Even if you’ve never done a standard glute bridge or barbell hip thrust, a Kas glute bridge is a simple variation that targets the right areas.
A standard glute bridge is a great exercise that works your hamstrings, quads, and, yes, glutes while stretching your hip flexors. However, you can also do many variations of it, from single-leg to incline, depending on your goals.
If you want a booty you can bounce a quarter off of, the Kas glute bridge is one variation you may want to start doing on the regular.
Why? This exercise takes your quads out of the equation and isolates your glutes as the main hip extensors with slow, controlled movement.
The difference between a glute bridge and a Kas glute bridge is subtle, but subtlety is where you get some shape in that ba-donk-a-donk.
The Kas glute bridge primarily works your glutes — the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and gluteus maximus. All three of these muscles are essential for powering and stabilizing your body while you walk, run, jump, and stand.
Plus, a Kas glute bridge stretches your hip flexors and engages your abdominals as stabilizers to keep you from wobbling.
You can also get some quad activation the lower you dip into a Kas glute bridge. But because you’re trying to isolate your glutes, you don’t spend much time low enough to really work your quads.
A Kas glute bridge is more about hovering under weight than using momentum or thrust to do a standard glute bridge or barbell hip thrust and work your quads.
This move also engages your transverse abdominis — the deep core muscles of your lower abdomen. These muscles make up your body’s natural girdle, stabilizing your pelvis and spine. A Kas glute bridge will help train these muscles to keep your pelvis and spine in a neutral, inline position.
In a small 2016 study, people who were recovering from strokes performed traditional bridges, along with other exercises, to build balance, trunk function, and mobility. A Kas glute bridge uses similar muscles and movements to strengthen the body in a similar way.
This is a great way for beginners to learn the movement patterns of the deeper hip thrust. It’s also a good exercise for advanced lifters who want to isolate and work their glutes even harder.
The difference between a Kas glute bridge and a hip thrust comes down to the range of motion. In a hip thrust, you bring your glutes to the floor before returning to the horizontal position.
A standard hip thrust engages your hamstrings and quads as your knees move from a horizontal to a vertical position. It can also use explosive movement during the concentric portion of the lift. It’s an excellent power-building exercise.
A 2019 research review linked the hip thrust to better sprint times and hip extensor activation when compared to more conventional exercises.
The Kas glute bridge requires just an inch or two of controlled movement toward the floor. It does not involve momentum. It isolates your glutes and puts them under tension for a longer time than in a hip thrust.
If you DO feel your hamstrings activating (or even cramping, in some cases), that’s a sign that your hamstrings are trying to do most of the work because your glutes are on the weak side. Your hammies aren’t great hip extensors, which is why they’re cramping up. Too much hamstring activation can also indicate that your abs aren’t engaged.
Here are a few tips if you’re feeling your bridge or thrust in your hamstrings:
- Before starting, slightly (very slightly) roll your pelvis toward your chin.
- Activate your lower abs to stabilize your pelvis, which shouldn’t tilt in either direction.
- Focus on using your glutes to drive your hips up.
- Keep squeezing your glutes until your hips are at full extension, with your hip crease flat.
- When in the eccentric portion of the movement (downward), hinge from your hip.
- Make sure your knees are at a 90-degree angle at the top of the bridge and greater than a 90-degree angle when at the bottom. The bottom will be very slight when doing a Kas glute bridge.
- Keep your abs engaged throughout the movement.
As we mentioned earlier, the Kas glute bridge is basically a slower, less explosive twin of the hip thrust and more intense than a standard glute bridge. Still, some important tweaks can help you succeed at getting over this particular bridge.
- weight bench, step deck, or couch
- weight (barbell, heavier dumbbell, kettlebell) that you can hold at your hips (optional)
Start with the bottom of your rib cage lined up with the long edge of the weight bench. You will hinge and pivot from the point where your rib cage touches the weight bench. If you’re on the shorter side, a step deck might work better because it’s lower to the ground.
If you’re using a barbell or another weight, place it over your hip joint, using your hands to hold it steady. Tighten your glutes to bring your body in line from shoulders to knees. Your knees should be over your ankles, with your shins vertical. Your hips and knees should also be in line with one another.
Very slowly lower your hips by an inch or two. Then, slowly return them to the horizontal position so they are in line with your shoulders and knees.
Repeat this motion until you’ve completed 1 set of 10. Perform 3 sets total. As you get stronger, you can increase the weight OR the reps, depending on your goals.
Pro tip: Go s-l-o-w in a small range of motion. This isn’t an isometric move, but the movement should be tiny to isolate your glutes longer.
Keep your shins vertical as much as possible. As you bend your knees and your shins come out of the vertical position, you activate your quads. You want to leave them out of this one.
Injuries are never fun, but they are avoidable. Good form is always going to be key, especially when you’re working with weight-based exercises. Here are some form tips:
- Focus on keeping your movements controlled. The Kas glute bridge is all about subtle movements. A little too much one way or the other can result in muscle strain.
- Stay aligned. Keep your knees over your ankles and in line with your hips — because again, you want to make sure you’re targeting the right muscles and avoiding strain.
- Try it without weights the first time. Don’t max out the first time you try it. Gradually work your way up to a heavier weight and more reps.
- Keep your balance. Try not to put too much responsibility on one part of your body. Use your hands and arms to stabilize the weight that’s on your hips.
- Use your base as leverage. Try to use a bench or step deck that’s knee height. That will put you in a prime position to maintain proper form, with your knees over your ankles.
As the kind of exercise that both beginners and seasoned lifters can use to their advantage, the Kas glute bridge is excellent for targeting the glutes.
The important thing is to concentrate on slow, controlled movements and good form. Start with no or low weights until you feel comfortable with the position and form.