glute bridge alternative
Fitness

23 Glute Bridge Alternatives You Need To Try

Your glutes are the largest, and potentially the strongest, muscles in your body. For most people, however, the glutes are actually their body’s weak link.

The glute bridge is an awesome exercise that can be done with bodyweight and with resistance to strengthen and build the glutes. But it is by no means the only one.

Here are 23 awesome glute bridge alternatives that you can do both at home with no equipment and in the gym to kick butt (yours!). 

1. Banded Squat Pulse

Muscles Worked

Glutes, hamstrings

Equipment Needed

Thick resistance loop band

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The banded pulse squat is a great glute exercise that allows you to really focus on the glutes with a simple movement that you can do at home through a small range of movement.

Performance Tips

Keep your range of motion small to keep the tension on your glutes. Keep your feet flat on the ground. You can use extra resistance by moving up to a thicker band.

How To Do It

  1. Position a resistance loop band around your upper thighs. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and toes pointed forward, with arms out in front of your body. Hinge at the hips to squat to parallel.
  2. From the bottom position, start performing short pulses, coming up to a quarter squat position on each pulse.
  3. Perform 10 pulses and then return to the start position.

2. Banded Sway Squats

Muscles Worked

Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps

Equipment Needed

Thick resistance loop band

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The banded sway squat is another glute-centric move that also works the inner and outer quads.

Performance Tips

Maintain a fluid side-to-side movement.

How To Do It

  1. Position a resistance loop band around your upper thighs. Stand with your feet wide apart and hands clasped together in front of your chest.
  2. Lunge to the left, keeping the right leg straight and lifting the toe so that the foot is resting on its heel. Feel for a stretch through your right hamstring in the bottom position.
  3. Return to the start position and then repeat on the other side. That is one rep. Move fluidly from side to side, being sure to maintain a neutral spine.

3. Banded Frog Pumps

Muscles Worked

Glutes, hamstrings

Equipment Needed

Loop band

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The banded frog pump is similar to the glute bridge but it adds the extra element of resistance and pulling the thighs apart to activate the abductors.

Performance Tips

Tense the glutes on the glute drive and hold for a 2 count in the top position. 

How To Do It

  1. Lie face up on an exercise mat with a resistance loop band positioned around your lower thighs, knees bent and feet together. Place your arms on the floor alongside your body.
  2. Pump through the pelvis to bring the hips as high as you can. Squeeze your glutes in the top position and pull your thighs apart. Hold for a 2 count before returning to the start position.

4. Fire Hydrant

Muscles Worked

Glutes, hamstrings, abductors

Equipment Needed

Loop band

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The banded fire hydrant targets the abductor muscles of the upper leg while also strengthening the glutes.

Performance Tips

Tense your glutes in the top position

How To Do It

  1. Lie face up on an exercise mat with a resistance loop band positioned around your lower thighs, knees bent and feet together. Place your arms on the floor alongside your body.
  2. Straighten out your left leg. Lift your hips up as high as you can, squeezing the glutes in the process. Do not bend the knee of your straightened leg.
  3. Hold the top position for a second before slowly lowering to the start position.

5. Band Reverse Lunge

Muscles Worked

Glutes, hamstrings quadriceps

Equipment Needed

Resistance band

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The band resisted reverse lunge places direct stress on the glutes under resistance through a full range of motion.

Performance Tips

Take a large backward step and descend down until the rear knee nearly touches the floor.

How To Do It

  1. Stand with a looped resistance band under your left foot, both feet together and holding the other end of the band in your left hand.
  2. Extend your right foot back to descend into a reverse lunge. Push through the front thigh to returned to the start position.
  3. Perform all of your reps on one leg before repeating with the other.
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6. Squat with Abduction

Muscles Worked

Glutes, abductors

Equipment Needed

Loop band 

Why It’s a Great Alternative

This exercise combines the power of the squat with the benefit of abduction of the leg to more fully work the entire upper leg.

