Exercise of the Week: 1-leg Supine Bridge with Hamstrings Catch
Written on January 24, 2022 at 3:29 pm, by Eric Cressey
Today’s guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance – Massachusetts coach, Josh Zall.
The 1-Leg Supine Bridge with Hamstrings Catch is an exercise we’ve been prescribing more frequently of late with a lot of our more advanced athletes at Cressey Sports Performance. A dynamic “drop-catch” offers an array of benefits for all athletes regardless of their chosen athletic endeavor.
When an athlete who is young, untrained, or generally hypermobile dives into this movement without the ability to adequately decelerate, it can be too challenging to drive a valuable adaptation. For an exercise that starts in a static position and quickly transitions into a dynamic movement that requires coordination, making sure the athlete is proficient in general hamstring strength and motor control is key.
The ability to get into and hold a single-leg bridge is the only true prerequisite for prescribing this movement in a program.
The exposure to a co-contraction is one of the biggest prizes of this movement. A co-contraction is a simultaneous contraction of the agonist and antagonist muscles to stabilize a joint against opposing forces, and the ability to create a co-contraction is a key for joint and connective tissue health for athletes. With hamstring strains plaguing athletes of all sports, having the ability to create a unilateral co-contraction and create concentric activity with the hamstring in a lengthened position is vital for lower limb health (think initial contact and take-off phase of a sprint; front foot strike in a pitcher’s delivery; or any side shuffles).
Something important to keep in mind is that co-contractions are not a central nervous system phenomenon, so exposing your body to situations where you need to co-contract while fatigued is important for connective tissue health. With that being said, this is an exercise that I typically program for an athlete as accessory work or in a movement (sprint/agility) day in their program – usually for 4-8 reps per set.
A simple way to regress to this movement would be to not allow for excessive knee extension on the catch. The opposite would be true when progressing this movement — “catching” at end-range or close to end-range knee extension would increase the difficulty.
About the Author
Josh Zall serves as a Strength and Conditioning coach at Cressey Sports Performance. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport and Movement Science at Salem State University, and has internship coaching experience from both CSP-MA and Saint John’s Preparatory Academy in Danvers, MA.
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