Crush Your Glutes and Hamstrings with This Unilateral Anti-Sliding Glute Bridge
Dr. Joel Seedman Ph.D.
Here’s a group of my athletes performing a single leg anti-sliding glute bridge as we prepare them for the 2017 NFL Combine. This specific single leg glute bridge looks innocent and simple yet it’s deceptively difficult and highly effective.
There are four unique benefits of this variation.
1. Using the slide-board to perform glute bridges creates significant extension forces on the knee that the lifter must resist throughout to keep the feet/foot from sliding out. Most glute bridges involve predominately the glute muscles with less emphasis on the hamstrings. However with this specific variation not only are your glutes getting crushed as you drive into hip extension but your hamstrings get absolutely pulverized as you resist the extension forces on your knee. You can also create a similar effect with Valslide discs, sliders, or any other slick surface (e.g. towel on a slick wood floor) that creates extension forces on the knee.
2. Besides crushing the hamstrings, this variation eliminates momentum commonly used during glute bridges. Unfortunately most people use excessive momentum on glute bridges rather than incorporating smooth and crisp powerful contractions. With anti-sliding variations, if you jerk your body and don’t incorporate controlled contractions, your foot will slide in an uncontrollable fashion on the slide board making these feel almost impossible to lock in.
3. The slide board also requires intense foot, ankle, and shin muscle activation to keep the feet/foot from sliding. When you examine the way most lifters perform glute bridges they typically have poor foot and ankle alignment. In fact, you’ll often notice one or both toes flaring with very littler motor control of their lower extremities. With this anti-sliding glute bridge you’ll be forced to activate the muscles around the feet, ankles, and shins in order to achieve proper alignment through the foot and ankle complex. Anything less will result in the foot sliding out in random directions. In addition, dorsiflexing the feet and ankles throughout, helps place grater tension on the posterior chain while simultaneously strengthening the anterior tibialis which are critical for performance and function.
4. Single Leg glute bridges are incredibly effective for addressing asymmetries and left-to-right side imbalances throughout the hips and posterior chain. Because most athletes naturally favor one side of their body, there’s almost always a significant difference between hip and glute strength when assessing left vs. right side of the body. Performing standard bilateral glute bridges and hip thrusters are effective posterior chain movements but unfortunately it’s quite easy to cheat and allow one side to dominate the movement. This only further reinforces the athlete’s compensation patterns, imbalances, and asymmetries. Single leg glute bridges are one of the most effective variations for resolving these dysfunctional activation patterns and structural imbalances particularly when performed in this fashion.