Mon | Dec 10, 2018

Fit 4 Life | A bridge to a better health, performance

Published:Wednesday | October 3, 2018 | 12:16 AMMarvin Gordon
The glute bridge exercise, also called the butt lift or hip thrust, provides an informal yet effective way of strengthening the muscles.

 

Underperforming glutes can lead to a host of health problems. Issues ranging from lower back pain to knee injuries can have a root in sitting at a desk all day, allowing your gluteus muscles to grow weak.

Strengthening these muscles through training will go a long way in improving structural health.

The glute bridge exercise, also called the butt lift or hip thrust, provides an informal yet effective way of strengthening the muscles.

HOW TO BRIDGE

The exercise couldn't be simpler. It requires no weights or other equipment, but an exercise mat could come in handy.

To perform a glute bridge:

* Lie face up on the floor with hands at your side, palms down, and knees bent so that your feet are flat on the ground.

* Lift your hips up off the ground, keeping your back straight, until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Keep your core tight and avoid overextending your back.

* Hold the bridged position for a couple of seconds before slowly going back into the starting position.

The glute bridge targets the three gluteus muscles and, to a lesser extent, the hamstrings. Once done correctly, it will improve hip stability and mobility.

The glute bridge has other benefits as well.

These include:

CORE STABILITY AND STRENGTH

Core muscles such as the rectus abdominis and erector spinae, located on the front and back of the torso, respectively, are activated to provide stability of the spine and pelvis during a glute bridge.

HELPS WITH LOWER BACK PAIN

When the glutes are weak, the lower back is overworked, resulting in pain and/or injury. Not only does the exercise help to strengthen the lower back, it also provides relief for the lower back by strengthening the glutes.

REDUCE KNEE PAIN

Stronger glutes help to provide stability of the femur, and by extension the knee joint, reducing the chances of knee pain and injury.

BOOSTS PERFORMANCE

The glutes play a major role in everyday activities, such as standing and walking. They are also important in sports and training moves such as running and squats.

In addition to the glutes, hip thrusts also hit other major muscle groups, including the hamstrings and core, which influence performance in any type of exercise or sport.

HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU DO?

You don't need 100 reps of hip thrusts every day to reap the benefits. Aiming for three sets of 10-12 twice a week is enough. Just add it to your leg or back workout.

If you want more of a challenge, add some resistance or try variations such as single-leg bridge.

- Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email: marvin.gordon@physiqueandfunction.com; yourhealth@gleanerjm.com