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January 28, 2021

Hip Bridge Exercise Progression [no equipment needed]

hip bridge exercise progression with Annie Miller

A hip bridge is different than the ultra-popularized hip thrust.

Hip bridges are a fan-frickin-tastic way to strengthen your glutes, and if desired, to grow them too. A bridge is done laying supine, on the floor. Your shoulders, head and feet remain in contact with the floor, as your glutes and hamstrings work to take your hips from flexion to extension.

Seems simple enough but can be quite challenging for people, especially when performing them unilaterally (or with one leg).

If you find single leg glute bridges difficult or have a hard time feeling them, OR you’re a coach who want to know how to progress your clients, follow the progression below.

See the example below from Instagram

Hip Bridge Progression from Bilateral to Unilateral (unweighted)

Bilateral – Start with two feet. Feet can be shoulder width or slightly wider. There is no one way. Do what feels best as long as you’re keeping your ribs pinned down, and squeezing the glutes in full extension at the top. This is easiest because your weight is distributed between both legs.

Bilateral up, unilateral down – From bilateral, progress to using both legs up, and then lower down using one leg. So at the top, shift your weight to one leg and control the eccentric (or lowering) portion to the ground. You could do all reps on one leg, or alternate legs each rep.

B stance – Once you feel successful and no longer challenged by two legs up, one leg down, try B stance. This is not quite single leg, but an awesome transition to single leg. You’ll keep one foot placed as usual (this is the working leg). Place the foot of your non-working leg further forward, and be on your heel. The difference in weight distribution between the two legs will vary. But you should be about 70% in the working leg, and 30% in the supporting leg.

Unilateral – Lastly, you’ve arrived. Single leg glute bridges! You will ascend and descend using one leg at a time.

From here, you can progress further by adding a dumbell to your lap (supporting it with your hands) – this increases LOAD.

You could also elevate your shoulder to a bench (this now becomes a hip thrust variation) – this increases RANGE OF MOTION.

Interested in gaining strength + enjoying your time in the gym again? If so, make sure to get on the Built by Annie waitlist! Built by Annie is the best templated program out there (with real human support) and will be open for enrollment soon.

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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