Hamstring Dominant Glute Bridge
If you have already seen the post or video on “How to Perform the Glute Bridge”, then you’ll notice there are a lot of similarties with the “Hamstring Dominant Glute Bridge”. However, their are a few subtle differences in the “Hamstring Dominant Glute Bridge” that makes it an effect hamstring exercise, when compared to the traditional glute bridge.
Firstly, before I begin explaining how to perform the exercise, I want to mention the importance of the hamstrings. The hamstrings are primarily responsible for two important functions; knee flexion and hip extension. Both of which are important in daily movement and sport specific scenarios. However, their is another important function that often goes unnoticied and that is the importance of the hamstrings as an eccentric stabilizer for the knee. When you think of a situation were your running or taking a stride, your hamstrings become activated and provide stability to your knee. Ultimately, if their is a lack of stabailization or weakness within the knee, it could potentially lead to problems around the knee. Also, it is important to note that the hamstrings provide stability to not only the knee, but also the SI joint as well. The hamstrings work in conjunction with glute max, which we described a bit in my previous post (“How to Perform the Glute Bridge”, to provide stability to the SI joint. If at any time the hamstrings are dysfunctional or they are not working in accordance with the glutes, SI joint problems could potentially arise over time if the issues aren’t fixed. Therefore, these are some important functions of the hamstrings and now in this post I’m going to describe in detail an effective exercise that can be used to develop the hamstrings, specifically the stabilizers.
To begin performing the “Hamstring Dominant Glute Bridge”, your going to assume the supine position with your knees flexed.
Now, as you can see in the above photo, my feet are pointed upwards. The primary reason your going to want to do this is because it allows for an easier and more efficient way to activate the hamstrings. Now, once you place your feet upwards your going to want to push your heels in the ground. By pushing your heels into the ground, you should feel your hamstrings turn on and activate. Note: You only want to push your heels into the ground to create about 50% tension in the hamstrings. You don’t want to push your heels into the ground at 100% force, as this will place a high amount of stress onto the knee, which overtime could cause problems. Therefore, when keeping the feet pointed upwards, make sure the hamstrings are at about 50% tension, as opposed to 100%. You can palpate your hamstrings to feel for tension or if you feel any discomfort in the knee, this may mean your creating to much tension.
Now, after this position is assumed, it’s important to focus on slightly bracing the ‘core’. By slightly bracing the core, your ensuring proper stability and spinal positioning of the spine. To explain this in more detail, think of stiffening your elbow maximally when you flex your bicep in the mirror (which we have all done at some point ;)). From there take that stiffness down about 75% and apply it the abdominals and lats. Also, keep a slight depression in your shoulders to fully engage the core. Ultimately, this will ensure proper tension throughout the spine and allow for efficient stability throughout the exercise. Lastly, right before your about to raise your hips off the ground, make sure the hamstrings are engaged by pushing your heels in the ground.
In the above photo, we now see the hips coming off the ground and the action of hip extension. From here, some key things to focus on would be to maintain tension in the hamstrings without going into ‘hyperextension’. Focus on maintaining a neutral alignment with the knees, hips, and shoulders, which the green line indicates.
Now, as you can see in the above photo ‘hyperextension’ is occurring and this is something we want to avoid. The primary reason we want to avoid ‘hyperextension’ in the glute bridge is because it forces the lower back into an extension based position. And if we continuously force our back into an extension based position, especially if we start adding load to an exercise, this could become very problematic overtime. Ultimately, when training people, whether that’s an individual with back problems or an athlete, we want to keep exercises as safe as possible and this one way to ensure the glute bridge specifically is performed safely.
Therefore, to sum this post up, the hamstring glute bridge is a great exercise for strengthening and activating the hamstrings. Just keep in mind to avoid hypextension and focus on creating about 50% tension in your hamstrings 🙂