Booty bands and bridges are synonymous with each other. Realizing a dream of perfect booty shape is incomplete without a bridge workout.
Unless you understand the deeper muscles working behind bridges, it is impossible to get the results you want from bridges and any other exercise.
So, I am going to dwell a bit deeper into the activated muscles in banded bridge workout. Some unique variations of bridge workout with resistance bands will also follow up, which engages new muscle groups.
So, how do you correctly perform bridges with resistance bands? If you have power loop bands, wrap one such flat band over the hip while pressing the loop ends against the floor with both hands. Now, squeeze your abdominal muscles and lift the pelvis using glute power against the resistance of loop bands. Make sure that you are not over engaging hamstrings and back muscles to lift the body. Stop when hips are in line with the spine and knees. Hold for a few seconds and come back slowly while breathing out.
Follow with me as I go a bit deeper into the bridges and its form to help you achieve an ideal booty faster.
❝ Hi, I am Ravi, your companion and a passionate fitness athlete, cyclist, runner, gym enthusiast who just loves the concept of resistance bands for their extreme flexibility. I have been using resistance bands as one of my primary fitness equipment for the last many years ❞
What are the muscles involved in the banded bridge exercise?
The bridge is famous for glutes/hip strengthening. This information is supposed to be enough for most of the folks. Such superficial knowledge is the root cause of the wrong technique and insufficient engagement of the primary muscle groups.
In precise terms, the glute muscles are the group of three different muscles as under-
a) Gluteus minimus muscles –
The gluteus minimus muscles are the muscles that reside deep inside the hip. They originate from the pelvis bone and ends at the thigh bone (femur).
If we look at our body from the front side, they are more visible than the other two glute muscles. When these muscles contract, they pull the thigh bone internally.
➤ In short, these muscles are responsible for internal rotation of the hip joint.
b) Gluteus medius muscles –
As the name suggests, these hip muscles lie in between the gluteus minimus and gluteus maximus (I will explain it in a while). These muscles cover the gluteus minimus muscles.
If we stand straight and look at yourself from the front, the gluteus muscles are on the side of the hip.
They originate from the pelvis bone and terminates at the side of the femur ( thigh bone)
➤ When these muscles contract, they pull the thigh bone towards its side ( not in front). Such a movement of legs is technically referred to as leg abduction.
c) Gluteus maximus muscles –
The gluteus maximus muscles cover the most significant area of the booty.
If we look at our body from behind, the gluteus maximus muscles cover the complete backside of the hip and also some part of the sides.
Similar to other glute muscles, the gluteus maximus muscles originate from the pelvis bone ( a much larger area) and end at the thigh bone (femur).
➤ Due to their position and circumference, when these muscles contract (reduction in length), they pull on the thigh bone towards the back. They are also responsible for the outward rotation of the upper leg.
How do glute muscles work during resistance band bridges, and which muscle is most engaged?
When we raise our body in bridge posture, just observe the thighs’ movement in comparison to the hip. Try to guess the glute muscle, which is contracting (reduction in length) the most.
As I explained earlier, the gluteus maximus muscles cover the entire backside of the hips. Thus, the upward movement of the hip in banded bridges is possible only due to the engagement of gluteus maximus muscles.
The other glute muscles only act as stabilizing muscles to counterbalance the other forces generated during bridge exercise.
✎ NOTE –
Other muscle groups are also engaged isometrically (without a change in length) to keep the back, knees, thighs firm in their position. The main muscles which complement the gluteus maximus muscles are back muscles (spinal erectors), hamstrings, abdominal muscles (transverse abdominus – deep abdominal muscles).
How do I correctly perform resistance band assisted bridges?
The power loop resistance bands (which are also popular as flat bands) are the most suited resistance bands for the above exercise.
Let us learn the exact procedure for doing bridges with power loop resistance bands.
a) Bridges with power loop resistance bands –
I. Lay down on the floor. Keep your feet hip-width apart.
II. Wrap a power loop resistance band around the hip area ( not waist) while holding the other loop ends pressed with both hands against the floor.
III. Raise the body from the middle while facing towards the ceiling against the resistance of the flat band.
✎ NOTE – Press the abdominal muscles (inner transverse abdominal muscles) towards the spine while lifting the body and breathe out.
? Useful Tip –
Three muscle groups can assist you in raising the body upwards while raising the hip from the ground. 1. Back muscles 2. Glute muscles (gluteus maximus) 3. Hamstrings (muscles behind the thigh).
Since this exercise is all about glutes, while raising the body upwards, focus entirely on the glute muscles just behind the hip. As soon as your brain engages with butts, the contribution of other muscle groups starts subsidizing. Feel the maximum burn in the hip rather than other body parts. It is what we want from bridges.
IV. Raise the hip until it is in line with the knees and shoulders. The upper legs should make a 90-degree angle with the lower limbs.
