Single leg glute bridge as its name suggests is an exercise that targets your glutes.
When looking for options for your next leg workout, you will need exercises that target your glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, and core muscles. So, you can use it when you are preparing for your leg day training.
This is an easy exercise. It’s a bit harder than glute bridges. You can use it after the injury to get back in shape and return back to your workouts. Of course, as always, never start your workouts after injury without consulting with your doctor.
I recently had an injury. My left leg calf muscle got torn. After four weeks of rest, I started working out. I started with the easiest skills from the pistol squat progression.
After going through glute bridges and wall sits, I used single leg glute bridges to increase the difficulty. It helped me ease my way back to leg training.
Glute bridges are great if you are trying to get back to your training after the injury. They are not the first thing you should do right after the injury though.
The first thing after the injury is a period of rest to help you recover. After a resting period, you should go through physical therapy.
After you recover, you can start with easier exercises like a glute bridge (with both legs). Of course, only after consulting your doctor. Only after those steps above are done, can you safely get to single leg glute bridges.
Because it’s a relatively easy exercise, it’s beginner friendly. It can be used as a regression exercise in your standard leg workouts once you progress further.
Because you have to level your body while raising from the ground, your obliques have to take on this load. So, compared to glute bridges, the added benefit of this exercise is working your obliques.
Another great benefit is that it can be done without any equipment. So, you can do it anywhere you are. This exercise is a great option for your workouts while you travel for example.
Because it’s easy, once you progress to harder single leg squat exercises, it will no longer provide enough tension. It will lose its value once you can do more than 15 reps in a set.
When this happens, you can try weighted glute bridges which are also called hip thrusts.
To be able to do it, you will first need to master the glute bridge. In the glute bridge, you will have both legs on the ground. When you are able to do glute bridges you can try to do single leg glute bridges.
There are two different variants of single leg glute bridges. The easier variant is with a bent knee. Harder will be with your leg straight.
After you master the bent knee variant, move on to the single leg glute bridge with a straight leg.
Single leg glute bridge muscles worked
Single leg glute bridge will primarily target your glutes. There are also other muscles involved in this exercise.
Single leg glute bridge muscles worked:
- Gluteus maximus
- Gluteus medius
- Gluteus minimus
- Hip flexors
- Lower back
How to do single leg glute bridge
There are two different versions of this exercise. Easier will be with your non-working leg bent. A harder variant is with your non-working leg straight. A harder version will be presented here. To do an easier variant, just bend your non-working leg and do the same move.
Lay on your back on the floor. Your arms are placed to your sides with palms down. Move your working leg foot close to your butt so it’s planted on the floor on your foot sole.
You will be raising your butt off the floor while keeping your non-working leg straight.
Raise your butt off the floor together with your non-working leg. Keep on raising your butt and non-working leg up. You will raise up until your body from your shoulders to your knees forms a straight line. Keep your non-working leg straight during this move.
Slowly lower your butt and your non-working leg back to the floor. Don’t let your leg and/or your butt fall down.
Keep your back straight when doing the move. Do not arch your back.
Even in easy exercises, if you are working on your own, and don’t pay special attention, some mistakes may creep in.
Mistake 1: Hip sinking or shifting to the side
Your hips may shift to the side, or one side may not raise to the same level as the other. This may happen if your obliques and/or hip flexors are not strong enough. In this case, they don’t help you to hold your hips straight.
To correct this mistake, you have to work on growing the strength of your hip flexors and obliques. You can try working on hanging knee raises, or if this is too hard, knee windshield wipers. After a few weeks try a single leg glute bridge again to see if you can do it.
Mistake 2: Arching your back
Another mistake that may happen is arching your back. If you are working out on your own and without recording, this may be hard to notice. If you can do it near the mirror, you may easily notice this mistake.
If this happens, you just simply pay attention to keep your entire body in a straight line during the move.
Single leg glute bridge progression
Since this exercise is relatively easy, there are limited easier options. There are only a handful of exercises to try:
If you are able to do single leg glute bridges with ease, you may try more challenging exercises. Here are some options from easier to harder:
This exercise is relatively easy, so there is a long way to a full pistol squat. But if you are persistent you can get there for sure.
It took me two years to get to my first half pistol squat. So, it’s doable.
Single leg glute bridge is a great and easy glute exercise suitable for beginners. Because it doesn’t require any equipment it’s “portable”. You can use it whenever you want and wherever you are.
It can also be used as a regression exercise once you progress to more difficult skills like regular squats.