What is this exercise?

The bridge exercise is a common exercise used to activate your gluteals, primarily your Gluteus Maximus (GMax) and Hamstrings. In this version of the exercise we will concentrate on GMax activation.

See link to ClamsBulgarian Lunge, Arabesque and Step up.

The video below shows 3 different ways to carry out a bridge exercise.

While doing the exercise, do not go too high and over arch as you will not feel the burn in your GMax and you may aggravate your lower back.

Lie on your back with your hands at your sides, knees bent as far up as comfortable, and feet flat on the floor under your knees.

Imagine you are trying to drag your foot back and into the floor and use this pressure to lift your hips. Lift your hips up to a position just below where you would create a straight line from your knees to shoulders.Relax your back and abdominals and use pressure on your heels with your foot flat (don’t lift your foot or toes).

Hold this position and wait to feel the burn in the back of your gluteals (Glut Max).

Once you feel the back of your gluteals ( not your back of thigh/hamstring or lower back) hold this position for 20 – 30 seconds( Isometric contraction).Then lift your hips up and down slowly and feel the burn in the back of your GMax (Isotonic contraction).

To isolate your right GMax, move your left leg forward and drag your right heel into the floor. You will feel the burn in your right GMAX more. Try not drop the opposite hip and keep the pelvis straight. The idea is to drive your right foot back and into the floor to lift your left (or opposite) hip up.Hold for 20 – 30 seconds too get a nice burn/activation in your GMax.Then lower and lift your hips keeping your pelvis square.

To increase difficulty again, you can lift one foot/leg and complete the exercise with one leg in the air. Remember to keep your pelvis straight/square.

Quick tips

  • Keep pelvis straight/level
  • Pull your heel back and into floor with foot flat

Goal hold time: 20 – 30 seconds

Repetitions: 20 – 25

Common Errors

I feel my quadriceps (top of my thighs) burning > you are probably pushing forward on your foot. Shift the weight to the back of the foot and drive your heels back and into the floor without lifting your toes.

I feel my back burning/hurting > you are probably going too high. Stop just before your hips get higher than your knees.

What muscle groups does this exercise use?

Primary Activation/BURN

  • Gluteus maximus

Secondary Activation

  • Abdominals
  • Hamstrings (minor)
  • Erector Spinae


  • Gluteus maximus activation and strength
  • Abdominal activation/strength
  • Pelvic control