VHold the body in this position for 2 to 4 seconds and feel the squeezed gluteus maximus muscles.
VI. Now, lower the hip until it is slightly above the ground without touching it. The beginners can let the hip momentarily rest on the ground between the repetitions.
VII. Repeat the above steps for 10 to 15 repetitions. Do 3 to 4 sets of the above exercise.
b) Bridges with booty bands –
MUSCLES TARGETTED – Gluteus maximus, Gluteus medius
The booty bands or hip circle bands do not behave like the power loop bands during bridge workout.
The booty bands are wrapped just below the knees (for more range of motion) or just above the knees.
The procedure for bridge workout remains the same while using booty bands.
? So, what is the difference in bridges when using booty bands?
Here, as usual, the gluteus maximus muscles are preliminarily engaged. They lift the hip upwards with no role to play by the booty band in the vertical movement of the hip.
The booty band tries to pull the knees towards each other. However, we have to keep the knees hip-width apart to maintain the bridge posture.
The body needs to engage the gluteus medius ( the glute muscles on the sides of the hip). These muscles act isometrically without a change in length to keep knees separated from each other.
➤ In short, the booty bands let you engage additional hip abductors (gluteus medius) in addition to the gluteus maximus. It is a great way to get maximum output from the same conventional bridge workout.
Unique variations of banded bridges –
Here are some of the unique variations to improvise the primary bridges and make them more productive –
a) Banded bridges using booty bands and power loop bands together –
MUSCLES ACTIVATED – Gluteus maximus, Gluteus Medius
Isn’t it a great idea to add a power loop resistance band over the hip in addition to the booty bands (around the knees) and maximize the burn in the hip area.
b) Resistance band bridges with clamshells ( hip abduction) –
MUSCLES ACTIVATED – Gluteus maximus, Gluteus medius (hip abductor)
This exercise is an improvisation of the previous method. Here, all the steps for performing banded bridges using the booty band and power loop band are the same.
The only exception here is in the external rotation of the hip along with hip abduction (sideways rotation) in the topmost position. This movement of knees moving away from each other is similar to the clamshell exercise.
? If you are interested in learning the common mistakes and muscles behind resistance band assisted clamshells for all levels, here is one such fantastic article I made – Doing Resistance Band Clam-shell A Right Way – Mistakes, Variations
This new movement of knees at the top position of bridge exercise causes extra pressure over the frontal portion of gluteus maximus along with activation of gluteus medius muscle.
c) Single leg bridges with resistance bands –
MUSCLES ACTIVATED – Hip abductors – Gluteus maximus, Gluteus medius, Adductor longus (hip adductors), Gluteus Minimus (hip internal rotators) and tensor fascia with IT band
Here, we keep only one foot grounded over the floor while the other leg remains inline with the torso in the air.
The biggest challenge for the body here is to maintain the other half of the hip (whose leg is in the air) at the level of another half of the pelvis from the waistline.
➤ The body has to engage additional muscle groups such as hip adductors, IT band, and the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius ( hip abductors).
Adding a power loop band and booty band to the single leg bridge activates the muscles to an extreme level while activating numerous stabilizing muscles as detailed above.
? PRO-TIP –
If you carefully observe the above single leg bridge workout, there are a bunch of different stabilizing muscles that activate all of a sudden. Here is an important take away from this method –
Most of the gym exercises such as leg extension, hamstring curls, biceps curl, etc. only engage single muscle at a time. Such practice creates imbalances around the joints.
Always add single-leg workouts where ever possible to strengthen balancing muscles. The compound exercises, such as bridges, are also beneficial for engaging multiple joints at the same time.
d) Banded bridges with hip flexion –
MUSCLES ACTIVATED – Hip flexors ( psoas and iliacus muscles), hip abductors ( gluteus maximus, medius), Hip internal rotators (gluteus minimus), Hip abductors (adductor longus), tensor fascia (IT band).
This exercise is improvisation to the single-leg bridges. Here we flex our hip joint at the top position with the straight leg.
For newbies, the flexion of the hip refers to the movement of thigh bone towards the pelvis.
This movement requires the hip flexors to contract.
? What are hip flexors?
For readers who don’t know much about the hip flexors, these are a pair of muscles that originate from the front side of the hip, lower spine, and ends at the femur (thigh bone). When they contract, these flexors pull the thigh bone towards the pelvis.
The rectus femoris (front quadriceps muscle) also assists the hip flexors in flexing the hip joint.
People who suffer from the weak hip flexors can flex the hip at the top position during bridges to strengthen them along with glute abductors, adductors, and IT band.
? Here is a resistance band assisted sit-up exercise I explained in this article – Correct Ways To Do Sit-Ups With Resistance Bands – Assisted | Resisted
I have provided more insights into the working of the hip flexor muscles with live examples of sit-ups.
➤ Here are some of the other resistance band exercises I explained similarly for your reference, please –
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