Use the Bridge Exercise for Lean Legs and a Sexy Butt
The bridge exercise (hip raise) uses your body weight to effectively strengthen and tone your butt and hamstrings. This super convenient exercise which you can do almost anywhere, also works your hips and core muscles and is especially good for individuals with overly tight hips and/or hamstrings.
Many of us get those tight hips from everyday activities such as sitting in front of a computer or a steering wheel. Over time, this will cause poor posture and consistent lower back pain.
Fortunetly hip raising movements like the bridge can re-align your neck, hips, and spine with the rest of your body. And, because your legs and butt are such big muscles, these exercises burn tons of calories.
The bridge is a favorite core exercise for tightening leg muscles, lifting the butt, and opening up the hip flexors.
Lay on your back with your hands by your sides, your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Pull your feet back under your knees as far back as possible and then raise your hips in a fast explosive motion upward.
Once you are at the top, squeeze your butt and legs tightly, pause for a five count and then release back down slowly.
Kim Demonstrating the Bridge
By staying aware and engaging your abs, butt and legs when doing this hip raise, you will strengthen and tone all of your lower body muscles faster.
When you add free weights like dumbbells to the bridge exercise, you increase the intensity of the routine with the added resistance.
Kim Demonstrating the Weighted Bridge
Bridge on Fitness Ball
Lie with your back on the floor and calves on the ball, legs extended straight. Lift your hips off the ground until your body forms a straight line from your heels to your shoulders.
Keep your abs tight, bend your knees and slowly roll the ball toward you until your feet are flat on top of the ball. Return to starting position. Repeat for desired number of reps.
Kim Demonstrating the Exercise Ball Bridge
The tighter you engage the muscles in your lower body, the more strength and calorie burning benefits this exercise will provide.
For a fun twist, when you are extended in the bridge position with your hips off of the floor, try and slowly extend one leg into the air following the line of your body.
While this is typically a body weight exercise done without any fitness equipment, for an added challenge you can try this exercise while holding a dumbbell across your midsection for additional resistance.
Benefits of the Bridge Exercise
Hip pain can start for many reasons and one of the best ways to stay ahead of the issue is to provide stability and mobilization to the hip joints with exercises like the bridge.
Few exercises can tone your abs, butt, hips, and legs like hip raises. As simple as this exercise looks, it is one of the most effective core strength exercises available to you.
Like many core and yoga exercise routines, there is no equipment needed for this body weight exercise. You can do it anywhere you have a flat surface.
This can be a progressive type exercise. You can make it more challenging and increase additional strength benefits by holding your position longer and by adding dumbbell weights.
I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.