Dumbbell Glute Bridge: Benefits, Muscles Worked, and More

published by: Debbie Luna
Last Updated:
November 28, 2022

Compound workouts like lunges, squats, and deadlifts might place less stress on the targeted region, like the glutes. This might result from improper form, an injury to the knees or back, or anything else that makes it more challenging to complete the exercise as a whole. Such restrictions compromise the gains that can be made in terms of strength and muscle development.

In contrast to other glute-building exercises, the dumbbell glute bridge is simple to perform, low-impact, and reduces the risk of injury. As a result, it allows one to build massive glutes without putting additional strain on other areas of the body, such as the back or knee joints. 

People who don't use their buttocks enough or don't have a solid mind-muscle connection in this region may benefit significantly from doing a dumbbell glute bridge as a targeted action. This is because this exercise effectively targets the glutes. So when an individual activates and strengthens the glutes, they can feel and see the effects in other ways of moving, like walking, running, and jumping, among other things.

What is the Dumbbell Glute Bridge?

The dumbbell glute bridge is a great weighted alternative for the glute bridge. It can be used either to get the glutes ready for a lower body compound exercise or to get them working again after they haven't been used for a while after an injury.

dumbbell glute bridge

Glute bridges with dumbbells are an excellent way to strengthen the glutes in almost any situation. This is due to the fact that they can be performed almost anywhere. For instance, one just lies on the floor, bends their knees with feet hip-width apart, and positions a dumbbell over the region around the hip joints. The next step is to raise the weight by extending the hips and straightening the body with the knees and thighs.

Gluteal Muscles: Anatomy and Functions

The glutes are a powerful muscle group that contributes significantly to hip explosiveness. This power greatly increases a person's ability to leap higher and run faster.  The gluteal muscles, or "glutes," are a group of four muscles: the tensor fasciae latae, the gluteus minimus, the gluteus medius, and the gluteus maximus.

gluteal muscles

They are in the buttocks, or gluteal region, and cover the back of the pelvic girdle and the top part of the thigh bone. The word gluteus comes from the Greek word gluotos, which literally means buttocks.

Gluteus Maximus

The gluteus maximus is a thick, four-sided muscle that helps keep the upper body standing straight. It connects to several bones, including the inner upper ilium, the ilium crest, the lower part of the sacrum, and the coccyx.

There are two places where the gluteus maximus attaches: the greater trochanter and a fascia lata band for the superficial fibers, and the gluteal tuberosity between the adductor magnus and vastus lateralis for the deep fibers. The primary job of the gluteus maximus is to extend and rotate the thigh at the hip joint. It also helps the thigh move forward and rotate outward.

Gluteus Medius

Between the gluteus maximus and minimus is the gluteus medius. It starts on the gluteal surface of the ilium, between the front and back gluteal lines. The muscle then goes down in front of and below the greater trochanter of the femur to attach to it on the side. This muscle is in charge of moving the thigh outward and inward at the hip joint. It also helps to keep the pelvis and trunk stable during the walking cycle.

Gluteus Minimus

The smallest of the gluteal muscles is the gluteus minimus. It appears on the ilium's gluteal surface between the anterior and inferior gluteal lines. The muscle goes down in front and below, then attaches to the front and side of the greater trochanter on the femur. The gluteus minimus works with the gluteus medius to pull the thigh back and rotate it inward. This helps keep the pelvis stable.

How to Perform a Dumbbell Glute Bridge

Before doing this weighted version, someone with a back or knee injury should try the glute bridge first to assess their capacity to perform this workout. Always choose a weight that can be managed for three sets of eight to fifteen repetitions without compromising the correct technique. Always practice moderate load progressions at all times.

Take a supine position on the ground, bend the knees and position the feet flat on the floor. The feet should be hip-width apart with the back of the heels just below the front of the knees.

dumbbell glute bridge muscles

Put a dumbbell on top of the navel area, and adjust it, so the plates are resting on the hip joints. Holding each end plate with the hands will ensure that the dumbbells remain in their intended place. This is the starting position. 

Engage the glutes and core, and push the heels into the ground to lift the hips as high as possible toward the sky. Keep doing this until the knees, hips, and chest are in a straight line.

