Two weeks ago I wrote a post on barbell hip thrust technique. Today, is the unilateral or single leg, body weight variation, the Single Leg Bench Bridge.
I love the single leg bench bridge as an exercise to strengthen the glute and hamstring muscles. This exercise also requires isometric core and hip abductor stabilization through execution.
Though this exercise seems straightforward, there are a few key points to get the most out of it. I've found, left to an untrained participants interpretation of this exercise, it's often not done correctly. If you have performed this exercise in the past felt like you haven't got much out of it, that is probably the case.
Here is how to perform the single leg bench bridge:
- Start seated on the floor and position your shoulders comfortably on the edge of the bench
- You can either extend your arms the length of the bench, place them across your chest or let them hang comfortably at your sides. If you have any balance issues with this exercise, at your side is probably the best option.
- Bring your feet closer to your hips so when the hips are raised the lower leg is perpendicular to the ground.
- To perform the exercise on the right leg, begin by pushing through the heel of the right foot raising the hips parallel to the ground. At the same, flex the left leg (drive the knee towards your chest.
- I see two mistakes often happen during the execution. 1) The participant pushes through the toe, and 2) They do not flex their non-bridging knee toward their chest. Both are decreasing the targeted effectiveness of this exercise.
- During the execution, the spine should remain in a relatively neutral position. At the top of the movement, many people extend the spine and go past the parallel position. To avoid this, squeeze the stance side glute, brace the core and exhale. If done correctly, you'll feel this in your glute and hamstring, not your lower back.
- Slowly lower your hips back down toward the ground (not all the way to the ground), simultaneously lowing your non-stance side knee and repeat.
Watch the video above done by former LA Lakers strength and conditioning coach, Tim Difrancesco.