A bridge is a fabulous foundational exercise to master. It specifically targets the glutes and core. The basic bridge is a great exercise if you suffer from low back pain as it helps you to improve spinal mobility and learn how to use your glutes to move your pelvis. I find clients also gain a better understanding into how to differentiate their lower back from their pelvis.
It is also a great exercise if you have hip or knee soreness as improving your glutes strength adds to your stability at your hip and knee.
A basic bridge, once mastered can then be easily progressed with or without equipment to a quite advanced exercise. Advanced options include single leg bridges, bridging on a roller, bridging on a swiss ball with weights.
- In a crook lying position, supine on the floor, feet hip width apart, arms relaxed by your sides, palms facing up.
- Feet should be drawn slightly closer to the bottom, (closer than in the above picture).
- Neutral lumbar spine.
- Breathe in then as you breathe out, Tilt the pelvis to flatten the lumbar spine into the floor.
- Squeeze the bottom muscles together.
- Then push into your heels and lift the bottom off the floor until the shoulders, hips and knees align.
- Pause, but keep squeezing the bottom muscles.
- Then breathe in as you slowly lower one vertebrae at a time until the tailbone touches the floor.
- Repeat x 6-8. 2-3 sets.
- The hamstrings should not be working hard. If they are, move your feet closer to your bottom (but not touching the bottom). Make sure you keep pressure into the heels throughout the bridge.
- Your lower back should not hurt. Do not lift the hips too high or you may lose your neutral back position and arch too far
- Relax your neck and shoulders. even though you are weight-bearing on your shoulders they should not end up near your ears.
- Don’t hold your breathe.
Make it Harder:
- Hold the elevated position for a count of 3 before slowly descending
- Increase the reps to x10 and do 3 sets
- In the elevated position, do alternating heel lifts. 3 each side before returning to the floor. Do 5 sets
- Progress to single leg bridges by moving one foot further from the bottom and then going through the basic bridge steps as above. You need to keep pressure into the heel that is closest to the bottom and maintain a level pelvis.Slowly move that one foot a little further out until you are ready to master single leg bridges (ie no hamstrings involvement or back pain)
- Once in the elevated bridge position, raise the right knee over the right hip and hold for the count of 3 before slowly lowering the right foot, with control and without losing your pelvis or lower back position, to the floor. Repeat with the left leg. Do 5 reps of each. Really important to keep pressure into the heel that is on the floor to keep your glutes working to maintain your position.
- Add in a roller, bridge on a roller or put the roller at your feet roller bridges