"This seems silly." Every time one of my clients does this, this is his response. The fact that you are laying your back, pumping your hips up and down may seem silly, but it's actually one of those exercises that helps fight what Dr. Stuart McGill calls "gluteal amnesia."
Dr. McGill believes this amnesia, or loss of strength and size in the glutes is why so many people have debilitating back pain. Not to mention, when you sit on your butt all day you may lose the ability to consciously fire or "squeeze" your butt muscles. If back pain and tight hip flexors aren't enough for you, how about turning what's supposed to be a ball of good looking muscle into a droopy flap that looks like an extension of your lower back.
So the simple glute bridge is a great place to start in being able to activate these muscles. No need to add weight and bands and barbells until you are able to master this one. Here's how it's done:
- Lay on your back with your knees bent and bring your heels as close to your butt as possible. Raise your toes to the ceiling keep your heels on the ground. Place your arms out to the side, rotate the hands so the palms are up and thumbs are facing out.
- Pushing through the heels, raise the hips only to a point where lower back does not go into extension.
- At this point make sure that the glutes are firing by actively squeezing them. Hold this position for 2-3 seconds. Note: if you are feeling his in your hamstrings or lower back you are not doing it correctly. To fix this, only raise your hips slightly off the ground keeping your rib cage on the floor. Try to feel only your glutes working at this point.
- After you hold the contraction point for 2-3 seconds slowly lower your hips to the ground, taking another 3-5 seconds.
- You can also use the bridge as an isometric exercise holding for 20-30 seconds at a time.
- Keep rep ranges high, 20-25 reps.
- Remember the goal is to fire the glute muscles. Make sure you are consciously aware of doing so.