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My New Favorite Glute Exercises

You would THINK I hate them! I talk about them a lot and often frustrated with how I see people using them.

Yes! Those darn glute bridges!!!

Why am I such a stickler on the glute bridge? Because mostly the rationale we use to support doing them both is correct and wrong at the same time!

Let’s ask a few questions to get to the REAL answer about glute bridges…..

Q: Do you need to train your glutes?

A: Absolutely, however, I don’t think there is a muscle that you DO NOT need to train. What IS more important to focus upon than JUST the glutes is how they work with the rest of the body and why they may not be working like they should!

A LOT of glute issues never get addressed correctly because we focus on the muscle and NOT the body! For example, there is a great deal of research showing how issues in the foot/ankle lead to changes in activation and timing of the glutes (1,2). That SHOULD mean that when we address the glutes we are also addressing the ankle/foot.

Q: Is the most effective way to load your glutes is to put weight on your hips?

A: At first glance this may make a lot of sense. Load the part of your body that is moving the weight. There are a few problems with this thought process though. The first being, as we just mentioned, the movement originates at the feet.

If we were to take the glute bridge to its obvious standing progression, the deadlift, the cue is to “press through the floor”, not “push the hips forward”. That is because the forces we create in the ground create a chain reaction that goes not to just the hip, but the entire body to create strength and stability.

The other issue is that the glutes do NOT work by themselves. I have written quite a bit that the lats and core play a HUGE role with the glutes. As Dr. Evan Osar points out, “the inability to optimally stabilize the trunk affects the entire kinetic chain by inhibiting many of the deep muscles responsible for respiration and stabilization. Muscle weakness or inhibition of these muscles then manifests as alignment and movement-related issues in the trunk, shoulders, and/or pelvis.”

The core is really a transmission system for the lower and upper body extremities to perform and communicate. One of the big ways that is accomplished is by the role of the Posterior Oblique System. Researchers found that this VERY unsexy name for the coordinated effort of the lats, thoracolumbar fascia, and opposing glutes was absolutely necessary for the stabilization of the spine during every day actions like walking, running, or basically anything with movement.

That means NOT bracing your core, NOT using your lats is NOT the way to train your glutes. Yes, you may not get the huge social media slow clap for these other ways of training your glutes, but you will get BETTER results!

Q: Did you really mean glutes or glute?

A: People often say glute training, but there really is no such thing. Your “glutes” are really three muscles that work synergistically with A LOT of other muscles of the hip to not only produce force going forward, but RESIST movement going from side to side.

That is why JUST doing exercises that allow your hips to move up and down is NOT the way to get real world strong or to be honest, maximally develop your glutes!

Great, so what do you do now? Fortunately, our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training coaches have some awesome glute training exercises that satisfy what REAL glute training should be all about. Addressing the connection with the foot/ankle, training you in all planes of motion, and loading the body in the manner it was meant to move. Try THESE DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training glute exercises and see your glutes not just get stronger, but work their best!


1. Friel, Karen, et al. “Ipsilateral hip abductor weakness after inversion ankle sprain.” Journal of athletic training 41.1 (2006): 74.

2. Beckman, Scott M., and Thomas S. Buchanan. “Ankle inversion injury and hypermobility: effect on hip and ankle muscle electromyography onset latency.” Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation 76.12 (1995): 1138-1143.

3. Lee, Diane. (2011). The Pelvic Girdle (4th ed.). New York, NY: Churchill Livingston. – See more at: http://www.ptonthenet.com/articles/corrective-exercise-solutions-to-weight-training-injuries-3611#sthash.EDltSnuO.dpuf