Glute bridges are designed to target the muscles on the back of your legs, including your glutes. This versatile exercise is one that you may find quite challenging, especially if you are not accustomed to working out. It is a great way to target muscles that are not typically targeted by the exercises most people do.
If you want to build lower body power, then the single leg glute bridge is an excellent way to do that. By doing this powerful exercise, you will build up a lot of strength in key lower body muscles while working on your balance and range of motion.
It’s also a great calorie burner, especially if you do a high number of reps or do the exercise for an extended period of time.
We are going to share with you a detailed guide on how to do a single leg glute bridge and give you important information about getting the most from incorporating this exercise into your routine.
What Is a Single Leg Glute Bridge?
This exercise is one you can do almost anywhere, since it requires no equipment to perform. However, you can use equipment to do variations or to make your workout more comfortable. Because you do the exercise on the floor, you may want to use an exercise mat or other soft surface to work with.
It’s ideal for most age levels as well, and you can try low impact versions that are not as challenging to do and won’t leave you sore afterwards.
If you feel like your lower body is being left out of your workouts or that the lower body exercises you do are not targeting the muscles you want them to, this may be the right exercise for you.
This takes the normal glute bridge and elevates the difficulty by only allowing you to use one leg. That makes it a variation on another exercise, but it is one with its own special benefits, and you will definitely feel some of those as you do your single leg glute reps and notice the burn happening.
How To Do Single Leg Glute Bridge
Let’s walk you through the process for this exercise step by step. If you get the form right, you will maximize your benefits and reduce the risk of injury.
- Start by lying down on the ground, face down. Your arms should be placed at your sides with your palms flat down on the floor. You want to keep your pelvis and spine neutral and your knees bent.
- Then, tuck your pelvis and lower your torso to the ground. Keep your chin tucked underneath you as you do this. Your chin should be pressed against your chest as much as possible.
- Activate your core as you get into position and lift up only your left leg from the floor. Lift the leg until it is extended completely straight. While you do this motion, your right leg should remain bent. You will also want to keep your knees close to one another. This is your starting position, and you want to return to it after each rep.
- You will be doing an upward movement from that position, and you want to start by pushing your right foot down in the floor as you squeeze your glute. Then, stretch your hips upward and keep squeezing the glute as you do it. Continue until your hip is fully extended.
- As you do this, you should engage your core and make sure your ribs are staying in place. The position of your pelvis throughout the movement should be level to the floor and tucked only a bit on the top. Once you reach the end of the movement, pause briefly.
- To come back down, use your hip as a hinge point and return to your starting point. Then, you can repeat the entire exercise for as many reps as you want to do.
You can then switch legs and do your reps while you extend the right leg to even out your workout.
How Many Single Leg Glute Bridge Should You Do?
For this exercise, you want to be careful about overdoing it. If you are just starting out, keep your movement slow and controlled and your reps low so that you are not too sore afterwards.
The average recommended starting reps for the single leg glute bridge is 6-12 reps and then doing two or three sets of those.
Do whatever is comfortable for you and don’t overdo it. You may not realize how challenging the exercise is right away or the toll it is taking on you, so start on the lower end of the recommendation and work your way up from there.
What Does Single Leg Glute Bridge Work?
Targeting specific muscles is a great way to build up those muscles and develop the body you want. You can do targeted muscle training to create support for other exercises or to reduce the risk of injury when doing certain activities.
So, what muscles does the single leg glute bridge work? The primary muscles this exercise will benefit are hip flexors, hamstrings, lower back muscles, and your glutes. Because you engage your core as you do the exercise, that part of your body gets a little bit of a workout as well, but this is primarily a lower body exercise.
It is excellent for building up leg and glute strength and working muscles that are often overlooked by other exercises. Doing variations on this exercise can work other muscle groups as well.
How to Not Use a Leg During Single Leg Glute Bridge for Glute Imbalance
If you have a muscle imbalance in your glutes, then the single leg glute bridge can be a great way to fix that. It is easy to target only one side of your body, and specifically one glute, when doing this exercise.
Just figure out which glute has the imbalance and focus on working that one, doing the movements of the exercise in such a way that one glute is relaxed and the other is engaged.
How to do A Single Leg Glute Bridge on Smiths Machine
A Smiths machine is very versatile, and you can use it to do all sorts of exercises.
To perform a single leg glute bridge on the machine, you can lie flat on the ground and have the bar set just above your waist. Your waist should be lined up with the bar and the bar should be low enough that you don’t have to stretch to grab it and raise it. Your arms should be able to grasp the bar without being fully extended.
Once you are in position, you will lift one leg while raising the bar, extending your hip as far as possible without taking your shoulders off the ground. Then, come right back down to the starting position.
How to do A Single Leg Elevated Glute Bridge
You can do a version of this exercise that is a bit different, known as an elevated single leg glute bridge. You will need a bench or other raised surface for this.
You can place the nonactive foot on the bench at a 90-degree angle. Let’s say you are doing the exercise with your left leg, so you can place the right foot against the bench. Rest the left foot beside it and then push off with the right foot and flex your hips upward. At the same time, raise the left leg to where the knee comes back toward your face while keeping the leg at a 90-degree angle. Then, come back to the starting position.
This foot elevated single leg glute bridge is a great way to ratchet up the difficulty on this exercise and do something a bit different with it. For best results, your shoulders should stay resting on the ground and your arms should be extended fully toward your legs, with your palms flat on the floor.
The single leg glute bridge is an exercise with a lot of possible variations. You can try different versions depending on what kind of equipment you want to use and what areas of your body you want to focus on.
My name is Ellis Francis and I have been a personal fitness trainer, sports nutritionalist and health and fitness advisor for over 25 years. I am the lead health and fitness advisor at https://awellnessbody.com.