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8 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Bridges Every Day

8 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Bridges Every Day

It’s pretty obvious 2015 is the year of the butt in fitness. Glutes have become the “it” muscles of the minute. They’re so popular they’ve even started the butt selfie (belfie) trend. So butts are everywhere in fitness today and for good reason. I would argue that the glutes may be the most important muscle group in the body. Unfortunately, in our sedentary society, we spend much of the day sitting on our butts instead of using them. This has lead to an an epidemic of flat, flaccid, underused glutes.

Many of the forms of exercise we engage in don’t really do a very good job of training the glutes well. Good thing is, it doesn’t need to be that way. Bridges are a great exercise that you can do everyday to learn how to activate the glutes. When done correctly bridges teach core control, hip control, how to deactivate the hamstrings and maybe most importantly fire up the glutes. Here are some of the amazing things that happen when you start doing bridges everyday.

1. You’ll Say Goodbye to Back Pain.

A weak and under-active butt is a prescription for low back pain. As we live in our sedentary, mostly seated, modern lifestyle our glutes don’t get used much. This results in other muscles like the spinal errectors and hamstrings taking over the job that the glutes are meant for. This process of the glutes becoming less active has been termed “Gluteal Amnesia.” The result of Gluteal Amnesia is often too much movement and loading at the lower back instead of the hips. This has been show to one of the primary causes in the development of low back pain.

Doing bridges everyday (especially after prolonged sitting) will help to “wake up” the glutes and reset the pelvis. This helps the body to remember to use the hips (glutes) to create movement instead of the more fragile lumbar spine.

2. You’re Knee Pain Will Magically Disappear.

One of the primary reasons for knee pain is a lack of control of the upper leg bone, the femur. This lack of femural control can include the femur sliding forward, internally rotating, or collapsing towards the midline of the body (valgus movement). All of these movements, if allowed to occur chronically are associated with knee pain. The glutes play a major role in controlling the femur at the hip joint which will have an effect on how the other bones of the knee joint join together and move.

Bridges, especially of the single leg variety, can help train the femur to stay in line with the knee and toes, avoiding potentially damaging knee movements.

3. Your 5K Time Will Improve.

One of the primary movement functions of the glutes is hip extension. Driving the leg behind you. Many distance runners use a lot of quad and hamstring to run but very little glute. This can not only limit the length of their stride, but also where the foot hits the ground, the amount of force per foot strike and the stability of the pelvis. Improving your glute function, by doing bridges, will help to strengthen and improve all of these aspects of your running and you’ll only become faster and more efficient.

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4. You’ll Stand Up Taller.

Posture is king. We can go to the gym and work out hard for an hour a day but if you spend the other 24 hours of your day slumped over you’re not undoing your chronically awful posture in 60 minutes. The glutes are literally the kingpin of movement. Without glutes that are active and strong the pelvic bowel can not sit properly. This means all the muscles above and below the pelvis, like the core, can’t perform optimally and the body will have to compensate. This compensation usually comes in the form of bad, hang off the low back or slumped forward posture.

Doing bridges will help to teach you not only how to strengthen the glutes so the pelvis sits correctly but also what a neutral spine feels like.

5. Your Boyfriend/ Girlfriend Will Thank You.

Guys and girls agree: a firm, round, butt. The kind that sits high on the hamstrings is considered almost universally to be sexually appealing. And it’s been that way since, well, since forever…

“You’re drawn to a woman’s heinie for the same reason you’re attracted to her breasts, hips, and a little waist: because those traits would have been indicators of fertility to your ancient ancestors.” – David Buss Ph.D.

And women, don’t differ in this opinion. Ask Men did a poll of 100 women and found that they too preferred a tight, muscular, rear. Ranking the butt as the number 1 male body part that “turns them on the most.”

Once you’ve been doing bridges everyday don’t be surprised if your significant other takes notice of your improved posterior and start greeting you with butt grabs instead of hugs.

6. You’ll Finally be Happy With How Your Jeans Fit.

Women are generally not satisfied with how their jeans fit and end up settling more often than not. No more having to search everywhere for a pair of jeans that “fits right” or just “looks ok.” Having a shapely rear will instantly upgrade any pair of jeans. Now, keep in mind that once you add some shape and size to your glutes from bridging everyday you might end up with the dreaded #fitgirl, #fitguy problem of larger than “normal” glutes for the waist cut of the jeans. That creates a “problem” in itself….

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But isn’t that a good problem to have?

