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The always giving Pilates Glute Bridge

Updated: Apr 9

If there is one exercise I would do, or recommend that you do daily it's the pilates glute bridge. Just because it's basic and widely known doesn’t mean the glute bridge should shy away from the spotlight. When we talk about ’The Core’ people instantly think about the abdomen but building glute strength is essential for supporting the pelvis posteriorly (from the back). If you spend most of the day sedentary your glutes can become inactive, in addition to tightness at the front of the hips accumulating to that feeling of stiff lower back or pelvis.

Pilates Mat
Pilates Glute Bridge

In English Pilates (yes English Pilates, clients know us teachers all have different names for the same exercises) it’s referred to as Spine Curl. In Pilates we look for an articulation of the spine, beginning by tucking under the pelvis and rolling the hips up until the lowest edges of the shoulder blades are still on the mat. At the top it should feel like a hip sandwich - the glutes are pressing upwards and the lower abdomen downwards. Your feet and knees are hip bones distance, switching on the inner thighs which are our stabilisers whilst walking and running. The hip flexors are stretched by pulling the knees forward, the low back is supported by holding a deep scoop under of the pelvis, and the chest is wide by keeping the arms pressing in to the floor at the side of the body. I enjoy the Pilates glute bridge as it made me realise it's not just about lifting the hips to the ceiling but engaging every muscle of the body to move, much like a squat.

Pilates Mat Classes
Single Leg March

Many variations can be performed like single leg movements, which if done correctly are great for hip strength and spine support. The focus is to keep the body still and stable, when lifting a leg to tabletop you want your pelvis to remain level as if you were balancing two glasses of water on your hip bones. The torso should not be bobbing or rocking as you lift and lower the leg.

Reformer Pilates
Reformer Variation

If you want to get really fancy, you can lift the heel of the foot that’s on the floor challenging balance and the inner thighs.

In Reformer there are lots of exercises that work feet and ankle strength resulting in a solid foundation when you transition to bridge on the machine.

Glute bridge on the Reformer is fun as you get to glide the carriage out and in targeting the hamstrings. If you wanted to try this variation as home, in a bridge walk your feet 5 inches forward and flex the toes to the ceiling. It will give a similar activation to being on the Reformer. On the Reformer you stretch open the knees which is not something I’d say I savour, however it's good for my knees as it activates the glute medius as well as maximus helping to mitigate against knee pain.

Reformer Studio
Hamstrings On
Pilates Reformer St Albans
Mat Alternative

Whether you are on the mat, Reformer or towel in your garden try out a few pilates glute bridges and remember to keep everything engaged … and breath of course its Pilates

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