When lifting the hips, resist the urge to arch the lower back. Instead, focus on keeping the spine in a neutral position throughout the exercise. After pausing at the top, slowly and steadily bring the hips back down to the ground.

Benefits of the Dumbbell Glute Bridge

Low Impact Glute Activation and Strengthening

Unlike exercises like lunges, squats, and deadlifts, which also work the glutes, the dumbbell glute bridge is a low-impact exercise that doesn't put extra pressure on other body parts, like the back or the knee joints.

This allows someone to feel and see glute strength improvements with a reduced risk of injury. This low-impact glute activation transitions into other activities such as walking, sprinting, and jumping. 

Enhance Athletic Performance and Hip Extension Explosiveness

In research conducted by Contreras et al., it was shown that hip extension exercises enhance squat exercises and are also a feasible choice when injured. In addition, the dumbbell glute bridge exercise is essential if a person wants to improve the performance of their posterior chain. 

Besides improving a person's look and function, dumbbell glute bridges will assist them in moving into more advanced hip extension exercises, such as the barbell hip thrust. Better hip extension leads to more powerful movements during workouts, such as deadlifts and squats. In addition, hip explosiveness is a crucial part of an athlete's ability that contributes to their sprinting and jumping skills.

Alleviate Lower Back and Knee Pain

A lack of strength in the glutes may be to blame for discomfort that is experienced in the knees and lower back during exercises such as squatting, deadlifting, and other common everyday tasks. However, in a study by Jeong et al., they found that hip muscle strengthening exercises help alleviate lower back pain and increase lumbar muscle strength.

In addition, when the glutes lack the necessary tension at the bottom of the squat, the lifter often has to apply more loading into the quadriceps, which may increase the amount of stress placed on the quads and the knee joint. 

Single-Leg Dumbbell Glute Bridge

Increasing the difficulty of the dumbbell glute bridge by forcing one leg to do the work that would normally be done by both legs results in the exercise being more challenging to perform. Make sure that the hips are still able to fully extend before beginning this exercise with dumbbells.

dumbbell single leg glute bridge

Set up as one would for a dumbbell glute bridge to do this move. Lay on your back on the floor with the feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart. The back of the heels should be right under the knees. 

Put a dumbbell on the navel area and position the plates on the hip joints. Secure the dumbbell by holding the end plates with both hands. Raise one leg off the ground and extend it straight with the thighs. 

Engage the glutes and core, and press the heels into the ground to raise the hips as high as possible into the ceiling. Continue until the knees, hips, and chest are in a straight line.

Resist the impulse to arch the lower back while elevating the hips. Instead, concentrate on maintaining a neutral spine throughout the activity. After a brief pause at the peak, gently and gradually lower the hips to the ground.

Final Thoughts

Although barbell hip thrusts are the go-to glute exercise, particularly for many athletes, there are numerous individuals who do not have the option of performing them due to equipment limitations and/or injury. The dumbbell glute bridge is an excellent alternative to barbell hip thrusts for individuals who find that the standard barbell hip thrusts are not an option for them. 

References:

1. Contreras B, Vigotsky AD, Schoenfeld BJ, Beardsley C, McMaster DT, Reyneke JH, Cronin JB. Effects of a six-week hip thrust vs. front squat resistance training program on performance in adolescent males: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of strength and conditioning research. 2017 Apr 1;31(4):999-1008.

2. Lehecka BJ, Edwards M, Haverkamp R, Martin L, Porter K, Thach K, Sack RJ, Hakansson NA. Building a better gluteal bridge: electromyographic analysis of hip muscle activity during modified single-leg bridges. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2017 Aug;12(4):543.

Debbie (Deb) started powerlifting and Olympic lifting in High School as part of her track team's programming; She continues to train in order to remain athletic. Inspire US allows Deb to share information related to training, lifting, biomechanics, and more.
inspire us logo
Inspire US serves as an informational hub for people looking to start their fitness journey.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information being shared is for educational purposes only. You must consult with a medical professional before acting on any content on this website.
Copyright © Inspire US 2023