Do this exercise progression for a strong, sexy butt...and it helps your spine!

Updated: Sep 26, 2021



Anatomy of a muscle


The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the human body. It originates from the iliac crest and coccyx (tailbone) and inserts on the outside and top of the femur (thigh bone). It is responsible for hip extension, leg external rotation and decreases the arch in the small of the back. A strong gluteus maximus (glutes) helps with walking, standing, running, and protecting the low back by creating a stable platform and preventing anterior pelvic tilt – a condition in which the low back is arched more than it should be resulting in weak and tight low back muscles and causing low back pain.


The exercise


The glute bridge is an excellent way to work the buttocks and here is a progression of 10 exercises that will ensure you are challenged.

How to perform a bridge

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent 90 degrees

  2. Your feet are between hip-width and shoulder-width apart and pointing straight forward

  3. Claw your feet into the floor to produce an arch in the foot – think of an eagle clutching a fish – this will ensure that your feet do not collapse in

  4. Engage your transverse abdominus by pulling your belly button to your spine

  5. Squeeze your buttocks together and thrust them off the floor until there is a straight line between your shoulders and knees – if you cannot achieve this height you probably have tight hip flexors and should do one of these stretches first.

  6. Hold at the top for a split second and slowly lower to right above the floor and repeat

  7. Aim for 3 sets of between 8 – 15 repetitions performed 2 – 3 times a week

  8. Once this can be achieved, move on to the next progression


The progression

  1. Floor bridge arms across chest


2. Floor bridge on an unstable surface


3. Single leg floor bridge


4. Single leg floor bridge on an unstable surface


5. Ball bridge (upper back on ball) – when performing a ball bridge these

things need to be considered:

  1. To get into the position, sit on the ball then walk forward allowing the ball to roll up the spine until it is shoulder blade height and the head is resting on the ball

  2. Ankles should be placed under knees – the further away your feet are from your buttocks the more the hamstrings take over

  3. Feet are hip-width to shoulder-width apart and pointing straight forward

  4. Claw the floor with your feet

  5. As the buttocks drop down, the head comes off the ball to keep spine in alignment


6. Ball bridge with feet on an unstable surface


7. Static ball bridge with trunk rotation


8. Dynamic ball bridge to trunk rotation


9. Resisted ball bridge (dumbbell in lap)


Ball bridge or hip thrusts work better than squats and deadlifts in targeting the buttocks.

  1. Contreras, B., Vigotsky, A. D., Schoenfeld, B. J., Beardsley, C., & Cronin, J. (2015). A comparison of gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, and vastus lateralis electromyographic activity in the back squat and barbell hip thrust exercises. Journal of applied biomechanics, 31(6), 452-458.

  2. Andersen, V., Fimland, M. S., Mo, D. A., Iversen, V. M., Vederhus, T., Hellebø, L. R. R., … & Saeterbakken, A. H. (2018). Electromyographic comparison of barbell deadlift, hex bar deadlift, and hip thrust exercises: a cross-over study. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 32(3), 587-593.

  3. Delgado, J., Drinkwater, E. J., Banyard, H. G., Haff, G. G., & Nosaka, K. (2019). Comparison between back squat, Romanian deadlift, and barbell hip thrust for leg and hip muscle activities during hip extension. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 33(10), 2595-2601.

  4. Tibbot, M., & Helm, K. (2020). Gluteal muscle activation during deadlift and barbell hip thrust.

By the time you get to the last progression you should have buns of steel!


Enjoy!


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