7. You’ll Be Setting Squat and Deadlift Personal Records.

The squat and deadlift are often seen as “leg” exercises and they do work the legs really well. But ask any experienced lifter and they’ll be quick to point out that they are really hip (glute) exercises that also involve the other leg muscles. To squat and deadlift safely and effectively it’s important that the glutes are active and strong. Inactive/ weak glutes that are not creating enough hip tension (external rotation and extension) are some of the most common problems I see in trainees. Glutes that don’t fire can decrease the depth of your squat because the hip and core are not working together effectively.  Allow the knees to collapse in because of a lack of external rotation at the femur, straining the knee joint. And putting excess strain on the low back muscles if the pelvis tucks under.

One of the great things about doing bridges everyday is that there are so many variations of bridges they can be programmed as both glute activation and glute strengthening exercises depending on your focus that day. Doing bridges everyday will help your glutes catch up to your quads and hamstrings making your squats and deadlift form and weights improve quickly.

8. Your Driver will Become Your Best Club.

Golfers tend to focus a lot on the “core,” which is important. But if you’re after a more powerful and consistent swing you need strong glutes to help generate force and stabilize the pelvis so you can stay in the correct posture through the swing.

“If power must generate from the ground upward, the ability to properly transfer through a strong torso position into the arms and club, lies in the strength and correct function of the glutes.” –Meredith Parker, TPI 

A recent study done on high versus low handicap golfers came to this conclusion:

“Golfers with a low handicap are more likely to have increased pelvis rotation speed as well as increased gluteus maximus and medius strength when compared to high handicap golfers.” –Callaway, Glaws et al.

Once you begin doing bridges everyday, not only will your golf buddies envy how your posterior looks, they’ll envy how much your long game has improved.

Bridges really are a great exercise because they’re as versatile as they are effective. Here are some bridge variations that you can progress in difficulty and focus as you improve.

Glute Bridge:

glute bridge

    The two legged bridge is the simplest of the bridge variations. This bridges starts lying on the floor with your knees brought up about half way and shoulder width apart. Keeping the rib cage down, in line with the abs, focus on squeezing the glutes very hard, pressing the heels through the floor and pressing the hips up until the hips are fully extended. At the very top you should concentrate on really squeezing the glutes for a full second before lowering smoothly to the floor. Some of the keys to doing bridges effectively are really focusing on using the glutes and shutting down the hamstrings. Also be sure not to allow the pelvis to shift out of neutral or the rib cage to “pop up.” When done correctly the there should be a straight “unbroken” line from the shoulders through the hips and knees.

    You should start with just body weight but this movement can be brutally effective when loaded up with a barbell across the hips. Just make sure you have some padding for the bar.

    Single Leg Glute Bridge:

    single leg glute bridge

      Once the two leg version becomes too easy you can switch to this variation. Too easy means you can stay in perfect form, the hamstrings never fire, the ribs never come up and the glutes drive the movement achieving full hip extension (lockout) on each rep. This version is exactly the same except one foot is off the ground. Being on one foot doesn’t just increase the difficulty of the movement up and down (hip extension) but also the external rotation (knee collapsing to the mid-line) challenge. Make sure the toes, ankle, knee and hip always stay in a straight line.

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      Glute Bridge External Rotations:

      Holding the top of a glute bridge while pressing the knees out on the band will work the glutes in external rotation and extension. Done correctly this will absolutely set your butt on fire.

      The key to this type of bridge is to maintain full hip extension, even when pushing out on the band. The hips should never fall. Push out on the band as far as you can (maintaining hip lockout) once there allow the knees to come back to the start position and then press out again. Be smooth and deliberate to make sure you maintain maximal tension on the glutes the whole time.

      Shoulders Elevated Glute Bridge (Hip Thrust):

      This exercise, more commonly known as the hip thrust, has become one of the go to exercises for glute development. This is essentially a bridge with a much larger range of motion and a higher hip extension demand. For this bridge you want your shoulders on a stable surface (bench, box, even chair). Set your feet up so that your shins are vertical when you’re at the very top of the movement. The rib cage should stay down in line with the abs and you should focus on hinging through the hips.

      Make sure you’re foot pressure is always in the heels, never in the toes and at the finish you achieve full hip lockout. That will result in the best glute activation and development. This movement should be mastered with just body weight before progressing by adding a barbell or band across the hips.

      Tip: Keep the chin “tucked,” down to the chest. While this isn’t a neutral position for the cervical spine, keeping the chin down or even looking at the hip joint helps most people keep the rib cage down “on the abs” at the top of the movement.

      Shoulders Elevated Single Leg Glute Bridge

      The single leg hip thrust is a fairly advanced variation. It’s performed exactly like the traditional hip thrust but with only a single leg at a time. This exercise is MUCH more difficult than the two leg version. You can add a dumbbell on the working leg, barbell or even a mini-band just above the knees to increase the difficulty.

