16 Effective Bridge Exercises And Their Benefits

Flaunt a beautifully toned lower body with some simple, at-home stretches and flexes.

Reviewed by Dr. Sudhansu Singh, BPT Dr. Sudhansu Singh Dr. Sudhansu SinghBPT facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_icon
Written by , MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Charushila Biswas MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist linkedin_icon Experience: 6 years
Edited by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health linkedin_icon Experience: 8 years
Fact-checked by , MSc (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach Payal Karnik MSc (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 2.5 years
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Bridge exercise is an excellent strength training exercise as it strengthens and tones glutes, lower back, and the core. It is popular among people who practice yoga poses and pilates exercises. However, you can also do it at home or at the gym. This full-body workout will help improve your lower body flexibility, balance, and coordination. All you need is a mat, weights (optional), and 15-20 minutes of your time. Irrespective of your age, gender, genes, etc., you can do bridge exercise and get a toned lower body. Check out these 16 best bridge exercises and their benefits. Adding them to your fitness routines and performing them regularly can help boost your health in the long run.

protip_icon Workout Blueprint: Bridge Exercises
  • Frequency: Daily
  • Benefits: Boost lower body flexibility, strength, balance, and coordination.
  • Equipment Needed: Mat, chair, dumbbell, weight plate, and an exercise ball.
  • Space Required: Big area for some exercises.
  • Assistance Required: Yes, for certain exercises.
  • Who Should Avoid: Anyone with a hip injury, herniated disc, osteoporosis, acute back pain, or who has recently undergone surgery.

Top 16 Bridge Exercises/Workouts

1. Hip Bridge Exercise

Hip bridge exercise
Image: YouTube @howcast

Target – Glutes, core, and hamstrings.

Steps To Do Hip Bridge

  1. Lie on your back. Keep your hands by your side, and palms flat on the floor.
  2. Flex your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground.
  3. Keeping your core engaged, push your butt towards the ceiling. Your chest should be off the ground. Balance your body on your feet and the back of your shoulders.
  4. Hold for 3 seconds and then lower your body. Don’t forget to breathe in and out when you hold the bridge.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

2. Glute Bridge March

Glute bridge march exercise
Image: YouTube @howcast

Target Glutes, abs, lower back, quads, and hamstrings.

Steps To Do Glute Bridge March

  1. Lie on your back, bend your knees, and support your lower body on your heels.
  2. Keep your arms by your side, and palms flat on the ground.
  3. Push your hips, middle, and lower back up towards the ceiling.
  4. Lift your right leg and bring the right knee close to your abs.
  5. Lower it back and then lift your left leg.

In the same vein, Lesley Rowald, a blogger, opted for a no-equipment workout plan and did 100 glute bridges for 30 days in a row. Talking about her experience, she said, “Thoroughly impressed by the roundness and tight-appearance of my day-30 glutes. I knew that I’d see slightly more lifted buttocks when I compared the before and after (i).” The blogger maintained the same diet all through her 30-day workout challenge, ate protein snacks post-workout session, and drank lots of water throughout the day.

Note: Keep your core engaged and don’t allow your pelvis to drop on any side.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

3. Single Leg Bridge Ups

Single leg bridge ups exercise
Image: YouTube @TheQueenofLeanhq

Target – Glutes, abs, lower back, and hamstrings.

Steps To Do Single Leg Bridge Ups

  1. Lie on your back. Keep your arms open, and palms facing the ceiling.
  2. Flex your knees, place your heels on the ground, and engage your core.
  3. Push your hips up and get into a bridge pose.
  4. Lift your right leg and fully extend it, forming a 45-degree angle with the floor.
  5. Hold this position for the next 3 seconds. Lower your buttocks without flexing your knee.
  6. Repeat with the right leg 9 times more before switching to the left leg.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 12 reps

4. Tricep Dip And Reverse Bridge

Tricep dip and reverse bridge exercise
Image: YouTube @WomensHealthMag

Target – Glutes, abs, lower back, triceps, shoulders, and hamstrings.

Steps To Do Tricep Dip And Reverse Bridge

  1. Sit on the floor. Place your palms flat on the mat, behind you, and balance your feet on the heels. Keep your shoulders rolled back, and back straight.
  2. Supporting your body on your palms and heels, lift your buttocks a little. Do not assume the bridge pose yet.
  3. Flex your elbows and lower your hips to do a tricep dip. Then, push your hips up towards the ceiling, bringing them in line with your torso, and tilt your head back.
  4. Hold this position for 2-3 seconds. Lower your hips and do a tricep dip.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 12 reps

5. Single Sky Bridge

Single sky bridge exercise
Image: YouTube @faithfitness4728

Target – Glutes, abs, lower back, and hamstrings.

Steps To Do Single Sky Bridge

  1. Lie down on your back and keep your arms by the side, and palms flat on the mat.
  2. Place both your legs, fully extended, on a chair.
  3. Lift your hips up towards the ceiling and assume the bridge pose.
  4. Lift your right leg off the chair. Hold it at 90 degrees with the floor, and lower your hips till they touch the floor. Hold the pose for a second and then raise your hips.
  5. Do this 12 times before switching legs.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 12 reps

6. Shoulder Bridge

Shoulder bridge exercise
Image: YouTube @howcast

Target – Glutes, abs, lower back, calves, and hamstrings.