Performance Tips

Set your feet solidly and maintain your center of balance. Keep your feet flat on the floor.

How To Do It

  1. Stand with feet wider than shoulder width apart, a resistance band looped over your ankles. Clasp your hands together in front of your chin. Descend down into a parallel squat.
  2. When you come out of the squat, extend your straightened right leg out to the side.
  3. Immediately move into your next squat. When you come out of it, extend the left leg out to the side.

7. Crab Walk

Muscles Worked

Glutes, hamstrings, abductors

Equipment Needed

Loop resistance band

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The crab walk allows you to put concentrated effort on the glutes, hamstrings, and abductors with increased resistance.

Performance Tips

Be sure to take large steps and staying in a squat position as you pulse.

How To Do It

  1. Stand with a loop resistance band looped around your ankles and feet shoulder width apart. Clasp your hands together at chin level. Now take a large step forward and to the left.
  2. Drop down into a pulse squat, pulsing twice before coming up. Repeat by stepping forward and to the right.
  3. Take 3 steps forward and then 3 steps back.

8. Sumo Squat to High Knees

Muscles Worked

Glutes, hamstrings, quads

Equipment Needed

None

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The Sumo squat to High Knee combines a compound muscle-building exercise with a cardio move to make you stronger as it increases your agility and lower-body explosiveness.

Performance Tips

Do your reps in a fast, fluid manner. Perform a glute drive on the high knee portion of the exercise.

How To Do It

  1. Assume a wider than shoulder with stance with your toes pointed outward. Maintaining a neutral spine, descend down into a parallel squat.
  2. Push through the heels to drive our of the squat. 
  3. In the upright position, drive your left knee high into the air. On the next rep, drive up with your right knee. 

9. In & Out Jump Squat

Muscles Worked

Quadriceps, glutes, abductors

Equipment Needed

None

Why It’s a Great Alternative

In and Out Jump Squats is an explosive move that intensely works the muscles of your butt and upper legs while also improving your cardio efficiency.

Performance Tips

Perform your reps in a fluid manner.

How To Do It

  1. Stand with feet together and toes pointed forward. Clasp your hands in front of your chin.
  2. Jump your legs apart as you drop down to a parallel squat. Immediately jump back to the start position to bring your feet back together.
  3. Perform your reps fluidly in a continuous motion.

10. Side Banded Lunge

Muscles Worked

Glutes, abductors, quadriceps

Equipment Needed

Loop band

Why It’s a Great Alternative

This is another awesome glute-centric exercise that you can do at home with an inexpensive resistance band. It also strengthens the abductor muscles to improve your balance, agility, and coordination. 

Performance Tips

Move between your reps in a  fluid, continuous manner.

How To Do It

  1. Place a resistance loop band around your mid thigh area. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Extend your right foot out laterally as you lunge down in the direction, pushing your right thigh against the band.
  3. Return to the start position. Do the same number of reps on both sides. 

11. Iso Hip Thruster + Abduction

Muscles Worked

Glutes

Equipment Needed

Thick loop band

Why It’s a Great Alternative

This exercise adds resistance and horizontal iso tension to the standard glute bridge exercise for added intensity.

Performance Tips

Squeeze your glutes tightly as you perform this exercise. Keep your feet flat on the floor.

How To Do It

  1. Position yourself on an exercise mat, face up on all fours with a loop resistance band around the mid thighs. You should be resting on your palms and your feet, with your knees bent and together.
  2. Lift your hips as high as you can into the air. Then push your thighs apart.
  3. Bring your thighs back together and then lower to the start position.

12. Single Leg Deadlift

Muscles Worked

Glutes, spinal erectors, quadriceps

Equipment Needed

Resistance band

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The single-leg deadlift allows for unilateral focus on the glutes and quads. It also strengthens the spinal erectors.

Performance Tips

Maintain your center of balance by keeping your body weight centered over your standing leg. Keep your spine neutral. 

