Single Glute Leg Bridge

Legs Bums and Tums Workout

By Christina Macdonald Personal Trainer
Workout by Mark Hatfield Conditioning Coach

The lower body is home to some of the biggest muscles in your body so working these not only gives you the shape you’re looking for but also, with muscle being a tissue that burns calories, gives you a bit of a boost in the fat burning department. And a little extra work on the tum can’t be a bad thing!

We’ve taken a slightly different approach on this workout in that we’re bringing a lot of single leg work in to the mix.

You’ve probably done exercises like Leg Presses, Lunges, Squats and Inner/Outer Thigh machines. These are a great base for developing a good lower body and shouldn’t be taken as an either/or scenario but as a compliment to one another.

The benefit of single leg work is in its challenge on the stabilising muscles to control what’s going on at the joints.

Namely, your inner and outer thigh muscles are going to be working hard on every single-leg exercise you do in this workout.

Balance should not get in the way of working out at a high intensity.

If you are spending more time worrying about balancing than you are working hard, then it’s best to remember that most of these exercises can be done on two legs.

Just add a little extra weight if you use both legs to keep the moves challenging. Practice your balance and then try again with the single leg options when you feel ready.

The workout

As most of these exercises work on each side independently, the rest times between sets are going to be limited at around 30 seconds. When you’re working one side, the other is getting a breather from the movement, even though it might still be working in a different way.

The workout has been structured in a specific way: the first two exercises are great for getting things moving and connected, helping you focus on feeling the muscles work.

The next three are where you should be pushing hard and your balance will be challenged.

As your stabilising muscles will be fatigued making balancing harder, the last two exercises take you back to a stable base at the end so you can keep pushing hard to the finish.

Complete the workout twice a week. Do two to three sets of the exercise specific repetitions on all exercises.

As a guide, if on your last set of an exercise, you can do two more reps for two consecutive workouts, it’s time to make it more challenging by either increasing the weight or increasing the range of movement.

Donkey Kick and Crunch

Donkey Kick and Crunch

(Glutes – Abs – Obliques) – 12-15 reps each side

  • Position yourself on hands and knees with hands beneath shoulders and knees beneath hips
  • Lift one arm out in front and push your opposite heel towards the ceiling
  • Pull them both back under as if you were trying to touch your elbow to your knee

Technique Tip: Think about making the space between your ribs bigger as you lift and smaller as you squeeze under.

Single Leg Glute Bridge

Single Leg Glute Bridge

(Glutes – Hamstring – Lower Back) – 6-10 reps each side

  • Lay on your back with your heels close to your bottom
  • Keep both feet on the floor and push your hips high
  • Take one foot from the floor and straighten your leg
  • Raise and lower your hips, keeping your foot raised and leg out straight

Technique Tip: If raising and lowering on one leg is too hard, lift your hips with both feet down, take one foot off and lower with one.

Curtsey Squats

Curtsey Squats

(Glutes – Front of Thigh) – 12-15 reps each side

  • Start standing tall with feet around hip width apart
  • Take a step back and across behind your front leg
  • Bend both knees and lower slowly towards the floor
  • Push the front leg into the floor lifting you back to the start position

Technique Tip: Imagine a straight line going behind you from your front heel. Your back foot should only just cross over to the other side of that line.

Single Leg RDL

Single Leg RDL

(Glutes – Hamstring – Lower Back) – 6-10 reps each side

  • Start by shifting most of your weight in to your front foot
  • Soften the knee and push the hips back so your torso tilts forwards
  • Feel the stretch in the back of the thigh as you tilt forwards
  • Lift back to the start position, lightly using the back foot for balance if you need it

Technique Tip: Balance is the biggest challenge here. If that’s limiting your intensity, create the same movement but with both feet on the floor. And a bit more weight!

Assisted King Squats

Assisted King Squats

(Front of Thigh – Inner Thigh – Glutes) – 12-15 reps each side

  • Position yourself in front of a solid object such as a chair or if in a gym, the frame of a machine or straps
  • Lightly holding the support, take on foot of the floor, bend the knee and push the hip back
  • Use the support to pull against as much as you need and push your foot into the floor, straightening your leg

Technique Tip: Use the assistance as little as possible to really work the leg. As you get stronger, try just using your fingertips and then reduce that down to just one or two fingers.

Abdominal Towel Slides

Abdominal Towel Slides

(Abs – Back of Arms) – 6-10 reps + 2 second pause at the end

  • On a wooden/polished floor, position your hands on the towel approximately shoulder width apart
  • Slowly allow the tile to slide away under your control
  • Let your hips come down and feel the tension increase in your abs
  • Tighten your torso and squeeze your elbows towards your ribs as if you were trying to burst a balloon
  • Pull the towel back in so it’s just in front of your shoulders

Technique Tip: This is tough. An inch further out makes a huge difference. If you struggle to get back, push the hips back first and follow with the arms. Really focus on controlling your torso on the lowering phase to make the most of this one.

Hamstring Towel Slides

Hamstring Towel Slides

(Back of Thighs – Glute – Lower Back) – 6-10 reps

  • Lay on your back with your heels close to your bottom
  • Position both feet on the towel and push your hips high
  • Slowly, slide your feet and towel forwards from you under your hips
  • Feel the tension in the back of the thighs and pull the towel back under your hips

Technique Tip: This is tough. An inch further out makes a huge difference. If you struggle to get back, push the hips back first and follow with the arms. Really focus on controlling your torso on the lowering phase to make the most of this one.

About the trainer:

Mark Hatfield is a highly-experienced conditioning coach who has been training clients for the past 19 years and is the owner of Fluid Coaching. He’s also the Fitness Academy Trainer for Nuffield Health, where he trains personal trainers to be their best.

Mark Hatfield @fitnessxl is the Fitness Acadamy Trainer for Nuffield Health where he trains personal trainers to be their best. He is has been training clients for the past 19 years and is the owner of Fluid Coaching.

Photos: Eddie Macdonald | Workout model: Kristen @ MOT Models

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