Steps To Do Shoulder Bridge

  1. Lie down on your back. Place your arms by the side, and palms flat on the mat.
  2. Flex your knees and keep your feet flat on the mat.
  3. Raise your hips towards the ceiling and then bring your right knee towards your chest. Extend your right leg straight up, flex your heels, and lower your right leg until the right knee is at the same level as the left.
  4. Hold this pose for a second and then bring your right leg back.
  5. Do this 10 times before switching to the left leg.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

protip_icon Quick Tip
Avoid doing bridge exercises if you have back, hip, or knee problems, or have an abdominal hernia for injury prevention, or are in the final stages of pregnancy.

7. Bridge Chest Press

Bridge chest press exercise
Image: YouTube @rblankfield

Target – Glutes, abs, lower back, chest, and shoulders.

Steps To Do Bridge Chest Press

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie down on the mat. Keep your knees flexed and feet flat on the mat. Extend your hands directly above your chest with the palms facing out.
  2. Lift your hips towards the ceiling. Take your time to stabilize your body on your feet and the back of your shoulders.
  3. Flex your elbows and slowly lower your arms, drawing an imaginary inverted ‘V’ until the dumbbells reach the side of your chest. Hold it for a second.
  4. Slowly bring the dumbbells directly above your chest, again following the imaginary inverted ‘V’.
  5. Do this 10 times before lowering your hips.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

8. Weighted Glute Bridge

Weighted glute bridge exercise
Image: YouTube @rblankfield

Target – Glutes, abs, and lower back.

Steps To Do Weighted Glute Bridge 

  1. Lie down on the floor. Keep your legs shoulder-width apart, knees flexed, and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Hold a weight plate with both your hands and rest it on your belly, near your groin area.
  3. Push your hips up towards the ceiling and hold this pose for 3 seconds.
  4. Lower your hips and lift your hips again.

 Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 12 reps

9. Stability Ball Bridge Exercise

Stability ball bridge exercise
Image: YouTube @BiancaRomeo

Target – Glutes, abs, lower back, and hamstrings.

Steps To Do Stability Ball Bridge Exercise

  1. Sit on top of a stability or gym ball.
  2. Walk forward until your shoulders and head rest on the ball. Keep your legs hip-width apart, femur at 90 degrees with the shin, and feet flat on the ground.
  3. Lower your hips and raise them to a bridge pose to complete one rep of the stability ball bridge.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 12 reps

Tip: If you don’t have a stability ball, use a mid-rise platform to rest your shoulders and head and do this exercise.

10. Decline Stability Ball Bridge

Decline stability ball bridge exercise
Image: YouTube @LauralondonFitness

Target – Glutes, abs, lower back, and hamstrings.

Steps To Do decline Stability Ball Bridge Exercise

  1. Lie down on a mat and place your heels on the top center of a stability ball. Keep your hands by your side, palms flat on the floor, and look straight up.
  2. Lift your hips towards the ceiling. Hold this pose for a second and lower your hips to complete one rep of the decline stability ball bridge.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 12 reps

Tip: If you don’t have a stability ball, use a mid-rise platform to rest your heels.

11. Stability Ball Hamstring Curl

Stability ball hamstring curl bridge exercise
Image: YouTube @oxygenmagazine1273

Target – Glutes, abs, hamstrings, and lower back.

Steps To Do Stability Ball Hamstring Curl

  1. Lie down on a mat. Keep your heels up on the stability ball and palms flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your hips and get into a decline gym ball bridge pose. This is the starting position.
  3. Flex your knees and draw the stability ball closer to you without lowering your hips. Your knees should face the ceiling.
  4. Roll the ball away and get back to the starting position.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

12. Single Leg Stability Ball Hamstring Curl

Single leg stability ball hamstring curl bridge exercise
Image: YouTube @flabstofitness

Target – Glutes, abs, hamstrings, and lower back.

Steps To Do Single Leg Stability Ball Hamstring Curl

  1. Lie down on a mat. Place your heels up on the stability ball, and palms flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your hips and get into a decline gym ball bridge pose. Flex your right knee, lift it off the stability ball, and bring it closer to your abs. This is the starting position.
  3. Flex your left knee and draw the stability ball closer to you without lowering your hips or extending your right leg.
  4. Roll the ball away and get back to the starting position.
  5. Do this 7-10 times before switching legs.

 Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 7-10 reps

13. Folded Single Leg Glute Bridge

Folded single leg glute bridge exercise
Image: YouTube @GirlsGoneStrong

Target – Glutes, abs, and lower back.

Steps To Do Folded Single Leg Glute Bridge

  1. Lie down on the floor with the knees flexed and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your left leg and hold the knee with both your hands to draw it closer to your chest.
  3. Push your buttocks up toward the ceiling. Hold it for a second.
  4. Lower your hips and again push them up.
  5. Do it 10 times before switching legs.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 12 reps

14. Reverse Bridge (With Variation)

Reverse bridge exercise with variation
Image: YouTube @enduranceworks

Target – Glutes, abs, chest, shoulders, obliques, and lower back.

