Want More Burn From Your Glute Bridges? Try These 7 Variations

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The glute bridge is a leg-day favorite. The move fires up your entire lower body, especially your glutes and hamstrings. But when your body adapts to the exercise over time, it can start to feel like it's just not challenging enough.

Elevate your heels for a challenging glute bridge variation.
Image Credit: torwai/iStock/GettyImages

Enter: bridge variations. If you want more burn from this classic move, tweak the exercise to reignite the fire with these seven intense versions.

Before you jump to harder bridge variations, double-check that you've mastered the standard glute bridge form.

Standard Glute Bridge

Standard Glute Bridge
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Sam Becourtney
Region Lower Body
Type Strength
  1. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, feet flat on the ground and knees bent.
  2. On an exhale, squeeze your glutes, press into your heels and drive your hips up toward the sky.
  3. Raise your hips until you form a diagonal line from knees to hips to chest.
  4. Pause here for a moment.
  5. Reverse the motion and return to the starting position.

Glute Bridge Variations

As you challenge yourself with new bridge variations, focus on your mind-muscle connection, Sam Becourtney, physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments in New York, tells LIVESTRONG.com. With every bridge, contract the glutes and hamstrings to ensure the muscles are firing properly.

Adding a pause (called an isometric hold) at the top of each bridge is another way you can make any of these progressions even more difficult, Becourtney says.

"Rather than going up and down quickly, you can hold the top position with your hips as high as you can for 3 to 5 seconds every repetition," he says. "This will force you to really engage the right muscles to maintain that hips-up position."

Move 1: Single-Leg Glute Bridge

Move 1: Single-Leg Glute Bridge
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Sam Becourtney
Region Lower Body
Type Strength
  1. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, feet flat on the ground and knees bent.
  2. Raise your left foot off the ground and extend it straight, keeping your knees in line. Hold this leg elevated throughout the motion.
  3. Press into your right heel and raise your hips up, contracting your glutes.
  4. Reverse the motion and bring the hips back to the ground.
  5. Perform all your reps with the left leg elevated, then switch sides.

Move 2: Glute Bridge With Hamstring Walkout

Move 2: Glute Bridge With Hamstring Walkout
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Sam Becourtney
Region Lower Body
Type Strength
  1. Begin in the glute bridge position, feet flat, hips raised.
  2. Slowly step your right foot an inch or two farther away from your body.
  3. Step your left foot to meet your right.
  4. Continue alternating stepping your feet farther and farther away, keeping your hips in the glute bridge position throughout.
  5. When your knees are almost fully straight, reverse the motion to walk your feet back to the starting position.

Tip

Keep your hips high as you walk out, Becourtney says. Make your steps small and controlled to prevent your body from rotating or shifting as you step. Only step as far out as you can while maintaining good form.

Move 3: Elevated Glute Bridge

Move 3: Elevated Glute Bridge
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Sam Becourtney
Region Lower Body
Type Strength
  1. Start lying on your back with a chair, bench or couch a few inches from your feet.
  2. Place your heels onto the elevated surface.
  3. On an exhale, squeeze your glutes and lift into a bridge.
  4. Pause when you reach the top of the movement.
  5. Lower back to the ground with control.

Move 4: Marching Glute Bridge

Move 4: Marching Glute Bridge
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Sam Becourtney
Region Lower Body
Type Strength
  1. Begin in a glute bridge, feet flat, knees bent, hips lifted. Hold the bridge throughout the exercise.
  2. Raise your left foot a few inches off the ground, knee reaching toward the ceiling.
  3. Bring the left foot back down.
  4. Raise the right leg a few inches, knee reaching high.
  5. Bring the right leg back down.
  6. Continue marching in the glute bridge position.

Tip

"Imagine a bowl of water on your lap," Becourtney says. "You want to avoid rotating at the pelvis so that you don’t spill any of the water in that imaginary bowl." Before you raise a leg, lock your other leg in place, glutes and hamstrings squeezed to minimize rotation.

Move 5: Weighted Glute Bridge

Move 5: Weighted Glute Bridge
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Sam Becourtney
Region Lower Body
Type Strength
  1. Start lying on the ground with a weight or heavy object across your hips.
  2. Place your feet flat on the floor, knees bent.
  3. Hold the weight in place as you squeeze your glutes and press your hips up on an exhale.
  4. Pause briefly at the top of the movement.
  5. Lower back down with control.

Move 6: Heels-Elevated Glute Bridge

Move 6: Heels-Elevated Glute Bridge
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Sam Becourtney
Region Lower Body
Type Strength
  1. Start lying on your back, feet flat and knees bent.
  2. Bring your feet a few inches closer to your butt and lift both heels off the ground, balancing on your toes.
  3. Keeping your feet in this position, bridge your hips up.
  4. Lower back down with control.

Tip

You should feel the burn in your calves for this variation. If you don't, move your feet a little closer to your glutes.

Move 7: Toes-Elevated Glute Bridge

Move 7: Toes-Elevated Glute Bridge
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Sam Becourtney
Region Lower Body
Type Strength
  1. Start lying on your back, feet flat and knees bent.
  2. Move your feet a few inches farther away from to your butt and lift your toes off the ground, digging your heels into the floor.
  3. Keeping your feet in this position, bridge your hips up.
  4. Lower back down with control.

Tip

This variation should give you a little extra burn in the hamstrings. If you don't feel it there, move your feet a little farther away from your glutes.

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