It can be more effective than glute bridges—and you can do them right at your desk.
By DANIELLE ZICKLJUL 29, 2019
- According to a new study published in PeerJ—the Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences, squeezing your glutes for 15 minutes a day can help increase your power, endurance, and strength.
- Doing glute squeezes each day can also help prevent injury.
- Glute squeezes are easy to add to your everyday routine, since you can do them anywhere: at work, while watching TV, during your commute, etc.
When it comes to strength training, your glutes are an important muscle group to work. Not only can having strong glutes help give you the power you need to run faster, but you’ll prevent injury as well.
And while glute bridges probably come to mind as one of the best exercises, new research out of Wichita State University suggests that there’s a more effective—and convenient—way to build muscle: gluteal squeezes.
Yep, simply squeezing your glutes. No weight required—or even the need to get up off your chair.
The eight-week study, published in PeerJ—the Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences, involved 32 participants who first had hip and glute girth and strength measurements taken. Then, they performed a vertical jump, broad jump, and timed single-leg bridges.
Next, they were randomly assigned to two groups: one performed gluteal squeezes for 15 minutes a day and the other performed bilateral bridges (a.k.a. glute bridges) for 15 minutes a day. Participants from each group could perform the exercises in either one 15-minute session or multiple times a day as long as their total time added up to 15 minutes.RELATED STORIESThis Glute Workout Will Help You Stay Injury FreeHow to Best Combine Strength Training and RunningNo, You Don’t Have to Lift Heavy to Get Stronger
To perform the gluteal squeezes, participants were instructed to sit up straight and squeeze their glutes as hard as they could for five seconds before relaxing and repeating. For proper form, they were instructed to sit with their hips and knees at a right angle, knees shoulder-width apart, and the insides of their feet together.
Researchers found that those who performed gluteal squeezes increased their hip extension—or glute—strength by 16 percent compared to an 11 percent increase in those who performed glute bridges. Gluteal girth also increased in the group who performed gluteal squeezes. Both groups saw about the same amount of improvement in their single-leg bridge endurance and jump power.
There are several possible reasons for these differences between each group, according to Bryan J. Lehecka, Ph.D., D.P.T., an associate professor in Wichita State University’s department of physical therapy. One is that while doing glute bridges, muscles other than your glutes—your hamstrings, for example—can sub in and do more work. With glute squeezes, the only possible muscles that can do the work are your glutes.
The second potential reason is that glute squeezes are simply more convenient, Lehecka told Runner’s World. Participants who performed glute squeezes were 13 percent more compliant with their exercises than participants who performed glute bridges.
“[This is] likely because squeezes can be weaved into daily activity so easily,” he said. “They can be done on a commute, in a classroom, on the couch, in a waiting room, at work, etc.”
[Blast through a series of HIIT sessions to boost running strength and prevent injury with the IronStrength Workout.]
Gluteal function in the form of jump power, endurance, and strength are incredibly important for athletes like runners, according to Lehecka.
“Deficits or relative weaknesses have been linked to patellofemoral pain—the most frequent running injury—ACL injury, low back pain, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, medial tibial stress syndrome, and more,” he said.
Gluteal power, endurance, and strength are the “cornerstones to performance,” as well.
“Good athletes use their legs,” Lehecka said. “Great athletes use their glutes.”DANIELLE ZICKL Associate Health & Fitness EditorDanielle specializes in interpreting and reporting the latest health research and also writes and edits in-depth service pieces about fitness, training, and nutrition.