Do you spend long days in a chair at a desk? Then read on, as this exercise can be especially beneficial for those who have to spend extended periods of time seated. Shoulder Bridge Leg Raises improve hip mobility and lower-back strength, which are two qualities that suffer when one habitually sits for too long.
Shoulder Bridge Leg Raises are a great addition to any warmup or interval, as they get your body heated up and your muscles loose.
This exercise can also be extremely beneficial for other athletes such as runners and high jumpers (or any sport that requires jumping). These specific activities all require a large amount of strength from your gluteal muscles – maximus, medius, and minimus – as well as your hamstrings.
What are Shoulder Bridge Leg Raises?
This exercise is a single leg raise which isolates the glute muscles and also incorporates your other posterior muscles for added intensity. It is performed one leg at a time.
What muscles do Shoulder Bridge Leg Raises target?
While Shoulder Bridge Leg Raises isolate and primarily strengthen your glutes and hamstrings, they can also be a great exercise to improve your core. This exercise works on your posture, abs, and glutes, and teaches you how to stabilize your shoulders.
How do I properly perform Shoulder Bridge Leg Raises?
To do a Shoulder Bridge Leg Raise (Left), start by lying on your back with your left knee bent and your right leg straight out in front of you.
Then lift your hips off the ground so that the left knee, hips, and shoulders are aligned. Keeping your right leg out straight, raise it until your right foot is above your hips, and control it on the way back down until your knees are at the same level. This counts as one repetition.
Always make sure that you keep your left foot on the ground and use your core to stabilize your upper body. Then repeat the same movements with the opposite leg.
In order to hold the pelvis level throughout the exercise, you need to contract both the abdominal and lower back muscles; this will help to stabilize your spine.
Remember that you can always check the tutorial videos in the Freeletics app to see this exercise demonstrated at full speed, half-speed, and from multiple angles.
Additional things to keep in mind when training
Common mistakes to avoid when doing Shoulder Bridge Leg Raises
As with any exercise, there are common mistakes that people make. For the Shoulder Bridge Leg Raise, the first is arching your back. As you raise your leg and hips, you have to ensure that your back does not arch. You should be lifting from your glutes and hamstrings, not from your back muscles.
The second mistake is that people often sag or rotate at the hips. You should have a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. To ensure that you keep your hips level, place your hands on your hips. If you find that you are still sagging or rotating your hips, then resort back to Hip Raises (both feet on the floor) until your strength has built up.
Are you struggling with Shoulder Bridge Leg Raises?
If you are a beginner, start by including the Shoulder Bridge Leg Raises 2-3 times a week with no weights. As you build your strength and master the movement, you can start adding weights.
The key thing is to make sure you are not overdoing it and listening to your body in order to help build those glutes and allowing time to recover.
...or are you finding them too easy?
The Shoulder Bridge Leg Raises can be done in a number of variations depending on your fitness levels and goals. If you want to challenge yourself you could try adding a dumbbell or medicine ball weight and rest it on your hips as you do the exercise.
Alternatively, you could add ankle weights. If you choose not to use any weights, aim for three sets of 15 to 20 reps. If adding weights, lower that to 10-12 reps. Rest for 30 seconds between each set.
It will also be beneficial to pair this exercise with counter-movements, like a Plank to lessen the pressure put on your glutes, or do all three sets focusing purely on other leg and butt exercises.
Exercise overview by David Weiner, Training and Nutrition Specialist