Single-leg glute bridge exercises are excellent for building strength and stability in the hips. Underperforming (weak) glutes can oftentimes be one of the leading causes for low back tightness and pain in some people. Normally when people are thinking about building strength in the glutes or overcoming any underlying glute muscle weakness they first think of squats.
These are great and also very effective for some low back pain recovery plans but in my experience, single-leg glute exercises are more user-friendly and require less coaching before the client can see success.
That sounds like a win-win!
What is a Single-Leg Glute Exercise?
The single-leg glute exercise is simply breaking down the traditional loaded hinge and squat pattern and putting all the focus onto one single leg at a time. This allows you to worry less about heavyweights and more on executing the exercises and making sure the quality of your lift is spot on.
What Muscles Do Single-Leg Glute Bridge Exercises Work?
Dat booty or in other words the booty muscles. The glutes. The peaches. The single-leg glute bridge is excellent for targeting the glutes which is the number one muscle that connects the body and promotes healthy hinging and lifting patterns. Strong glutes build strong hips that help with having a healthy lower back!
Are single-leg glute bridges exercises effective?
Well, this, of course, depends on the end goal. There are some studies suggesting that weak glutes could have a connection with low back pain but to really find this out more in-depth studies would need to be made. For the average Joe or Jane like me and you, I like to look at it as strengthening the most important joint in our body which so happens to be a major part of our lower back. Weakness in these glute muscles means weakness in the overall function of the hip which could send more force and stress to the lower back. If the lower back is already sensitive making it do more “less ideal” work isn’t going to help. So are the single-leg glute activation drills effective? Absolutely!
How To Do A Single-Leg Glute Bridge?
I don’t want to show you just one. In fact, I want to break down 3 of my favorite single leg glute bridge exercises that you can do just about anywhere! Don’t forget if you want to see the breakdown of each of these exercises with cues for sensitive lower backs, watch the video up at the top!
Bodyweight Single-Leg Glute Bridge
Start on your back and raise the non-working leg to 90 degrees at the knee. Place your hands flat on the ground and drive up and back through the heal that is planted on the ground.
Without extending in the lower back, drive from your hips and only go as high as they will allow. Don’t overextend the hips just to get more height. Keep it slow and simple!
Straight Leg Bodyweight Glute Bridge
Start in the same position as the first exercises except with this one you will be straightening the leg that is not working. Have a firm grasp of the ground with your hands and drive up and back through the glute and hip that is working.
Be sure not to rock or twist while moving, this is critical for making sure you are doing it right. Only go as high as your hip/glute will lift you.
Landmine Single-Leg Glute Bridge
You will need a simple step, stability ball or bench for your platform and a landmine set up for the resistance. Start with the barbell in the cusp of your hip where your leg meets your pelvis. Start in a seated position and when ready drive through the leg that is on the ground lifting the non-working leg up.
This is very similar to the single-leg bridge I showed you earlier you’re just adding some external resistance to it!
All the same, rules apply here with the single-leg glute bridge. I cover some key low back pain cues inside of the video so be sure to check that out!
At the end of the day, the focus is always the same. Slow and controlled movements that don’t emphasis how much weight you’re moving but the quality of the exercise.
Are these 3 glute exercises not enough? Checkout Bret Contreras top 10 glute exercises here!
If you want more single leg based lower body exercises check out this video here I did on suspension trainers.
Which of the 3 above is your favorite? Let me know below!
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