This is an excerpt from Running Anatomy-2nd Edition by Joseph Puleo & Patrick Milroy.
- Lie supine (on your back) with both knees bent.
- Lift your hips into the air as high as you can, simultaneously squeezing your glutes and keeping your scapulae on the floor.
- Once you are in the bridge position, extend one lower leg straight out and hold for 5 seconds.
- Lower the leg, then kick and hold with the opposite leg.
- Primary: Gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis
- Secondary: Hamstrings (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris)
- Maintain full extension in the bridge position (don't let the core sag) while slowly raising and lowering each leg.
- Raise to full extension without hyperextending.
As mentioned in the introduction to these exercises, a runner who has weak glutes - or a problem with glute "firing" patterns - requires other muscles to assume the glutes' responsibilities. Ideally, even for distance runners, the glutes (not the quadriceps) should serve as the powerhouse of lower-body strength. However, since this exercise uses only body weight, it primarily develops the firing of the muscle. In other words, strength development is secondary; therefore, bridges can be complemented by squat exercises (chapter 5),which focus on developing strength.
Weighted Bridge With Leg Kick
Assume the bridge position with the legs bent and a dumbbell resting on the front of each upper thigh (anterior hip). Perform the exercise in the usual manner with the dumbbells increasing the resistance.