A Bad-Ass Glute Exercise To Kick Your Butt Into Shape

The single leg glute bridge (pictured below) is becoming a very popular exercise for both strengthening the glutes and developing a better butt. However, being a bodyweight exercise, many people struggle to make the exercise harder as there isn’t a good way of adding weight to the movement. Rather than tire yourself out with more and more endless reps, there are alternative ways to increase loading and progress the single leg glute bridge – use of greater angles and range of motion are some good ones you should consider. The variation of the single leg glute bridge we have for you, involves having both your torso and planted foot elevated to make this exercise really bad-ass! If you can do 20 reps of a conventional single leg glute bridge then you have the strength to give our more advanced version a try – the Torso and Foot Elevated Single Leg Glute Bridge (also pictured below) . We have included some pointers and video demo below to help you get the most out of this exercise.

Conventional Single Leg Glute Bridge:

SLGB - conventional1

 

Torso and Foot Elevated Single Leg Glute Bridge:

SLGB - Torso & Foot Elevated1

 

Torso and Foot Elevated Single Leg Glute Bridge:

Setup:

  1. Find two benches or boxes that are roughly knee-height – if you can only find two implements that are of differing heights, be sure to have the larger one setup for the planted leg (more on this shortly).
  2. Lay flat on the floor in a conventional single leg glute bridge position (i.e. as per our ‘start’ picture above). Mark where your shoulders are and where your planted foot is on the floor – this going to be the distance apart that you will place the two benches. Make sure you position the planted leg so it is not at too obtuse an angle (otherwise you will start to activate the hamstrings instead of the glutes when executing the exercise).
  3. Place the benches apart as per the point above with one bench moved half of its own length to the left or right. Both benches should now be parallel but staggered to one another.

Execution:

  1. Place your upper back and shoulders on the edge of one bench and one of your heels on the on the edge of the other bench.
  2. Assume a straight body position with your non-planted leg also kept straight and slightly off the floor.
  3. Whilst contracting your abs, push through the heel of your bent leg and drive your hips towards the ceiling until there is a straight line formed between the knee and shoulder of the working leg.
  4. Keep the non-working leg straight and in alignment with your torso throughout the whole movement.
  5. Lower yourself under control and back to the starting position in a similar fashion to the way you came up. Keep your non-working leg off the ground the whole movement for added tension on the glutes of the working side.
  6. Repeat until you cannot maintain full range of movement and exercise form due to fatigue.
  7. Repeat the same amount of reps on the opposite leg. If you have a weak side, always do your reps on this leg first and do not exceed this rep range on the stronger side – this will allow the weak side to catch up to the stronger side and balance your strength and development.

Common Mistakes:

The 2 most common mistakes to avoid whilst performing a single leg glute bridge variations are as follows:

Mistake No. 1

There is no full hip extension at the top of the movement on the working leg side. This mistake can be clearly seen when there is an absence of a straight line between the knee and the shoulder of the working leg. When there is a lack of full hip extension like this, it usually means that the glutes are not firing optimally. It could also be a sign that your hip flexors are too tight and that you are not contracting your abs properly during the movement

 

Mistake No. 2

There is swinging the non-working leg and use of momentum to bridge up. This motion takes the work and force production of the movement away from the glutes. The non-working leg can placed in different positions as long as it is kept still throughout the movement. The more bend there is in the non-working leg, and the closer it is to the torso, the less leverage there will be and the easier the glute bridge will become. On the other hand, the straighter the non-working leg is and the farther it is from the torso, the harder the glute bridge will be.

 

For further elaboration on how to execute Single Leg Glute Bridge exercise variations properly – see our popular Youtube demonstration video by clicking the link below:

Conclusion:

Single Leg Glute Bridge exercises are a great way to strengthen your glutes and develop this often-neglected area of the body. As with all exercises, technique is paramount and there is certainly no exception in this case. Don’t sacrifice technique to progress to harder variations – you will only develop your glutes less and make it hard to rectify incorrect muscular patterns emerging. Now start working your glutes – properly!

 

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