Frog Pumps: What to Know About This Under-the-Radar Move
Before you question our editing skills, the title here isn’t a typo: Frog jumps are the froggy exercise you’ve probably heard of, but frog pumps exist, too—and we’re telling you all about them!
Unlike frog jumps, frog pumps are a move that requires no jumping at all, but they do have that same unique positioning of legs that appear amphibian in placement. You perform frog pumps while lying on the floor or a mat, and you use only your own body weight. Because of this, they’re an accessible move that can be done by most people, including beginners. Curious to learn more? We tapped two trainers to clue us in on this move, from the benefits of frog pumps to how to properly perform them. Ahead, we’ll help you learn everything you need to know about frog pumps.
What Are Frog Pumps?
Frog pumps are in the glute bridge exercise family. They’re a bit different from a regular glute bridge, though. Katelyn DiGiorgio says that “in a typical glute bridge exercise, the soles of your feet are planted in the floor. In the frog pump variations, the soles of your feet are pressed together and your knees are pressed out wide.” Kelly Collins refers to them as a glute “activation” exercise, and unlike some other glute exercises, with frog pumps you can very specifically feel your glutes working.
Benefits of Frog Pumps
- They require no equipment and are low-impact.
- They strengthen your glutes and hamstrings. DiGiorgio says that “the frog pump exercise strengthens both gluteal and hamstring groups and takes the hip joint through a full range of motion.”
- Frog pumps help you get in touch with your glutes. Collins explains that they “are a great exercise for anyone struggling to fire their glutes through hip thrusts or squats.”
- They work your back and help improve your posture. DiGiorgio says that “full hip extension strengthens the erector spinae and latissimus dorsi, muscle groups that support back strength and ultimately proper posture.”
- Your abs get a workout, too. “The transverse abdominis also contracts isometrically to stabilize the work, and your abductor muscles are engaged to externally rotate your hip muscles,” says DiGiorgio.
- Your hips become more mobile, which is helpful in everyday life. DiGiorgio says that “performing this movement will help you improve overall hip mobility. The strength the exercises build in the glute muscles can help improve balance and complete everyday tasks with greater ease.”
Proper Frog Pump Form
- Lie on the floor or a mat, on your back. DiGiorgio instructs you to keep your arms long at your sides, and Collins says you should have “your lower back pressed into the ground and a slight tuck of your chin.”
- Bring the soles of your feet together until they touch one another. In turn, DiGiorgio says that “your knees will fall wide.” Collins says that your legs should resemble a butterfly position.
- From here, lift into a glute bridge position. It will feel different than a standard glute bridge, because instead of being flat on the floor, your feet are touching one another. DiGiorgio says to be sure to keep your upper back pressed into the floor as you lift up.
- Slowly lower your glutes back to the floor, and repeat. Start with a set of 10 repetitions, and work your way up from there. DiGiorgio says that ideally you will “repeat the up and down movement at varying tempos for 1–3 minutes.”
How to Modify
The most basic modification for frog pumps would be a standard glute bridge. DiGiorgio says that “if you feel pressure in your knees or limited mobility in your hips, a modification for a frog pump would be a traditional glute bridge. Rather than placing the soles of your feet together and externally rotating your knees open from your hips, place the soles of your feet hip-width apart and parallel into the floor.” She says that a standard glute bridge instead of frog pumps are a good modification because “the traditional glute bridge position requires less flexibility in the hips.”
Reducing your range of motion is another option for modifying frog pumps. Collins suggests doing this “if you have any limitations or difficulties performing the move.” That can involve either not lifting your glutes all the way up, or not lowering them all the way down with each lift, depending on where your discomfort is.
A third option is to place your feet somewhere in between a frog pump and a standard glute bridge. You can try placing your feet close to each other without touching soles, which will give you some of the “butterfly” leg opening effect while still relying on your feet for stability rather than sacrificing that element to the more difficult version.
As they don’t require equipment and aren’t a high-impact move, frog pumps are not exercises that only advanced exercisers can do. “Frog pumps are generally an accessible, safe, and effective exercise for most people,” says DiGiorgio, but she notes that people with certain injuries should avoid the move.
It requires a strong amount of flexibility in your hips and knees, so it might be difficult for you to perform them if you aren’t flexible in your hips. You should also avoid this exercise if you have hip or knee problems. “If mobility in the hip or knee joint is limited and the frog position with the feet together and knees externally doesn’t feel right, opt for the narrow traditional glute bridge stance instead,” says DiGiorgio.
Additionally, Collins recommends avoiding this move if you have any lower-back issues. Because traditional glute bridges may also aggravate lower-back injuries, that modification should be avoided, and safer glute exercises that don’t involve your back as much should be considered. Instead, try a move that involves your full lower body, such as lunges and their many variations.
The Final Takeaway
Frog pumps may not be as mainstream a move as frog jumps are, but this exercise’s many benefits make it worth including in your workout. The benefits include exercising your glutes in a way you can really feel, stabilizing and strengthening your back, and even working your abs and hamstrings. Because they’re a a body-weight exercise, frog pumps don’t require equipment and they don’t involve any impact.
While they’re safe for most people, they should be avoided by anyone with hip, knee, or lower-back issues. Frog pumps are a modified version of glute bridges, so if they seem a bit too tough for you at first, start with a simple glute bridge and work your way up to them. For anyone who is already familiar with glute bridges and can comfortably do them, we recommend trying frog pumps to help take your glutes to the next level.