The hamstring bridge is an exercise designed to strengthen your hamstrings as well as tone your glutes, using your own bodyweight.
It is accessible to people of all fitness levels, including beginners.
Required equipment: Mat (optional)
How to do it:
- Lie on your back on the floor with your feet planted on the floor and your knees bent.
- Keep your feet and knees hip-width apart, with your toes pointed forward and your ankles below your knees.
- Stretch your arms outward to your sides, with your palms facing down.
- Tighten your core.
- Pressing through your heels, lift your hips off the floor.
- Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings.
- Pause at the top position for 20-40 seconds.
- Lower your hips to the floor. This is a complete rep.
- Do as many reps as you desire.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE HAMSTRING BRIDGE WORK?
The primary muscles the hamstring bridge works are your hamstrings on your thigh and the glutes which help flex your hips.
It also strengthens your core when you engage it to help with stabilizing your body.
HAMSTRING BRIDGE BENEFITS
The hamstring bridge is a bodyweight movement that requires no equipment to execute.
You can, however, use a mat for extra comfort but other than that you don’t really need any equipment to get the results.
SUITABLE FOR BEGINNERS
The hamstring bridge is suitable for people of all fitness levels, including beginners.
If you are just getting started on your fitness journey, it can be a fantastic way to build your hamstring strength in readiness for other advanced lower body workouts.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE HAMSTRING BRIDGE
BARBELL HIP THRUST
- Sit on the floor, your back to a workout bench.
- Bend both knees and place your feet on the floor hip-width apart.
- Press your upper back to the edge of the bench and then slowly slide or lift the bar over your legs, resting it in the crease of your hips. If you are using plates, they should rest on the floor.
- Push through your heels to lift your hips upwards, keeping the upper part of your back still pressed to the bench.
- Pause for a few seconds as you squeeze your glutes at the top position.
- Slowly and with control, lower your butt toward the ground to complete your rep.
To work your hamstrings more than your glutes, you can move both feet a bit farther away from the rest of your body.
DUMBBELL REVERSE LUNGE
- Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Holding a dumbbell in each hand, rest your arms along the sides of your legs with your palms facing in. This is your starting position.
- Lift your left foot and step two feet backwards, making sure to land on the ball of that foot. Your heel should be off the floor.
- Bend your knees until your right quad and left shin are almost parallel to the floor.
- Lean your upper body slightly forward so that your back is flat and not rounded.
- Place your right knee above your right foot, and your core and butt should be engaged.
- Drive through the heel of your right foot to get back to the starting position. This is a complete rep.
- Do all the reps on one side, then repeat these steps on the other leg.
DUMBBELL KICKSTAND DEADLIFT
- Stand upright with your feet together, holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of your legs.
- Step your left foot forward and lift yourself up, standing on the ball of your right foot (which you should be using as a kickstand to gain balance). This is your standing position.
- Keeping a slight bend in both knees, hinge at your knees to bring your upper body parallel to the ground as you lower the weight down towards the ground.
- Flatten your back at the bottom position. Your torso should still be parallel to the ground and the dumbbell a few inches off the ground.
- With your core tight, push through the foot planted on the ground to stand up and pull the weight to the starting position. You should feel the burn in your front leg.
- Pause for a few seconds then squeeze your glutes. That is a complete rep.
- Do as many reps as you desire.
DUMBBELL SINGLE-LEG DEADLIFT
The dumbbell single-leg deadlift works your lower body muscles with increased resistance since you only work a single leg at a go.
- Stand with your feet together, holding a weight in each of your hands. This is your starting position.
- Shift your bodyweight to your right leg as you maintain a slight bend in your right knee and raise your left leg behind your body.
- Hinge at your hips so that your torso is parallel to the ground, and lower the dumbbell to the floor.
- Keep your back flat.
- When you get to the bottom position, your upper body and left leg should be parallel (or almost) to the floor, with the dumbbell almost touching the floor.
- Keeping your core engaged, push through the right heel to stand upright and pull the dumbbell back to the starting position.
- Bring your left leg down so that it meets the right one, but try to keep most of your bodyweight in your right foot.
- Pause for a few seconds and squeeze your glutes. This is a complete rep.
- Do equal reps on both legs, as many times as you desire.
HAMSTRING BRIDGE MISTAKES TO AVOID
PRESSING THROUGH YOUR TOES
Use your heels to lift your hips instead of your toes.
When you press through your toes, you shift the tension from the hamstrings and glutes to your calves and quads, which then end up doing the most work.
NOT SQUEEZING YOUR GLUTES AND HAMSTRINGS
If you fail to squeeze your hamstrings and glutes at the top position, you automatically reduce the amount of time these muscles spend under tension, which in turn reduces the effectiveness of the exercise.
Strong hamstrings help you flex your knees and extend your hips to allow you to move your limbs comfortably as you go about your day-to-day activities.
These are muscles you should make sure as well tended to, and what better way to strengthen them than including the hamstring bridge in your lower body workout so that you work them as regularly as possible.
This movement not only requires no equipment to execute, but it is also suitable for beginners.
Why don’t you try it out the next time you are working your thighs and get to see these fantastic benefits for yourself!