Your Guide To The Single-Leg Bridge Exercise – Benefits & Technique

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Cross Training For Runners
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David Dack

Do you run regularly but are often plagued with an injury? Then you should add the single-leg bridge exercise to your training plan.

The single-leg bridge is an awesome exercise to isolate and strengthen your hip extensors—key running muscles (more on later).

You don’t need any special equipment for this exercise, so it can be performed virtually anytime, anywhere.

This makes the perfect fit for lower body exercises performed at the gym, in your bedroom, or even while traveling.

But how do you make the most out of it? That’s where today’s post comes in handy. In this article, I’ll be diving into the following:

  • What the single-leg bridge
  • The benefit of the single-leg glute bridge
  • Who should be doing the single-leg glute bride
  • How to do the single-leg glute bridge
  • And so much more

What is the Single-Leg Glute Bridge

A form of advanced bridge exercise, this single-leg glute bridge is a fantastic exercise for targeting your posterior chain.

Consisting of a unilateral variation, the Single-Leg Glute Bridge targets muscle groups throughout your body, like the hip flexors, hamstrings, lower back muscles, and gluteal muscles, including the gluteus maximus, gluteus Medius, and gluteus minimums.

Without strong running muscles, you risk putting undue stress on your joints and other body parts. This not only hinders performance but can also cause injury.

The Benefits of Single-Leg Glute Bridge

the Single-Leg Glute Bridge is a unilateral exercise.

Unilateral training—or training one side at a time—works well to prevent and fix muscle imbalances. By performing unilateral exercises, you can build your muscles more evenly, which leads to better functionality and athletic power.  

In addition, this exercise can also be used as a strength test, helping to determine whether you’re at risk of certain injuries, especially a hamstring injury.

What’s more?

If you’re suffering from back, whether because you spend a long time in sitting positions or simply because of bad posture, strengthening your glutes may help relieve your pain.

Guess which exercise targets your glutes like nothing else? Of course, the Single-Leg Glute Bridge.

For more on the benefits of the single-leg bridge exercise, check the following resources:

Additional Resource – Your Guide to Groin Strains While Running

How to Perform The Single Glute Bridge

Start by laying on your back, hands by your sides, feet flat on the floor, with knees bent.

While engaging your core and glute muscles to support your body and pressing your left heel into the floor, kick your right foot up, extending your leg fully, so it is around 45 degrees on the ground.

While performing the single-leg bridge, keep your glutes and core engaged, toes pointed up. As you raise your hips, breathe and press down into the ground through your heel.

Hold the upward position for a moment, then lower your hoops slowly while keeping your right leg extended to return to the starting position.

Repeat 8 to 12 times, then switch sides to complete one set.

Perform reps and sets based on your strength level to maintain proper form throughout all sets and repetitions.

Additional Guide – Leg workouts for runners

Making The Single-Leg Bridge More Challenging – Variations

You can perform the single-leg bridge in many ways to match your skill level and goals.

Let’s look at some variation

Two-Leg Bridge

If you cannot perform the single-leg glute bridge, consider making it easier by sticking to the classic variation, in which you keep both feet on the floor bridge while performing the hip raise.

This should help you build enough strength and endurance to progress to the one-leg variation.

Additional resource – Clamshells for runners

Longer Hold

Instead of holding the top movement for a moment, try to keep your leg up for longer.

This puts even more pressure on your hips while further activating your core. I’d recommend starting with a 10-second hold, then working your way up to 45-second holds before returning to the starting position.

Additional Resource – 13 Exercises to improve running

Bridge March

Another variation that will have you panting for air is the bridge march. This exercise teaches you to stabilize your pelvis as your legs move and is ideal for runners and preventing low back pain.

Here’s how to perform the bridge march variation.

Begin by lying face-up, knees bent, and arms folded across your chest. Place your weight on your heels, with the toes slightly off the ground. Engage your reglues and core to bridge up.

Next,  press your heels into the ground and lift your hips up until your shoulders and knees are aligned, then raise your right leg toward your chest until your hip is at 90 degrees.

Hold for a moment, lower your right foot to the ground, and lift the left leg while keeping your hips raised throughout the movement.

Keep alternating your legs for the rest of the exercise. And do not let your hips sage as you march.

Additional reading – How to Avoid Running Injury

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