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Learn this exercise: bridge with leg kick

This is an excerpt from Running Anatomy-2nd Edition by Joseph Puleo & Patrick Milroy.


  1. Lie supine (on your back) with both knees bent.
  2. Lift your hips into the air as high as you can, simultaneously squeezing your glutes and keeping your scapulae on the floor.
  3. Once you are in the bridge position, extend one lower leg straight out and hold for 5 seconds.
  4. Lower the leg, then kick and hold with the opposite leg.

Muscles Involved

  • Primary: Gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis
  • Secondary: Hamstrings (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris)

Technique Tips

  • 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.

Running Focus

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.

Learn more about Running Anatomy, Second Edition.