Level: Beginner, Intermediate, AdvancedThis basic bridge, in supine on a Roller, focuses on deep abdominal and glutes recruitment. It is also fabulous for lumbar spine mobility and upper body awareness. It can be easily progressed from a beginner through to an advanced exercise. NB If you suffer from neck pain, try this exercise without the roller first. This is to ensure that you can keep your neck relaxed whilst weight-bearing through the shoulders. Once mastered it is also a great way to get a fabulous longitudinal stretch at the cervico-thoracic junction, where the spinal curve changes and many large neck muscles attach. In the video below Samantha demonstrates a basic bridge on the roller and then adds bent knee fall out with resistance in the bridge. It is worth noting that Sam has some difficulty with her lumbar spine mobility. This would be a great exercise for her to continue doing! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOlB5lsYWng
- Supine on the roller with knees bent and knees and feet hip width apart, (see basic set up)
- Ankles should line up with knees (side view).
- Lumbar spine should be in a neutral position.
- Chin slightly tucked, neck lengthened, shoulder blades slightly contracted.
- Forearms resting lightly on the floor beside the roller.
- Breathe in and tilt pelvis so that lower back flattens towards the roller, squeeze your bottom muscles and then
- Breathe out, push into your heels and roll body up off the roller, one vertebra at a time, lifting your pelvis until your hips are aligned with your knees and shoulders (side view),
- Pause, then return to your starting position by slowly lowering your spine one vertebrae at a time back onto the roller,
- Repeat x10. 2-3 sets.
- maintain buttock contraction throughout exercise,
- you should not feel hamstrings (backs of thighs) or lower back working at all; bring feet slightly closer to the end of the roller if you are having difficulty turning off hamstrings,
- make sure neck and shoulders remain relaxed throughout; turn palms of hands towards ceiling if neck wants to turn on,
- breathe normally into diaphragm throughout exercise.
- try to keep your pelvis level,
- don’t lift too high or arch through the thoracic spine or ‘pop’ your ribs.
Make it Harder:
- use only elbow support on the floor,
- cross arms across chest (ie no floor support),
- add a resistance band at your knees and do bent knee fallouts in a bridge position (as in the video above),
- hold the elevated bridge position for 5 – 10 seconds before lowering,
- maintain an elevated bridge position and perform alternating heel lifts,
- hold the elevated bridge position and lift one knee over hip for 3-5 seconds, so that it becomes a single leg bridge
- from a single leg bridge position, extend the elevated leg and lower until it is in line with the other thigh and then return. Repeat x 3-5 and do on the other side,
- try the bridge with a roller under your feet (advanced bridging)