Steps To Do Reverse Bridge (With Variation)

  1. Sit on the mat with your legs shoulder-width apart and feet flat on the mat. Place your hands behind your body, palms flat on the mat, and fingers pointing away from your body.
  2. Lift your hips towards the ceiling. Lift your left hand off the mat, keeping it fully extended, twist slightly on your right and reach for the ceiling.
  3. Slowly bring your left hand back to the floor.
  4. Lift your right hand, twist slightly on your left, and try to reach the ceiling.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

protip_icon Quick Tip
Allowing the hips to sag and raising them too high are common postural mistakes one can make while practicing bridge exercises.

15. Side Bridge Elbow To Knee

Side bridge exercise from elbow to knee
Image: YouTube @reachfitrachel

Target – Glutes, quadriceps, abs, chest, shoulders, and lower back.

Steps To Do Side Bridge Elbow To Knee

  1. Lie on your left and support your upper body by flexing your elbow and keep it directly below your shoulders. Your forearm should be at 90 degrees with the upper arm, and fingers pointing forward. Keep your right foot on top of the left.
  2. Push your hips up toward the ceiling and balance your body on the outer part of your left foot and the left elbow.
  3. Extend your right arm straight back over your head. This is your starting position.
  4. Flex your right elbow and right knee and bring them closer.
  5. Hold it for a moment before going back to the starting position.
  6. Do 12 reps before switching sides.

 Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 12 reps

16. Bridge With Resistance Band

Image Alt Text: Bridge with resistance band
Image: Shutterstock

Target – Gluteal muscles, lower back, hamstrings, and thighs

Steps To Do Bridge With Resistance Band
1. Lie down with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Wrap a resistance band around your knees.
2. Place your arms on the sides with the palms facing down.
3. Form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
4. Activate your core muscles, contract your glutes, and push your hips upward.
5. Hold the bridge position briefly and lower your hips till they are just slightly above the floor.
6. Do the required repetitions while maintaining proper form and engaging the required muscles.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions

These are the best and effective bridge exercises. But the question is, why should you do these exercises? Find out next.

Benefits Of Bridge Exercises

  • Core strengthening.
  • Improve stamina and stability.
  • Posture improvement.
  • Reduce knee and back pain.
  • Tone the lower body.

Infographic: Top 5 Bridge Exercises For A Toned Lower Body

Bridge exercises have always been a favorite of gym trainers and enthusiasts, thanks to their versatility and effectiveness. These are ideal for those leading sedentary lifestyles or experiencing the negative effects of sedentary jobs. From strengthening the glutes and hamstrings to toning the abs, bridge exercises can help in multiple ways. In the infographic below, we have listed the top 5 bridge exercises you can do in the comfort of your home. Check them out.

top 5 bridge exercises for a toned lower body(infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Bridge exercises are a full-body workout that primarily strengthen and tone your lower body to improve your balance, flexibility, and posture, so it is also considered a balance exercise. They work on your glutes, hamstrings, core, lower back, quads, shoulders, triceps, calves, chest, and obliques. Doing these exercises regularly also improves your athletic conditioning by enhancing your stamina and stability. The best thing about them is that these exercises can be done at home or gym, with little to no equipment needed. So, include them in your exercise regimen to build a stronger you. However, consult a physiotherapist or doctor if you have any existing injuries before starting this workout.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which muscles do bridges work?

Bridges target the biceps femoris, gracilis, semitendinosus, gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and rectus abdominis. They are also considered one of the best glute exercises.

What happens when you do bridges every day?

Doing daily bridges helps stabilize the lumbar region and helps in deep abdominal muscle activation (1).

Is bridge exercise good for your back?

Yes. Bridge exercises are good lower back exercises as they can help strengthen the lower back muscles.

Key Takeaways

  • Bridge exercises focus on the glutes, lower back, and core.
  • They do not require gym machinery and are doable anywhere, any time, with an exercise mat. The recommended count is three sets of 10-12 repetitions.
  • Some exercises, like the bridge chest press and weighted glute, require dumbells. Some bridge exercises utilize a gym ball, and you can resort to a mid-rise platform instead of the ball.
  • Bridge exercises strengthen the muscles, improve stability, and alleviate knee and back pain.
bridge exercise

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

Watch this video and learn how to do bridging exercises to strengthen your core and improve your posture. Get tips on proper form and technique.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. The effects of the continuous bridge exercise on the thickness of abdominal muscles
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6047969/
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Dr. Sudhansu Singh is a Physiotherapist, Sports and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, and Neuro Physiotherapist with 8 years of experience. He is a member of the Federation of Indian Manual Therapists (FIMT) and an active member of the Delhi Council of Physiotherapy and FIMT Australia Association. Dr. Singh earned his Bachelor's degree in Physiotherapy from Padmashree Institute of Physiotherapy, Bangalore, Rajiv Gandhi...read full bio

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