The Ultimate Glute Bridge, Hip Thruster, and Butt Blaster
Dr. Joel Seedman
If you're looking or an exercise to crush your glutes and hamstrings with enough tension to firm up and strengthen the must stubborn backside, look no further than this advanced posterior chain movement. Here I have my awesome client and NPC national figure competitor Leslie Petch performing an anti-sliding (anti-extension), anti-valgus, barbell glute bridge. Think of this as the ultimate glute bridge for crushing the entire posterior chain. There are several unique components that make this variation so effective.
1. Notice the use of the slide-board. This creates significant extension forces on the knee that the lifter must resist throughout to keep the feet 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. You can also create a similar effect with Valslide discs or any other slick surface or sliders.
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 smooth and crisp powerful contractions. With these if you jerk the weight up and don’t incorporate controlled contractions, your feet will slide in an uncontrollable fashion on the slide board making these feel almost impossible.
3. The slide board also requires intense foot, ankle, and shin muscle activation to keep the feet from sliding. When you examine the way most lifters perform glute bridges they typically have poor foot and ankle alignment as 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 feet sliding out in random directions.
4. This variation also involves an abduction or anti valgus component. The glute medius muscles and outer hips work synergistically with the larger glue maximus muscles. By placing a small band around the thighs the lifter is forced to recruit their smaller outer glute and hip muscles which in turn results in greater activation throughout the entire posterior chain. This also does wonders for helping to eliminate valgus knee and ankle collapse on other lifts like squats and deadlifts as well as jumping and running mechanics.
5. Finally, you notice I have my client using smaller plates rather than large bumper plates or 45's. Using smaller plates allows a full range of motion without the weight plates touching the floor in the stretched position. Even if you use heavier loads you can stack many 25’s on the bar to achieve the desired load. Unless you’re a large individual using larger plates detracts from the full amount of tension you can place on the glutes and hamstrings as the plates end up hitting the floor several inches before your glutes do. In other words the whole exercise is not overloaded and the bottom stretched position has very little tension. In addition this allows individuals to use excessive momentum as they drive their hips off the floor and into the bar helping to propel it off the floor. Using smaller plates helps to eliminate that.
This exercise is very intense so I recommend starting with a third of the weight you would typically use for barbell glute bridges or hip thrusters and perform 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps.
Read more about glute and hamstring training HERE.