Why You Love to Hate the Glute Bridge

Ahhh the good ol' Glute Bridge. A staple in almost all Pilates classes, and one that never seems to get any nicer for your poor buns.

As a pilates instructor, I love the glute bridge. It's low impact, easy to do for most people, and never fails to get a good burn. From double leg to single leg, heels lifted, toes turned out, and more - the glute bridge has so many variations that it's never boring. So, what are some of the other benefits of this pilates staple?

It's great for lower back pain

One of the many things that can cause lower back pain is weakness of the glutes, hamstrings and/or core. When one or more of these areas are weak, they don't have the stamina to continue to work all day while you stand, walk, bend and run. So when they fatigue, your back kicks in to do the work for them. By strengthening our glutes, hamstrings and core, we allow those muscles to work harder for longer, to provide the strong base our body needs.

It's pretty hard to do wrong...

...and you get to lay on your back. So it's basically rest, right? Ehhh....close. But because it is a low impact exercise in a very supported position, it's hard to do it incorrectly. The two most common mistakes we see which can cause you to feel it in your back instead of your glutes are:

  1. Placing your feet too far from your glutes. This puts more strain on the hamstrings, and if they're weak (which they are for a lot of people) - the lower back gets to work instead.

  2. Lifting your bottom too high. This can cause too much extension through the lower back, which may not like it.

So when in doubt - walk your feet in a bit closer to you, and don't lift your hips too high.

It works your core (bet you didn't realise that!)

We're not just talking about the six pack abs that you get from crunches and planks. We're talking about the transversus abdominis and multifidus muscles. These muscles enclose your entire midsection and are designed to support the spine like a corset. Glutes bridges strengthen these muscles without you even realising it.

It stretches out your hip flexors

As someone who spends a lot of day in hip flexion - sitting at my desk to write blogs like these, running and walking (flexion combined with extension), my hip flexors (the front on our hips) LOVE to be stretched out. When we're in the top range of a glute bridge with our bottom lifted, the hip flexors get a beautiful stretch.

Do you have a favourite pilates move? Let us know below and we'll do a blog on it for you!

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