How to Do a Glute Bridge Properly

Techniques & Modifications for the Best Exercise for the Butt that is NOT a Squat.

We asked Master Trainer AJ, “What would you say is the best, most underrated strength training exercise?” She answered quickly, “The glute bridge (or glute raise). It’s the best exercise for building the glutes outside of maybe the single-leg squat (a.k.a. Pistol squat), but the pistol squat can be really tough on the joints.” In this vlog, AJ covers why the glute bridge is so effective, proper technique, and some great modifications to progress and regress this amazing booty-building exercise.  

Why work the glutes? And why not just do squats?

For most, the largest muscle group in the body is the glutes. The glutes provide stabilization for your core, legs, and back, really acting as the base for your body. A strong bum helps save your knees, and improves biking, running, and even simple standing. Adding glute bridges/raises to your workout routine is a great idea for anyone, but especially if you’ve got bad knees or low back or hip issues making squats a no-no. Think of a glute bridge like a squat, but lying down and more bun-isolating.

What’s the right way? And how can we increase the intensity?

Basic glute bridge or raise: 

  • Lie down on the floor with your feet on the ground, bent knees
  • Feet about hip distance apart
  • Line your ankles up under your knees
  • Push all your weight through your heels (you should be able to wiggle your toes)
  • Press your low back down to the floor, with your arms on the ground at your sides
  • Squeeze your core and your butt
  • Lift your booty up off the ground
  • For a bridge, stay up in an isometric hold
  • For a raise, lower halfway down, and then squeeze back up, repeating

Level 2 – Add weights:

  • Hold a set of weights on your hips, and raise

Level 3 – Single leg raises:

  • With your core squeezed tight, lift one leg off the ground, heel pointing toward the sky, and lift, pushing through the heel remaining on the ground
  • Switch legs
  • You can do a hip-swing with your lifted leg, or hold it straight up

Level 4 – Elevated raises:

  • Put your heels on a bench or chair and then raise (you can add weights or go single-leg too)
  • Put your heels up on a wall, with your ankles and knees in line 

Level 5 – TRX glute raises:

  • Set your bottom TRX strap at mid-shin
  • Sit in front of the straps, and place your heels in the strap. (Pro tip: be sure to watch AJ’s video for the best method to get your heels into the straps gracefully.)
  • Lie down with your knees and hips in line
  • Squeeze your booty and lift up
  • Beast mode – add a hamstring curl at the top of the bridge

For the best results for your butt, low back, hamstrings, and to protect bad knees, add some version of AJ’s favorite exercise to your plan at least a few times a week. And for more body-sculpting, fat-torching, booty-building workouts, check out Studio SWEAT onDemand! Download the app, or if you happen to live in southern California, visit us in our San Diego studio.