The Isometric Glute Bridge is a widely used exercise, in a number if settings that I don’t think gets the respect it deserves. Yes it is a low load exercise, and therefore isn’t very Instagramable as it doesn’t usually give you 2-day’s worth of delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) which most of us associate with an exercise that is “good for us”. The program with the means of learning new, complex exercises via Instagram is often that the individual who sees the post, probably hasn’t earned the right to do the exercise and has some fundamental weakness and control issues that make their application of the exercise less effective…. And let’s not forget, in a huge majority of times, the post is click bait. With a trainer with very little knowledge of the negative implications of someone applying their “teachings” and to be honest, they’re not really bothered… As long as you like and share!!!
Video 1 A video from our performance partner BFitter Performance demonstrating the Isometric Glute Bridge
That said, let’s get to it. The isometric glute bridge is historically used to target the gluteus maximus muscle, which has become aesthetically desirable to build in recent years but has always been vital for performers and athletes.
In the text book it’ll tell it has these actions hip extension, hip lateral rotation, hip abduction and some will also add to this and list hip medial and hip adduction. However, in reality there is far more to it as it structurally blends into your erector spinea muscles of the lower back and transfers force across the sacroiliac joint (SIJ). It therefore has a big influence on forced-closure of the SIJ, which is a common site of pain and stiffness in many populations. It’s often a target of therapists to manipulate and “crack”, for those that like high velocity techniques. The problem being that often the sense of tightness and discomfort around this region can simply be that you need to be a bit stronger locally…. And that’s where the IsometricGlute bridge comes in very nicely.
Isometric exercise, when done with the appropriate load, can be incredibly desensitising to your brain. Putting a controlled load into an area that doesn’t involve twisting and turning motions can help to reduce the vigilance of the area to your brain and therefore help to reduce your symptoms.Whilst simultaneously making that area stronger…. Win, win.
Key cues and pointers for this exercise include:
- Ankles under knees = More glute, less hamstring
- Wider foot and knee position = More glute, less hamstring
- Weight through back half o foot = More glute, less calf and quad
- Active posterior tilt of the pelvic may increase glute recruitment but changes forced-closure across the SIJ
- Don’t drive the movement through arching your lower back
- Push heels hard into the ground throughout
- Having arms on the floor increases stability and reduces the challenge
- Try not to hold your breathe
These are the pointers and cues I like to use to create are producible Isometric Glute Bridge, do you have any? Some are tweaked and manipulated as they don’t work for everyone, find what works for yourself and explore the movement. Honing in and mastering the "basics" can be a game changer when it comes to starting to really progress with your programming. Remember, if it looks super complex on an instagram "influencers' page then it's probably not worth doing. Keeping it simple will more likely lead to consistency and that is where you will make incredible changes.
Thanks for reading