      Tip: Take the nonworking leg and bend it at the knee. At the top of the movement the knee should be pointing at the ceiling, squeeze your glute as hard as possible and think about driving the knee of the nonworking leg up to the ceiling.

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      Start with the simplest version and progress as you master the movement. Don’t be afraid to add weight, band tension or range of motion to the movements as long as the quality of the movement stays high. You’re probably not going to build the firmness or roundness you want your butt to have if you’re simply using only your body weight and staying light all the time. Your muscles need to be exposed to progressively higher loads to grow and take shape. That said, don’t let your ego get the better of you. Keep the movement quality high and focus on getting the best, most intense, contraction in the glutes you possibly can.

      Once you start doing bridges everyday, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your glutes improve and the amazing things that will happen once your butt is actually turned on and active through the day.

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      Last Updated on November 18, 2020

      50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn

      50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn

      If you’re like me and really into self-development, you’ve probably read many of the thousands of self-help books out there on the market. But also like me, you probably find all the information a bit overwhelming.

      That’s why I wanted to do the self-less task of taking the most important, life-changing lessons I’ve drawn from these books and condensed them into 50 key points.

      Here’re 50 habits of successful people you should learn:

      1. Believe It to See It

      Our minds tend to focus on what’s happening around us and refuse to see what could happen. Only when you trust in what’s possible and dare to dream big, big things can happen for you.

      2. See Problems as a Wonderful Gift

      While others only see problems and give up, successful people use the problem as a lesson to find improvement in themselves or the task at hand.

      3. Keep Looking for Solutions

      Even if they’re knee-deep in problems, successful people will still put all of their focus on finding solutions.

      4. Remember It’s All About the Journey

      Successful people are conscious and methodical in creating their own success. They don’t sit around doing the bare minimum, hoping success finds them.

      5. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

      There’s so much fear on the road to success, but instead of letting that fear control and limit them, successful people do a good job of just forging ahead regardless.

      6. Always Ask Productive Questions

      It’s all about asking the right questions. Successful people make sure they are questions that will elicit information for a more productive, creative and positive mindset moving forward.

      7. Understand the Best Waste of Energy Is Complaining

      Successful people know that choosing to see the negative side of things will only create a useless and unproductive state.

      8. Don’t Play the Blame Game

      Taking responsibility for actions and outcomes is a form of empowerment that you can build your success upon. While the act of blaming others or outside circumstances takes this empowerment away from you.

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      9. Maximize Your Strengths

      Not every successful person is simply more talented than the rest, but they do use what they know they’re good at to achieve more successful results.

      10. Be in It to Win It

      Successful people are busy, productive and proactive. Instead of sitting around over-thinking and over-planning a great idea, they just take a step towards it no matter how small.

      11. Know That Success Attracts Success

      People who are successful surround themselves and seek out like-minded people. They understand the importance of being part of a team and forge win-win relationships.

      12. Actually Choose to Be Successful

      Dreaming big is a massive part of being successful even if your dream seems impossible. Ambition is a mindset that needs to be a daily conscious choice.

      13. Visualize, Visualize, Visualize!

      You’ve got to see your success in your mind’s eye even before it comes. Successful people clarify and get that certainty about what they want their reality to look like rather than being mere spectators of life.

      14. Be a One-Off Original

      Successful people look for what’s working and then create a unique spin on it. Imitating only regurgitates other people’s ideas with no originality.

      15. The Perfect Time to Act Is Now

      Waiting for the right time to act is basically procrastination wrapped up in an excuse. Successful people know there’s never a perfect time so they may as well just do it now.

      16. Keep Learning, Keep Growing

      Continuous learning is the key to a successful life. Whether it’s academic, being a student of life or actionable learning, it’s all about expanding your knowledge and personal development.

      17. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

      Successful people have the knack for finding positive aspects in all people and circumstances no matter what.

      18. Having a Bad Day? Do It Anyway!

      We all have bad moods but it shouldn’t be an excuse to stop everything. Giving into a bad mood just stop-starts your life, slowing success way down.

      19. Sometimes Risky Business Is Needed

      Calculated risks are a must for success. It’s about weighing the pros and cons while moving forward with that element of trust.

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      20. Accept Challenge All the Time

      Dealing with problems head-on is a must to be successful. Successful people also face challenges in order to improve themselves.

      21. Make Your Own Luck

      In the mindset of a successful person, there’s no such thing as ‘luck’ or ‘fate’. They take control to actively and consciously create their own best life.

      22. Ignite Your Initiative

      While many people are reactive, successful people are proactive – taking action before they have to.

