Glute Bridge Progressions

Build smart glutes with these simple but effective Glute Bridge Progression Exercises.  The key to the glute bridge is taking the time to turn ON the glutes and turn OFF the hamstrings and quads so that they are not allowed to take over.  Begin with a set of 'glute activations' where you practice contracting and relaxing your glutes- squeezing and releasing your cheeks, with your hips still on the floor.  Imagine you are holding a coin between your cheeks.  Then, once you have control and activation, you may move on to the first level of the Glute Bridge Progressions.  Take the time to active your glutes before each and every repetition to ensure you are building smart muscles and a strong mind body connection.  Start with 10 repetitions and build up to 20...then you are ready to move up to the next level!  Back to 10 reps...build to 20...move up to the next level and so on.  Complete Glute bridge exercises daily or every other day 1-3 sets per day, until you are able to reach the top levels.

Level 1: Activation- turn on and off by contracting and relaxing the glutes (see above).

Level 2: Lifts - complete repeats, re-activating with each rep.  Tuck tailbone under at the top of the lift (posterior pelvic tilt) to ensure a full range of motion glute contraction.  Alternate regular bridge lifts and 'frog pump' lifts to find greater activation and muscle fibre variety.

Level 3: Hold (not shown). Once you can perform 20 lifts with a good strong contraction, work on your stamina, by holding the bridge at the top for up to 30-60 seconds.

Level 4: Shift (not shown).  Once you have the stamina, work on shifting your weight to one leg, bit by bit, while still maintaining a strong gluteal contraction.  Shift weight to one side, holding for 2-3 seconds, reset in the centre, then switch sides.  Do not let your hips drop or shift to the side.  And do not let your hamstrings, back or quads take over.  Over time, you will be able to shift more of your weight, until you can hold all of your weight on one leg, with a strong glute connection.  Then...

Level 5: Single Leg Repeats.  Take those glute smarts and stamina and build it into strength with these single leg bridges.

Level 6: Band Resisted Glute Bridges.  You are ready to build those glutes with resistance!  Use a band or a barbell (with padding for your hips) and increase the intensity of your glute work to move to the top levels of hip extension strength.

Push Up Variations

Progress beyond basic push ups and keep your routine interesting with these challenging variations.  Push ups are an excellent upper body strength and core stability exercise, that you can do anywhere, without any equipment.  If you are struggling to complete full push ups from your feet, start with the first variation in this video- half knee push ups- and you will see your strength increase quickly!  To improve your push up strength and stamina, complete 1-2 variations, 3 days per week 10-20 repetitions.  Train smart, work hard, get strong! 

ABC Running Drills

Practice your ABC's a few times a week during your runs to improve your technique, neuromuscular co-ordination and efficiency so that you can run faster and further without fatigue!  Start slowly, until you develop smooth technique so that your body can learn the patterns first.  Speed will come! Work at a pace that allows for excellent technique- you get what you practice;)  Have fun!

Perform 2-3 days per week, 10-20metres, 2-3 sets.

Instructions:  Warm up thoroughly to ensure your tissues and nervous system are ready to roll.  Stand tall, stay relaxed but sharp, look ahead and aim to keep good postural alignment throughout- ears over hips over knees over balls of feet.  

A's: All Drives.  Drive one arm backwards while driving the opposing knee forwards, pushing off the ball of the foot with a controlled skipping action.  Keys: Push off ball of foot, drive knee forward, drive elbow back and down, lead with hips and look ahead.  

B's: Shin Tucks (Don't Kick your Butt Kicks).  Lift your heels behind you to bring your shins parallel or slightly higher, landing on the balls of your feet and driving arms backward.  Lean forward from the ankles slightly to create a feeling of 'falling' forward. No need to 'kick your butt', unless you are a short distance/sprinter training this range.  

Cs: Circle or Wheeling Drill.  Start by mastering smooth technique in the stationary position.  Practice in front of a mirror to ensure you aren't missing any spots in the Circle.  Stand tall and do not let hips drop or torso flex laterally- stand tall, lifting out of the standing foot.  Make a complete circle with your foot, moving through the entire running gait pattern.  Shin tucks up, knee drives forward, shin whips out (toes up), leg paws back and then begin again.  Progress to Walking and then Skipping levels.  Technique first- then more advanced levels, then speed.  Think 'smooth and relaxed'.