Bench Press Muscles Worked and Benefits
- 3.7 T-Bar Row Benefits and Muscles Worked
- 3.8 Arnold Split Workout + Example Spreadsheet
- 3.9 How to Front Squat with Proper Form
- 3.10 The 8 Best Deadlift Benefits
- 3.11 Lat Pulldown Benefits and Muscles Worked
- 3.12 The Top 10 Pull-up Muscles Worked
- 3.13 The Top 5 Bench Press Muscles Worked
- 3.14 The Top 10 Muscles Worked by Planks
- 3.15 The Landmine Press: Muscles Worked, Benefits and Form
- 3.16 Romanian Deadlift Benefits and Muscles Worked
- 3.17 The Top 5 Leg Press Muscles Worked
- 3.18 Arnold Press Benefits and Muscles Worked
Glute Bridge Muscles Worked
- Gluteus Maximus
- Gluteus Medius
- Gluteus Minimus
The gluteus maximus, commonly called the butt, is located on the backside of the pelvic region. This muscle group works alongside the hamstrings to extend the hips. However, it also performs external rotation. The gluteus maximus is the largest of the three gluteal muscles and the most superficial, which means it’s heavily judged in physique sports.
Strengthening the gluteus maximus will improve your performance, posture, and aesthetics. Moreover, having stronger glutes may reduce the risk of lower back pain by taking some tension off the hip flexors.
The glute bridge is one of the only exercises directly targeting the gluteus maximus. It’s a great movement to get the glutes firing before moving on to other compound lower body movements.
The gluteus medius is located on that lateral aspect of the pelvis, which means the outside of the hip. Unlike the gluteus maximus, this muscle’s primary function is hip abduction, so as the gluteus medius contracts, it pulls the leg away from the body directly out to the side.
In addition to hip abduction, this muscle contributes to contralateral pelvis stability. For example, a weak gluteus medius on the right leg will cause the pelvis drops to the left when standing on one leg. Over time, this muscular imbalance can lead to increased injury risk.
The gluteus muscle is often overlooked since it’s underneath the maximus, but that doesn’t mean it should be neglected. Strengthening this muscle group will improve performance, especially with running, jumping, squatting, and overall balance.
As the name suggests, the gluteus minimus is the smallest of the three gluteal muscles. It’s located just below the gluteus medius. The main actions of this muscle are hip abduction and stabilization.
Since this is a smaller muscle, it works with the gluteus medius to lift the leg away from the body, internally rotate the hip, and keep the pelvis level. The stronger the gluteus minimus is, the more stable the hip and pelvis will be, which is critical for any lower body movement.
Even though glute bridges primarily target the glutes, they also engage other lower-body muscles, such as the quadriceps. This muscle group is located on the front of the upper leg and consists of four different muscles: the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius. The quads are a large muscle group that perform knee extension and hip flexion.
Typically, people have stronger quads than glutes and hamstrings, which can lead to increased injury risk and lower back pain. If your hip flexors overpower your posterior chain, it’s called quad dominance.
Doing specific exercises that build the glutes and hamstrings is the most effective way to prevent or correct quad dominance.
The semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris long head and short head, collectively known as the hamstring muscles, are located on the back of the upper leg. This muscle group works with the gluteus maximus to extend the hip.
In addition to the hip, the hamstrings cross the knee joint and perform knee flexion alongside the calves. The two primary ways to build the hamstrings are through hip-hinge movements, such as the glute bridge, and isolation exercises that consist of knee flexion, such as a seated hamstring curl. It’s a good idea to perform both movement patterns because one hamstring muscle doesn’t cross the hip joint, so it can only be targeted via a leg curl variation.
Besides hip extension, the hamstrings play an important role in knee joint stabilization. They work with the anterior cruciate ligament to keep the tibia from moving too far forward. Furthermore, the hamstrings are another superficial muscle group judged in physique sports.
Glute bridges secondarily engage the abdominal muscles, which are located on the front side of the torso. This muscle group includes the rectus abdominus, external obliques, transverse abdominus, and internal obliques. The most superficial abdominal muscle is the rectus abdominus, commonly called the “six-pack.”
Each ab muscle performs different actions, contributing to pelvis and spine stabilization. Core strength is paramount for any lower or upper body movement. A stronger core can help reduce lower back pain and injury risk while improving performance, aesthetics, and posture.
Along with the glutes and hamstrings, the stronger abdominal muscles help prevent an anterior pelvic tilt, which means the butt is excessively sticking out. Since the glute bridge is not directly working the abs, it’s not the most optimal exercise to strengthen or build the core, but it’s a nice perk.
Frequently Asked Questions
The primary benefits of the glute bridge exercise include: Stronger glute muscles; Bigger butt; Enhanced core stability; Improved posture; Increased pelvis stability; Better mind-muscle connection with the glutes; Reduced risk of lower back and knee pain
Squats are a superior exercise to glute bridges because they train the entire lower body. Squats are more functional, have better carry-over to other movements, work more muscle groups simultaneously, and can be easily scaled to suit anyone’s experience level.
That said, a glute bridge may be a better option for underdeveloped glutes, lower back pain when squatting, tight hip flexors, and difficulty firing the glutes. The answer to this depends on the individual.
Both exercises are considered to be hip hinge movements, so they target similar muscle groups, such as the glute muscles. The hip thrust is a bit more advanced and is easier to add resistance than a glute bridge. Beginners should start with a bodyweight glute bridge, then progress to a more advanced glute bridge variation before doing a hip thrust.