      23. Be the Master of Your Emotions

      Being effective at managing emotions is key on the road to success. That’s not to say successful people don’t feel like we all do, but they’re just not slaves to their emotions.

      24. Champion in Communication

      Consciously working on effective communication skills gets anyone closer to success.

      25. Plan Your Life Strategically

      Successful people’s lives aren’t a clumsy series of unplanned events and outcomes, they methodically work at turning their plans into a reality.

      26. Become Exceptional at What You Do

      To become exceptional, you typically have to do things that most won’t. To become successful, hard decisions need to be made and acting on them is crucial.

      27. Choose to Live Outside of Your Comfort Zone

      While many people are pleasure junkies and avoid pain and discomfort at all costs, successful people understand the value and benefits of working through the tough stuff that most would avoid.

      28. Live by Core Values

      Successful people firstly identify their core values and what’s important to them, then do their best to live a life that reflects these values.

      29. Realize Money Isn’t Everything

      Money and success are not interchangeable and the most successful people understand this. Putting money on a pedestal and equating it to success is a dangerous mindset to have. Success comes in many forms.

      30. Don’t Get Carried Away

      Successful people understand the importance of discipline and self-control and as a result they are happy to take the road less travelled.

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      31. Self-Worth Is Not Tied to Success

      Successful people are secure. They do not derive their self-worth from what they own, who they know, where they live or what they look like.

      32. Kindness Breeds Kindness (And Success)

      Generosity and kindness is a common trait among long-term successful people. It’s important to take pleasure in helping others achieve.

      33. More Humility, Less Arrogance

      Successful people are humble and happy to admit and apologize for mistakes. This is because they’re confident in their ability. They are happy to learn from others and happy to make others look good rather than seek their own personal glory.

      34. Change Opens New Doors

      People who are successful are adaptable and embrace change, while the majority are creatures of comfort and habit. They are comfortable with, and embrace, the new and the unfamiliar.

      35. Success Requires a Healthy Body

      It’s not just how you think, it’s about how you show up for success. Successful people understand the importance of being physically well, not for vain reasons but because being in tiptop condition creates a better personal life for success.

      36. Laziness Just Doesn’t Exist

      Successful people are never considered lazy. Yes, they can relax when they need to, but working hard is their game.

      37. Resilience by the Bucket Load

      When difficulty strikes, most would throw in the towel, but successful people are just warming up.

      38. Feedback Is Just Another Chance to Improve

      How people react to feedback determines their potential for success. Being open to constructive criticism and acting on it to improve is most seen in those who are successful.

      39. Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

      If people are hanging out with toxic and negative people, then they need to take a look at themselves. Successful people hang out with others who are positive and supportive.

      40. Can’t Control It? Forget It

      Successful people don’t invest time or emotional energy into things which they have no control of.

      41. Swim Against the Tide

      Successful people are not people-pleasers and they don’t need constant approval from others in order to move ahead.

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      42. Alone Time Is Valuable Time

      More self-worth means being more comfortable with your own company. Successful people are more happy and see the value in spending time alone.

      43. Self-Standard Is Higher Than Most

      Everyone has a choice to set high standards for themselves. Successful people do this, which in turn produces greater commitment, more momentum, a better work ethic and of course, better results.

      44. Failure Isn’t Rationalized

      While many use age, health, lack of time, ‘bad luck’, or lack of opportunity to explain away their failure, the key to success is finding a way to succeed despite facing these challenges.

      45. Down Time Is an Important Part of a Routine

      Having an off switch and taking time to do things that make them happy is a common trait of a successful person. Take a look at here The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

      46. Career Isn’t Who You Are, It’s What You Do

      Successful people know their career isn’t their identity. They are multi-dimensional and don’t define themselves by their job.

      47. Be Interested in Only the Path of Resistance

      While most people look for the easiest way or the shortcut, successful people are more interested in the most effective way. They look for the course of action which will produce the best results over the long term.

      48. Follow Through

      Many spend their life starting things that they never finish, but successful people get the job done. Even when the excitement and the novelty has worn off they still follow through and finish.

      49. Invest in All Your Dimensions

      We’re not just physical and psychological beings, but emotional and spiritual creatures as well. Successful people consciously work at being healthy and productive on all levels.

      50. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

      To obtain success, it’s important to practice what you preach. Successful people don’t talk about the theory, they live the reality.

      So there you have it, a summary of what I’ve learned from self-help books. But of course, you need to start taking actions so you will get closer to success too.

      Bonus: 5 Bad Habits To Quit

      More About Success

      Featured photo credit: Juan Jose via unsplash.com

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