Spring Exercises: Glute Bridges + Heels to the Heavens

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Glute Bridges:

1) Lay on your back with your knees bent, and your feet shoulder width apart (or closer).
2) Relax your upper body completely- you should not use your arms or back to assist in this exercise

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3) Squeeze your buttocks and push your feet into the ground, pushing your hips towards the ceiling (Make sure it is your glutes and not the back of your thighs initiating the movement)
4) Slowly lower your hips and butt back down to the ground

Repeat 10 times, or until you feel fatigued, and try to complete 2 repetitions

*Tips: Keep your abs engaged the entire time, there should never be an arch in your back. Keep your knees in line with your feet, don’t let your knees collapse inwards or outwards

*If this exercise causes pain in your back or elsewhere, stop this exercise completely. You should feel the burn of a muscle working but no pain.

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Heels to the Heavens:

1) Begin on your hands and knees, core engaged (spine should be straight) with your knees hip width apart. Your arms should be straight throughout the duration of the exercise

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2) Engage one side of your glutes and try to lift your leg from the position it is in until your thigh is perpendicular to the floor (Lifting your foot so your heel is facing the ceiling)
3) The movement should be initiated from the glutes so make sure you are focusing on squeezing the correct muscles. Your knee remains bent to 90 degrees the entire time
4) Bring the leg back to starting position and switch legs

Repeat this 10 times (10 on each leg) or until you feel fatigued, and try complete 2 repetitions

*Tips:
-Keep your core engaged! If you are arching your back this exercise will put more strain on your lower back
-If your foot cannot get as high as depicted in the picture, that is totally fine! You are still working the proper muscles and developing strength, don’t sacrifice proper form to get your leg higher
-You can place a towel or pillow under your knees if this exercise hurts your knees
– It is important to warm up the muscles prior to exercising them. This can be done by doing hips rolls in both directions. Move in and out of exercises carefully.

*If this exercise causes pain in your back or elsewhere, stop this exercise completely. You should feel the burn of a muscle working but no pain.

After your workout:
Stretching these muscles is incredibly important as well! You can check out the stretching blog Therapy Lounge has on the Piriformis to get a good stretch after these exercises. As well as stretching the Hamstrings and the Psoas/Iliacus (hip flexors). Both of these muscles being tight can contribute to back pain. If you have any questions about your low back pain, or these exercises feel free to contact me at Therapy Lounge, or book an appointment.

Jenna Linton, B.Kin, DOMP

Jenna Linton