The power of the glute bridge

Learn how to do the bridge correctly.

Why this matters:

The supine glute bridge is programmed in a lot of rehabilitation programs for sciatica. Why? It is thought to help strengthen the glutes, quads, hamstrings, or low back muscles (whatever is deficient in strength). But, does it really help? Here are the conditions in which a glute bridge can be helpful, if done correctly.

Weakness in hip extension (aka kicking the leg back). If you don’t have enough strength to drive the leg back, your lower back muscles will often kick in to make this motion happen. It usually occurs with the back leg when walking. 

Limited hip extension range of motion. Just like above, if you are limited in just being able to have that leg kick back at the hips, your back will have to arch more to make it happen.

How can you tell if you have this problem? Lay on your stomach and lift one leg off the floor/bed. Do you feel your back muscles kick in, or are you able to recruit your butt and hamstrings (back of thigh?)

Action steps:

If you feel your lower back muscles kick in, you may be limited in both hip extension strength and range of motion. I recommend starting off with opening up your hip flexors with this massage (for about 2 minutes per side), and then trying out this type of bridge (I usually recommend 10-15 repetitions).

If your low back doesn’t kick in, and it doesn’t cause pain, then it is time to move on. You might not need to do the bridge exercise, and you have permission to remove it from your program so you can find something more effective.


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