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How To Do It

  1. Secure a resistance band to a secure upright at waist level. Hold the band in your left hand and stand about four feet from the upright, facing it.
  2. Hinge at the hip to bring your torso down to a parallel position with the floor. Simultaneously extend your right foot back and your right arm forward. Return to the start position.
  3. Do all reps on the right side and then repeat on the left side.

13. Donkey Kick

Muscles Worked

Glutes

Equipment Needed

None

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The Donkey Kick adds the element of explosiveness to glute extension to provide a more intense butt workout.

Performance Tips

Strive for a full range of motion in both directions.

How To Do It

  1. Get down on all fours on an exercise mat, with a thick resistance loop band around your mid thigh area.
  2. Kick your right leg back and up as high as you can. Lower and repeat.
  3. Perform all of the designated reps on one side before repeating on the other side.

14. Straight Leg Glute Bridge

Muscles Worked

Glutes

Equipment Needed

None

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The straight leg glute bridge is a unilateral version of the glute bridge. This allows you to more effectively work each glute muscle. The straight leg glute bridge with a band also allows you to do a weighted glute bridge without loading the spine.

Performance Tips

Contract and hold the top position.

How To Do It

  1. Lie on the floor on your back with your left knee bent and the right leg out straight.
  2. Thrust your hips into the air as you bring your straightened right leg up as high as possible.
  3. Lower and repeat. Do all reps on one side and then repeat on the other side.

15. Banded Squat Pulse Jump

Muscles Worked

Glutes, quadriceps

Equipment Needed

Loop band

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The banded squat pulse jump is a combination compound and plyometric exercise which will tone your butt and quads as it helps to burn off calories.

Performance Tips

Move fluidly between your reps to keep your heart pumping.

How To Do It

  1. Position a resistance band around a secure upright at waist level and stand about four feet in front of it, holding the band in your hands in a neutral position.
  2. Perform a parallel squat. From the bottom position, pulse up and down twice before jumping vertically.

16. Static Lunge

Muscles Worked

Quadriceps, glutes

Equipment Needed

Resistance band

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The static lunge places increased time under tension on the glutes and quads.

Performance Tips

Be sure to bring the rear knee down low on the lunge.

How To Do It

  1. Position yourself in front of a chair with a thick resistance loop band around your mid thigh area. Now place your left foot on the chair behind you and clasp your hands together in front of your chest.
  2. Lunge your left leg so that the knee almost touches the floor. Push through the right thigh to return to the start position.
  3. Perform all reps on one side before repeating on the other side.

17. Banded Glute Kickback

Muscles Worked

Glutes

Equipment Needed

Resistance loop band

Why It’s a Great Alternative

This is a glute-centric movement that places increasing resistance on the glutes. It can be done at home with just a resistance band. This is an effective weighted glute bridge alternative that does not overload the spinal column.

Performance Tips

Lean against support for balance.

How To Do It

  1. Stand facing a chair with your hands resting on the arm rests and a resistance loop band around your lower legs below the calves.
  2. Bend at the hips so that your torso is at a 45 degree angle to the floor. Now kick your left leg back without bending the knee.
  3. Lower and repeat. Perform all reps on the left leg before repeating on the other side.

18. Glute Ham Raise

Muscles Worked

Glutes, hamstrings, spinal erectors

Equipment Needed

Glute Ham Raise machine

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The glute ham raise stabilizes and strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, and spinal erectors. That makes it one of the best exercises for glutes. 

Performance Tips

Be sure to control your body throughout the entire movement to eliminate momentum.

How To Do It

  1. Lie facedown on the machine horizontally with your feet between the two pads in the back. Your legs should be straight and your waist on the edge of the front pad.
  2. Bend your knees and press against the pad. At the same time lift your upper body to a vertical position as if you were sitting on your knees.
  3. Extend your legs and lower your upper body until you are flexing at the hips to return to the starting position.
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19. Barbell Lunge

Muscles Worked

Hamstrings, glute medius, quadriceps

Equipment Needed

Olympic barbell

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The barbell lunge improves hip flexibility, balance, and stabilization. This increases quad and glute power. 

