- Set yourself up as you would when you are performing regular glute bridges. Lie on your back on the floor. If it is more comfortable, you can rest your head on a foam yoga pad.
- Your shin should be kept in a relatively vertical position or else your hamstring will take over.
- Before you go, take a deep breath in through your nose (360 degrees of air around the spine), gently brace your core (2-3 out of 10 in terms of the intensity of the brace), actively tuck your ribs towards your hips (close the space in your midsection), and squeeze your glutes. This will dramatically increase your lumbo-pelvic stability and will help safeguard your back.
- Now lift your hips up by pressing through the mid-back portion of your foot (but keep all of your toes in contact with the ground) and squeezing your glutes, NOT by arching your lower back. This is extremely important. In the top position, your body should form a straight(ish) line from your knees to your shoulders. Keep your body in this position
- Extend your other leg so it is in a vertical position. Keep your knee straight, and point your toes towards you. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, your knee can remain in a more bent position, but keep your knee still.
- Keep your muscles in the lowering leg relatively relaxed as this will prevent the leg from dominating the movement, and will force the muscles of the anterior core to work harder.
- Before you perform the leg lowering movement, repeat the breathing, bracing, and rib tuck pattern that I described above. Now slowly lower your leg towards the ground while lightly exhaling through the duration of the movement. Go as low as you can while maintaining proper form, and bring your leg back to the starting position, slowly inhaling as you are doing so.
- Aside from your leg that is lowering, your entire body should remain in a fixed position. Failing to keep your body still is a sign of poor lumbo-pelvic stability.
- Your spine should remain in neutral(ish) alignment for the duration of the exercise. I used the word ''neutralish'' as there is no one definition of neutral. It varies from person to person. I like to use the canister analogy. Do not allow your lower back to hyperextend, or ribcage to flare. There should be no rotation occurring in your ribs, hips, or spine.
- Make sure to engage the glutes and anterior core on both sides of your body, as this will prevent your body from twisting, and your pelvis from collapsing on the side of the leg that is moving.
You can make this exercise easier by decreasing the range of the leg lowering movement, or by lowering your hips down to the floor between reps and giving your muscles a chance to rest.
You can make this exercise more challenging by increasing the range of the leg lowering movement, and by incorporating in a bottoms-up kettlebell hold.