In the first instalment of our lower body stabilisation series of exercise tutorials, we feature the Barbell Hip Bridge.
This exercise and it's progression, the Barbell Hip Thrust, are surrounded in a lot of controversy. Equally loved and hated by members of the strength coaching community, the Barbell Hip Bridge serves a very specific purpose and is possibly best used for beginners to strength training, or in a structural balance phase of training.
It's purpose is to safely and effectively overload the glutes in an isolated movement with a relatively short range of motion. The Hip bridge is a great exercise to teach new trainees how to properly and fully engage their glutes before progressing to heavier, more compound Hip extension exercises (i.e: deadlift and squat variations).
The key here is to really focus and squeeze the glutes at the top of the movement. One way to ensure full glute engagement is to use a small resistance band around the knees, and drive the knees out against the band through the entire movement.
Be sure to keep a neutral lumbar spine position, don't hyper-extend the lower back, and keep the abdominals braced hard as though you are bracing for a body shot. Drive the knees out hard against the resistance band, and drive the hips up as high as you are able while squeezing the glutes as hard as you can at the top of the movement. Create as much tension as you can through the resistance band, the glutes and the abdominals.
Special thanks to Unknown coach Nadia Piazza, Unknown sponsored BJJ athlete Cooper Burnham, and videographer Teresa McNair.