How to Do a Single Leg Bridge: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a single leg bridge exercise to help with lower body strength and balance, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

woman-doing-single-leg-bridge-on-yoga-mat

How to Do a Single Leg Bridge: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a single leg bridge exercise to help with lower body strength and balance, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

woman-doing-single-leg-bridge-on-yoga-mat

How to Do a Single Leg Bridge: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a single leg bridge exercise to help with lower body strength and balance, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

woman-doing-single-leg-bridge-on-yoga-mat

How to Do a Single Leg Bridge: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a single leg bridge exercise to help with lower body strength and balance, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

woman-doing-single-leg-bridge-on-yoga-mat
Table of Contents

If you spend more time sitting than you would like to, you’re in good company. Many people find themselves stuck in the same position for long periods of time during the day, whether that’s at a desk, behind the wheel, or somewhere else. Spending a lot of time in a seated position can cause your glute muscles — as well as your hip and back muscles — to lose some strength, which may play a role in back or hip pain for some people.

Thankfully, there are many ways you can work to strengthen these muscles, such as with “movement snacks” and targeted exercises, such as the bridge exercise. The single leg bridge, in particular, helps isolate each side of the glutes to help build strength and balance. This can help counteract the effects of sitting for long periods.

Here, learn more about the benefits of the single leg bridge, along with tips to modify the exercise to meet your needs.

Our Hinge Health Experts

Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist and Clinical Reviewer
Dr. Peterson is a Hinge Health physical therapist who focuses on developing clinical exercise therapy programs and member education.

What Is a Single Leg Bridge?

A single leg bridge is a variation of the traditional bridge exercise that targets the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and core muscles. By lifting one leg off the ground during the bridge, you increase the challenge and intensity of the exercise by forcing one leg to stabilize your body, instead of using both legs to do so. 

What Muscles Does the Single Leg Bridge Work? 

The single leg bridge primarily targets the glute and hamstring muscles. 

  • The gluteus maximus is the primary muscle targeted by the single leg bridge. The glutes are responsible for extending the hip, which is the primary movement during the bridge.

  • The hamstrings, which are located at the back of the thigh, work synergistically with the glutes to help lift your hips off the ground.

While the single leg bridge primarily targets the glutes and hamstrings, it's a good exercise for promoting overall hip stability and core engagement. It helps to strengthen the: 

  • Erector spinae, which are the muscles that run alongside the spine. They provide stability and support to the spine during the lift.

  • Core muscles, including the rectus abdominis (front of the abdomen), obliques (side of the abdomen), and transverse abdominis (the deepest layer of abdominal muscles that help stabilize the core).

  • Adductors, or inner thigh muscles, which help stabilize the pelvis. 

  • Quadriceps, located at the front of the thigh. These play a more minor stabilizing role during the bridge.

Benefits of Single Leg Bridge 

By strengthening important muscle groups, the single leg bridge can help prevent potential injuries and make many daily activities easier and more efficient, such as:

  • Walking and running

  • Climbing stairs, an action that involves hip extension and is primarily powered by the glutes. 

  • Bending and lifting, whether it's picking up a child, groceries, or any other object. 

  • Maintaining balance, whether that’s needed for activities that require standing on one foot, like climbing a ladder, or even just maintaining balance in slippery conditions.

  • Getting up from a seated position

  • Recreational activities, such as dancing, playing tennis, or doing a variety of other movements. 

Single Leg Bridge: Exercises and Modifications 

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

Single Leg Bridge

Single Leg Bridge

Single Leg Bridge

Single Leg Bridge

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To do a single leg bridge: 

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. 

  • Lift one knee to a tabletop position. 

  • Press through the foot that is flat on the floor to lift your hips off the ground. Try to keep your hips square while squeezing your glutes to help you lift. 

  • Pull your abdominal muscles in to prevent your back from arching. 

  • Return to your starting position. 

Everyone is different, which is why you may need to modify the single leg bridge to find your “movement sweet spot.”

Single Leg Bridge Modifications

Single Leg Bridge Modifications

Single Leg Bridge Modifications

Single Leg Bridge Modifications

To make the single leg bridge easier:  

  • Instead of lifting one leg to a tabletop position, keep both feet on the flat on the ground and perform a standard glute bridge. 

  • You can also reduce your range of motion and limit how far off the ground you lift your hips. 

To make the single leg bridge harder: 

  • Before lifting your hips, place your working foot — or the foot that’s pressed into the ground — on a sturdy elevated surface, such as a yoga block or step stool. 

  • You can also hold a weight near your midsection to increase the load and make the exercise more challenging. 

You can apply one of the above modifications to make the exercise easier or harder, or multiple modifications at once. 

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program. 

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.  

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. 

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

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References

  1. Tobey, K., & Mike, J. (2018). Single-Leg Glute Bridge. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 40(2), 110–114. doi:10.1519/ssc.0000000000000323

  2. Bridging. (n.d.). Physiopedia. Retrieved from https://www.physio-pedia.com/Bridging

Table of Contents
What Is a Single Leg Bridge?What Muscles Does the Single Leg Bridge Work? Benefits of Single Leg Bridge Single Leg Bridge: Exercises and Modifications To do a single leg bridge: To make the single leg bridge easier:  To make the single leg bridge harder: How Hinge Health Can Help You References