Why the Glute Bridge Will Not Make Your Squat Better
How the Muscles Work
"The bridge has a high EMG activity; therefore, it should teach our glutes to work when we perform the more functional, compound squat. So why doesn’t this happen?"
"Conscious muscle contractions come from isolated movements, but during functional (multi-jointed) movement it is impossible to tell every muscle to work."
How the Body Works
"When we perform a glute bridge, the glutes are learning to work in isolation, and there is little conversation with neighbouring muscular friends."
How the Mechanics Work
"[L]imited range of motion means the glute isn’t learning what to do in the hole at the bottom of the squat, which is when we really need the glute to help us."
Enter the Lunge
"In the bridge, only the hip is moving and extending, with the ankle and spine in a completely different position and under a different stress than in the squat."
The lunge also allows each leg to work independently and get strong in its own right. I am yet to assess a squat that is 100% balanced. We all have a leg that is stronger and that we favour when we squat. We must try and balance the system.
So, go forth and lunge! But doing thirty lunges is not enough to create desired changes to motor pattern recruitment. Part two of this article will delve into the programming required to make significant changes to your motor patterns.