How to Do a Single-Leg Bridge: Proper Form and Modifications

If you’re an athlete, physical therapy patient, or anyone looking to improve their health through exercise, you may wonder how to properly do a single-leg bridge. This exercise is key to building strength in your lower body, helps with multiple muscle and joint issues, and can help improve your overall health and athletic performance.

The Single-leg bridge works so many different muscles and joints it’s an excellent exercise to incorporate into an exercise routine. You’ll be surprised at how challenging and fatiguing this exercise can be when performed correctly.

In this blog post, we’ll give you instructions on correctly doing a single-leg bridge and some tips on modifications for different-level athletes. So let’s get started!

Benefits of a Single-Leg Bridge

The single-leg bridge is an important functional exercise that provides a multitude of benefits, from glute strength and hip control to targeting low back strength. This glute exercise is an effective way to prevent lower back injury and can be done as part of one’s regular workout routine for maximum benefits.

Single leg bridge for glute minimus strengthening

The main focus of this bridge is on glute activation, glute engagement, and the strengthening of glute muscles, all while simultaneously activating core stability and muscles in the lower back. While the double-leg glute bridge is great for beginners, adding an elevated leg forces the glutes to work harder and increases glute activation while also improving hip control.

The single-leg glute bridge addresses the following:

  • Core weakness
  • Glute strength
  • Hip stability
  • Hip and low back mobility
  • Quad strength
  • Lumbopelvic awareness

Executing a single-leg bridge can be challenging and rewarding when performed correctly; it is an ideal supplement to a comprehensive workout designed to improve physical fitness performance.

Proper Form for the Single-Leg Bridge

Achieving proper form is key when engaging in physical activity, especially when working on the low back and hip region.

To ensure your form is correct:

  • Start on your back with one leg elevated and one leg bent at a comfortable angle. Tighten your abdominal muscles to protect your spine and squeeze your glutes to engage the hip muscles.
  • Lift your hips using one leg in contact with the ground as high as you can or until your back and hips are straight. One key element of proper form is to prevent your body from rotating and twisting at the pelvis.
  • Once you get to the top of the movement, try and return to the starting position slow and controlled. The slow-lowering portion of the movement is just as important as the concentric raising portion of the movement.

Remembering these simple tips can make all the difference in achieving appropriate technique and avoiding potential injuries.

Form Modifications of the Single-Leg Bridge

The single-leg bridge is an effective exercise for developing core stability, glute strength, and balance. With a few modifications, you can tailor it to any fitness level.

Preventing Hamstring Cramps

Placing a towel underneath your toes when performing single-leg bridges often helps prevent hamstring cramps. You can also do this by placing your feet on the front edge of a stair, placing a half foam roller, or a couple of books. This modification helps increase glute activation and decreases hamstring activation.

single leg bridge modifying for hamstring cramps

Modifying for Pain

Additionally, if you experience pain lifting your hip, don’t go so high or move on a yoga block or pillow with your foot.

If you have numbness and tingling during the movement, place your foot on top of an elevated surface – this tactic can reduce compression in the lower lumbar spine area. You might try lying on the floor with your legs up on the couch, or one of our favorite modifications for a single-leg bridge is to place your legs on a Swiss ball. Not only does it make it more challenging, but it gives the nerve more room and opens up the spine.

elevated single leg bridge for pain

The other modification for pain is to go as high as possible before the pain starts and hold it there for 5 seconds. You can begin to train your body muscles to become stronger at the point of pain, and soon you will be able to raise higher.

Pain in the Hip with Bridging

If you experience pain in the hip while performing a single-leg bridge, try using a resistance band around your knees. This will help engage and strengthen the glutes. With the hips engaged, it transfers pressure to the muscles instead of the joints.

Additionally, focus on pushing through your heel while squeezing your glutes. This can help you achieve proper form and prevent injury.

Finally, if you still have pain, try performing this exercise on a different surface. For example, if you are currently performing on your soft bed, this might make the angle more difficult. Try attempting it on the floor or on a yoga mat.

All these tweaks ensure that you don’t strain your body unnecessarily while challenging yourself with this exercise.

How to Make the Single-Leg Bridge More Challenging

To make the single-leg bridge even tougher, perform the move using an exercise ball or a BOSU ball under your feet. The instability of the balls makes the muscles work harder, and you also have the added element of balance.

single leg bridge on ball

You can also increase the intensity of this exercise by placing a band around your thighs to engage your entire lower body.

Or try placing a weight such as a dumbbell or a plate on the front of your hip. Adding weight will make bridging and strengthening the muscles harder and more challenging.

single leg bridge weight

With these challenge variations, you can continue progressing with the single-leg bridge exercises to work on dynamic hip mobility and strength gains!

When to Make the Single-Leg Bridge Easier

When it comes to the single-leg bridge exercise, it is important to know when to make adjustments and level down the difficulty. If you are experiencing pain in your hip or back during this exercise, or if you find that you are unable to maintain control of your pelvis throughout the movement, consider making the exercise easier.

Additionally, if you are unable to raise your hip off the ground without assistance, start by performing a double-leg bridge first. Make sure that you can do 30 to 40 reps of a double-leg bridge and then proceed to a variation of the single-leg bridge on a step or bench before progressing further.

It’s better to complete 30 double-leg bridges with great form than to perform 10 single-leg bridges with poor form.


The single-leg bridge is a great exercise for the muscles of the core, glutes, low back, and hamstrings. It’s easy to do in a short amount of time, and it does not require any additional equipment. This makes it easy to do at home or on vacation and leaves minimal room for excuses not to perform.

It can be made more challenging by using a weight or incorporating other modifications into your routine, but it can also be scaled back to make it easier on your body.

No matter where you are in your fitness journey, try the single-leg bridge – you might find that it’s one of your new favorite exercises!

Let us know in the comments below if you have a favorite single-leg bridge modification and which one makes you feel like you’re working the hardest.