India, founder of Chukka Wellness has been a Personal Trainer for 7 years and regularly encounters people in the gym performing exercises incorrectly. This can inhibit not only progression in training but also increase the risk of injury later on in life.
Over the past couple of months, Chukka Wellness has been providing coaching points on common exercises that are usually found in the standard training program and that can easily be performed incorrectly. So far, we have focused on the Lunge, Push up and Plank technique!
This month we will be discussing the Glute Bridge as it is essential to have a strong posterior chain for polo in order to reduce the risk of back pain and gain more control in the saddle.
How to Perform the Perfect Glute Bridge
The main muscle groups used in the Glute Bridge are the glutes (obviously), core and hamstrings. These muscles are all engaged during ride offs and hooks when you need to lean away from the horse or stand up out of the saddle.
· Over-extension of the lower back
· Core is not engaged
· The movement is not performed in a controlled manner
· Feet are placed too far away from the hips
· Knees ‘wobble’ during the movement
Now let’s run through the correct coaching points.
1. Start on your back with your feet hip width apart and half a foot away from your hips. Ensure your knees are in line with your ankles at all times.
2. Engage your core and slowly lift the hips upwards, rolling the spine up one vertebra at a time.
3. Squeeze your hamstrings and glutes as you bring the hips up – stop just before over-extension of the lower back.
4. Pause at the top and then slowly roll the spine back down.
5. The hips should be the last thing to touch the ground.
6. Exhale on the way up, inhale on the way down.
*If you struggle with lower back pain, don’t take the hips too high – just enough to feel the glutes contract.
To monitor progression, see how long you can hold the top of the glute bridge for.
Re-test every 4 weeks!
You can also start to add dumbbells or a barbell into the exercise by resting them on your hip bones for added resistance.