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Move of the month: glute bridges

Viv Rickman has your expert guide to glute bridges – to increase core stability in the water, stabilise the lower back and counter common muscle imbalances that can cause injury

If we think of swimming in terms of the muscles we use for the most common strokes that we use outdoors – front crawl and breaststroke – they are very anterior dominant, meaning they are mostly on the front of our bodies. 

The muscles on our back body, known as our posterior chain (that’s our glutes, hamstrings and lower back) can end up underdeveloped, especially if we have sedentary jobs sitting at desks all day outside of swimming.

Glute bridges are great for getting the posterior chain fired up. I suggest doing them as an exercise before swimming, especially before a longer swim. 

A basic guide

1. Lie on the floor with knees bent and feet hip width apart, planted firmly on the floor, rest your arms by your side. 

2. Lift your hips off the floor by driving through the soles of your feet, lifting your body so it is in line with your knees. Squeeze your butt (glutes). 

3. Hold the position, remember to breathe.

4. Slowly lower with control to the floor.

Complete three sets of 15 repetitions.

To increase core stability in the water, try single leg glute bridges, which involve lifting on leg either bent or extended above. This will target just one side of your glutes at a time. Repeat on the other side.

This Move of the Month featured in the July edition of Outdoor Swimmer. Read more training and techniques in our expert guides.

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Jo is the Gear Editor for Outdoor Swimmer and also writes news and features for the website. A keen open water swimmer and long-distance walker, she loves seeking out lakes and lidos close to her home in the Mendip Hills, Somerset. She is the author of The Slow Traveller, editor and founder of independent magazine, Ernest, and has previously tested outdoor clothing and kit for BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC Focus and Ernest Journal.