These days, looking fit isn’t just about having sculpted abs and arms. It’s about performance, too. And while there’s no quick fix for athleticism, the booty is a good place to start. Your glutes, aka the biggest muscle group in your body, are responsible for everything from scaling stairs and running marathons to preventing injury and improving stability. So how do you work ‘em? Squats, lunges and leg raises are great booty burners, but glute bridges are prime exercises for your butt because they target your all three muscles that make up your glutes (gluteus maximus, medius and minimus) and the hamstrings.
Basic glute bridges involve raising your butt and hips a few inches off the floor while your shoulders stay grounded. Some variations will have your heels raised, other involve lifting your entire leg off of the floor at 45 degrees. But the key is to reach full extension (creating a diagonal line from your shoulders to your knees), so it’s important to nail down proper form before you get creative adding more on. Here, our top Daily Burn 365 trainers show us six ways to get lifted with the glute bridge.
5 Glute Bridges to Strengthen Your Backside
1. Single-Leg Glute Bridge
This variation may look simple, but these small pulses are big gains for a sculpted booty. It makes your glutes work extra hard to maintain balance, extend your hips and stabilize your body. If you’re having trouble getting your leg perpendicular to the floor, keep it at 45 degrees with both knees touching.
How to: Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Make a “T” with your arms on the floor with your palms facing down (a). Lift your left leg up to make a right angle (90 degrees) with the floor, and raise your hips and butt off of the floor. Your right knee will remain bent (b). Press your right heel into the floor and pulse up and down with your left leg, without dropping your hips and butt. Be sure to flex your left foot and press out through your right heel (c). Engage your arms on the floor to maintain a stable spine, and keep your eyes on the ceiling (d). Continue pulsing for 30 seconds before switching sides.
2. Bridge Pulse
Go slow to make the most out of this exercise. In addition to strengthening your glutes and core, this exercise isolates the muscles that make up your pelvic floor.
How to: Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor a few inches away from your butt (a). Press into a bridge, raising your hip and butt off of the floor, creating a diagonal line from your shoulders to your knees (b). Then, lower your butt halfway to the floor (c). Gradually pulse your butt up three counts before pressing up to a full bridge (d). Bring your hips back down halfway to the floor and repeat for 30 seconds.
3. Marching Glute Bridge
Working out individual sides of the body helps you isolate muscles, identify imbalances and make them stronger. Your obliques also get some TLC in this exercise, which are essential to spine stability and rotational power.
How to: Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hands can be at your sides with your palms facing down or above your head (a). Press into a bridge, lifting your hips and butt off of the floor (b). Keeping your left knee bent, lift your left foot off of the floor until your left knee is above your left hip. Your left foot should be flexed as your right foot presses into the floor for stability (c). Bring your left foot back to the ground and repeat with your right leg. Be sure to keep your hips lifted the entire time. (d) Continue for 30 seconds.
4. Glute Bridge With Arms Overhead
This multi-tasking move promises a full-body burn plus a stability challenge all in one. Pumping your arms will keep your upper half engaged, while also creating momentum for your lower body.
How to: Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor a few inches away from your butt. Bring your arms straight behind you with your palms facing the ceiling. This is the starting position (a). Lower your arms to touch the floor, as you simultaneously press up into a bridge, lifting your hips and butt off of the floor (b). Return the starting position, and repeat for 30 seconds (c).
5. Bridge Tap Hollow Hold
This Pilates-inspired move is similar to the 100. While the 100s is known as a core exercise, your inner thighs and quads also get a workout as you squeeze your legs together. This exercise is also a great opportunity to practice proper breathing.
How to: Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor a few inches away from your butt. Your arms should be at your sides with you palms on the floor (a). Press up into a bridge, lifting your hips and your butt off of the floor (b). Lower your hips back down to the floor (c). Crunch up into a 100, raising your legs about 45 degrees off the floor and lifting your arms, head and shoulders off the ground. Bring your arms forward as if you’re trying to touch your feet (d). Relax and lower your arms and legs back down to the floor (e). Repeat for 30 seconds.
For more booty-blasting exercises, try Daily Burn 365. Get a 30-day free trial today!