During my endeavor to fix my APT, I was looking for exercises that strengthen the glutes in the position where the hips are not flexed. I needed stronger glutes to counteract the tight hip flexors I have from sitting at the computer all day writing these posts (and also doing my actual day job). The result was a series of exercises I put together which focused on developing glute strength during hip extension.
Why don’t you just do squat?
Yes, squats are the first thing that comes to mind when one combines the words ‘glutes’ and ‘strengthening’. My main reason for avoiding squats was that they work on strengthening the glutes during hip flexion, while I was looking for stronger glutes for hip extension.
Short term benefits and uses
I do this routine as part of my warm up for the hips. It doesn’t require much of a warm up to do (if at all), it’s very short and gets my hips moving. It’s very hard to fatigue the glutes even with serious weight training, so I feel safe doing it daily without adverse consequences. It’s also a great quick warm up in itself if I only want to stretch the hip flexors afterwards.
Long term benefits
Aside from getting my hips warm and tired, this little routine has also a long term benefits. It develops strong glutes when the hips are extending, which means better active flexibility, more persistent flexibility gains and even better cold flexibility. And as an added bonus, it makes your butt fill in those jeans nicely. I was hesitant to make these claims until I started to see improvement in my hip flexors (and butt roundness) on myself. Of course, your mileage may vary.
Proper glute bridge form
One of the first things I noticed when I google-researched glute bridges was that I was doing them all wrong. I used to think that the high I can get my hips the better. My back was very arched, hips in an APT and no feeling whatsoever in the glutes.
A proper glute bridge consists of 0% back flexibility. You should be a straight line from neck to knees. The front of the body should be shortened, hips tucked under and the back long. Imagine a laser beam coming out of your bum hole, you try to point it up to the ceiling while keeping the hips high, that’s pretty much how it feels.
I started doing this quite a few months ago as part of my APT elimination plan. For the first month I did it pretty much every day along with hip flexor stretching and lower abs strengthening. I saw a nice improvement with my APT, so I tried to keep that new baseline while directing my attention to other things. I was shooting for 10 reps of each exercise at the time.
Nowadays, I don’t do it every day, but try to squeeze it in before each training (4-6 times a week), and I upped my reps to 15-20. Sometimes I use a resistance band over my hips in the glute bridges to up the ante, but I’m not consistent with that yet. Incorporating ankle weights may be another idea as I’m not too big on reps.
- Glute bridge : 10-20 reps
- Glute bridge pulses at the top : 5-10 reps
- One legged glute bridges : 10-20 reps/side
- One legged glute bridges leg movement at the top : 5-10 reps/side
- Donkey Kicks : 10-20 reps/side
- Donkey Kicks over other leg : 10-20 reps/side
- Straight leg raises with hollow body : 10-20 reps/side
- Bent leg raises with hollow body : 10-20 reps/side
- Downward facing dog leg rises : 10-20 reps/side
I have some additions and variations I play with but this is the original routine.