Performance Tips

Control the weight as you step away from the center of the body.

How To Do It

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place a bar across your shoulders.
  2. Step forward with one leg out in front of the body. Bend the back leg so the knee nearly touches the floor. Keep your chest vertical and your head up. 
  3. Push off the front foot, bringing it back under the body to return to the starting position.

20. Reverse Hyper

Muscles Worked

Glutes

Equipment Needed

Reverse Hyper Machine

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The Reverse Hyper strengthens the glutes and the spinal erectors, which helps with stabilization and glute strength.

Performance Tips

Start with your body weight and slowly add weight as you get stronger.

How To Do It

  1. Lie with the top half of your body over a flat pad. From the waist down, your legs should hang off the machine. Secure a weight strap around your ankles and grasp the handles.
  2. Squeeze the handles and raise the legs until they are horizontal to the floor or as high as possible.
  3. Lower your legs slowly to return to the starting position with control.

21. Good Morning

Muscles Worked

Erector spinae, gluteus maximus, hamstrings

Equipment Needed

Barbell

Why It’s a Great Alternative

This exercise is one of the best for strengthening the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings.

Performance Tips

Start with just the bar and gradually increase weight as you get stronger. Do not round your back.

How To Do It

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Rest a barbell across your trapezius on the posterior deltoids.
  2. With your knees slightly bent, bend forward at the waist and push the hips back until your torso is parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight. 
  3. Straighten your torso to return to the start position.

22. Step Up

Muscles Worked

Glutes, quadriceps, calves

Equipment Needed

18-24 inch box

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The step up is a bodyweight exercise that is easily accessible and that can be done at home. As well as it strengthening the glutes and legs, it is also a good calorie burner.

Performance Tips

Perform your reps in a  smooth, fluid manner.

How To Do It

  1. Stand in front of the box. Step up onto the box with your right foot and then your left foot.
  2. Step down with your right foot first.

23. Goblet Squat

Muscles Worked

Quadriceps, glutes, calves, spinal erectors

Equipment Needed

Kettlebell

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The goblet squat will strengthen the glutes, core, and stabilizers.

Performance Tips

Do not let the knees cave inward. Keep your chest up and back flat through the movement.

How To Do It

  1. Standing tall, feet shoulder width apart, grab the ring of a kettlebell and hold it at chest height.
  2. Begin the movement by flexing at the hips and knees at the same time time, keeping your feet flat and your chest and shoulders upright.
  3. Continue downward until the top part of your hips are below the top part of your knees.
  4. Return to the start position by pushing your feet into the floor and your knees out, keeping the kettlebell close to the your body.

Conclusion     

Strengthening your glutes will do wonders for your overall strength level. It will also allow you to shape and build your butt.

The 23 exercises we have laid out in this article will allow for infinite variety when you train your glutes.

Make use of them by selecting 2 or 3 exercises for each workout, for 3-4 sets each. Perform your glute workouts just once every 5 days to provide them enough time to recover. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What makes a good barbell hip thrust alternative?

A good barbell hip thrust alternative will allow for a full range of motion of the gluteus maximus without putting compressive strain on the lower back. It should also allow for progressive resistance. 

How many glute bridges should I do a day?

You should do your glute exercises once every 5 days. Perform a total of 10-12 sets with reps ranging between 10 with heavier resistance and 30 with lighter resistance.

Are glute bridges better than squats?

That depends on what your training goals is. If you are wanting to work your glutes, then a barbell glute bridge will more effectively target the glutes than squats. For overall leg development and strength, however, barbell squats is the better option.

Steve Theunissen

Steve Theunissen is a former gym owner and personal trainer based in Tauranga, New Zealand. He is the author of six hardcopy books and more than a hundred ebooks on the topics of bodybuilding, fitness, and fat loss.

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