Knee flexion is another compensation pattern found when attempting functional gluteal recruitment during a standing bridge. Often times, people who do supine bridges will have this association. This is because they are used to bending their knees when incorporating the muscles that will posteriorly tilt the pelvis when doing a supine bridge, so it is likely that the exact same reaction will happen when they apply the standing bridge position . Overactive hamstrings will be the culprit creating this knee flexed position.
When the gluteal structures are incapable of producing functional force, the hamstrings that act in knee flexion will step in to compensate for the deficiency. This will inevitably lead to tightness in the hamstrings as a result of their overuse in compensation for poor gluteal activity. When attempting a standing bridge, it is quite likely that each one of these associations will pop up at one given point or the other.
Most people who attempt this exercise have a combination of all three inhibiting associations, with one or two being grossly exaggerated. Something very important to keep in mind is that when you correct one association, it is likely that another one will come back. The key to preventing this is to make adjustments in the joints slowly so that the body will gradually associate efficient, integrated muscular function in the gluteal systems.
INEFFICIENT MUSCULAR ASSOCIATION (KNEE FLEXION)
Through reciprocal inhibition the hip flexors will be the override switch to the hip extensor muscles in the posterior chain of the legs and glutes. Since hip extension will not be an accessible movement in dysfunction, the body will then recruit the hamstrings on knee flexion to compensate.
EXERCISE: STANDING BRIDGE
TIGHT HAMSTRINGS The hamstrings will act on knee flexion whenever efficient gluteal engagement is not present. This overuse in knee flexion will lead to tightness over the course of time.