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How to Build a Better Butt

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This week on TECHNIQUEWOD we’re talking about barbell glute-bridges, a very effective and simple exercise that you really should be doing.

The movement starts on the ground. Lay down flat on your back with a barbell over your waist. Flex at the knee and bring your heels towards your butt. Find a foot position that is comfortable and feels strong.

To perform the bridge, drive your heels into the ground and extend your hips fully. Pause at the top and squeeze your butt hard, then lower the barbell under control.

Camille @camcoxter with another PR on the hip thrust with 335 lbs

A video posted by Bret Contreras (@bretcontreras1) on

Why you should bridge

Quadriceps dominance and relative weakness in the hamstrings and glutes is pretty common in athletes. Fixing it improves performance and safety during pretty much every movement.

Do you have trouble locking out your deadlifts? Do your knees dive inward when you squat heavy? Do you have a flat ass and big thighs? This exercise could really help you. In fact, spending more time training terminal hip extension and just beyond is one of the highest value things you could possibly do with your gym time.

This movement is also great if you ever get an injury or pain that keeps you off the platform – Bridges are a great way to maintain strength while you heal.

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If you cannot keep those knees out, work on your glute strength.

Movement progression

Start here…

  1. During your warm-ups, just stand and squeeze your ass together a few times. Make sure that your hips can extended fully. Any tightness in the front of your hips could pull you into flexion and limit glute contraction, so mobilize the hip flexors. The couch stretch is an easy option.
  2. Perform a few repetitions with your bodyweight only, no barbell. Again, drive through your heels. Hold the reps at the top and squeeze hard. Keep the ribs down, you don’t want to hyper-extend your spine.
  3. Next, try a few reps with just one foot. That’s much tougher so make sure you’re achieving full extension.
  4. Once your are fully comfortable and function, you’re ready to bridge heavy. Obviously you can use a barbell loaded with standard plates, but any kind of load will do. For example, sandbags or kettlebells work great for this exercise.


Programming notes

If you want to work glue bridges into your training, just include them after your primary strength work. About 2-4 sets of 8-20 repetitions works very well. Just avoid this movement if you plan on performing a tough WOD right after. The last thing you want is for your knees to dive in while you have a barbell overhead.

If you have any training questions, just leave them in the comments below. We’d love to help.

Move well,


Doug Larson


  • I’m a skier and the area around my patella has been sore since adding squats to my weekly routine, not sure why I’ve waited so long to, but that’s another story. Should I be stretching my hip flexors better?

    • Be careful. If you’re knees are always forward and taking a pounding with high volume ski training, then you squat in a similar way, you’ll have problems. I would try box squatting, maybe. Go a little wider. Sit a little further back. Will feel great on the knees.

  • What about those who are hamstring/glute dominant? is it just to squat? My quads are for sure a weak point in my squat related movements and make for 90% of the soreness I ever have being in my quads for the first 6″ above the knee. I feel like my quads are holding me back…

  • Thanks for another great techniqueWOD! Now I have another movement that I can perform while rehabbing my rotator cuffs. BTW, great shot of dog pooping at 8:29.

  • Hi guys,

    Every time i do glute bridges i get cramped (hamstring) and i feel i do not activate my left side well. Any thoughts?

    P.S: Greetings from Colombia.

  • I love utilizing single leg and unweighted bridges in my glute activation/warm ups!

    How many times a week would you suggest implementing this into training? Is one time a week sufficient if going heavy?

  • I’m Totally that person with the flat bum… I love the info. & I loo forward to implementing this more so in my training ..would you suggest I do them daily or more like 3 times a week?

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