Glute Activation & Hip Mobility Routine >>
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Single Leg Bridge Exercise for Runners
In the video above, I demonstrate and explain how I get my runners to perform a single leg glute bridge. Clearly this is a progression from the typical double leg version commonly used to work on glute activation and build basic hip strength.
As mentioned in towards the end of the video, one of the reasons I really like this exercise is because it can provide real insight into asymmetries and imbalances around the hips. It’s not uncommon for a runner to feel that one side is stronger throughout the movement, with a sensation of ‘using their glutes’ more effectively, where the other side feels weak.
Equally, it is common for one hip to feel more restricted when performing the single leg bridge. This comes with a feeling of not being able to push the hips as high… usually a sign of tight hip flexors and/or quads.
You’ll find that there are various ways that the single leg bridge is coached. I like to get the athlete to hold on to the other knee, with the hip flexed to around 90 degrees. It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean ‘hugging knee to chest’! I get the athlete to do this so as to encourage the pelvis to remain in a neutral position as the working hip extends.
I find that without this help in maintaining a neutral pelvis, sometimes the athlete will subconsciously get much of their extension from their lumbar spine, rather than from the hip – which of course is our main focus.
As a general rule, I get runners to begin with 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps on each leg, focussed on feeling the glute engagement.
If one side feels a little more restricted, or difficult to achieve a tangible activation of gluteus maximus, then I get the runner to work on some anterior hip mobility drills before returning to the single leg bridge later in the same session.Last updated on March 2nd, 2021.
Should you do less reps with weaker leg (because it is weaker and can’t do as much), or more with the weaker leg (to train it more so that it can catch up to the stronger one)?
Love the tip about keeping foot closer to butt to initiate glutes. I always use my hamstrings more, in spite of pushing heel into ground.
If I wanted to work my hamstrings (currently dealing with my second case of upper hamstring tendinitis), would moving my feet out further from my butt be a good strengthening exercise?
Helpful tip about pushing down on the heel – no wonder my butt is weak!