What is bridges exercise

The basic bridge strengthens the gluteal muscles (buttocks) and hamstrings (back of the thigh) while improving core stability. Learn more about bridges exercise.

It is easy to add to a strength training session, can be used as a warm-up, and is even a good rehabilitation exercise to improve core and spinal stabilization.

How to make a basic bridge

Lie on the floor, on your back. Have your hands at your sides, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor below your knees.

  • Tighten your core and glute muscles by pushing your lower back to the ground.
  • Raise your hips to make a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
  • Squeeze the core and pull the navel back towards the spine.
  • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Lower your hips to the starting position.

Benefits of Basic Bridges

If you are looking for a move to add to your core and butt strength workout routine, the basic bridge is a great place to start.

A basic bridge extends the stabilizers to the posterior chain, including the hip abductors, gluteus maximus, and hamstrings. When the bridge antagonist stabilizers move, the rectus abdominis, obliques, and quadriceps get a workout as they maintain stability.

Your strength and power will generally improve as these muscle groups become more muscular. A strong core will also improve your posture and help relieve low back pain. As long as you are in good shape, bridge exercises are generally safe for people with chronic back problems and can even help with pain management.5

Other variants of a basic bridge

There are other ways to do a basic bridge exercise, depending on your fitness level and training goals.

Elevated feet bridge

Try the elevated bridge if you prefer to do the basic bridge with a bit of support under your feet. For this variant, you need an inflatable exercise ball.

  • Start in the starting position for the base bridge with the exercise ball at your feet.
  • Have your heels on top of the ball.
  • Raise the pelvis as you would in the base bridge.
  • Keep the core engaged throughout the movement.

Straightened legs bridge

Another version is the straight-legged bridge. Although it is usually a challenge to perform the bridge with straight legs instead of bent knees, it can make adding an exercise ball to support the legs a little easier.

Single leg bridge

If you want to take the basic bridge up a level, try the single-leg bridge – either with or without an exercise ball. This option activates your trunk muscles better.1

  • Start at the starting position for a basic bridge.
  • Lift your left leg while raising your pelvis.
  • Hold for a few seconds. Lower your hips back to the floor, raising your leg.
  • Switch to the right side.

Single leg bridge with lowered legs

This exercise gives the single-leg bridge even more intensity by including leg movement while the pelvis is raised.

  • Start at the starting position for a basic bridge.
  • Lift your left leg while raising your pelvis.
  • Lower your left leg until a few inches above the floor while raising your pelvis.
  • Lift your leg again and hold before lowering your hips back to the floor.
  • Switch to the right side.

Bridge March

Next time, try the bridge march if you’re getting bored with the basics and have mastered the one-legged bridge.

  • Start at the starting position for a basic bridge.
  • When raising the pelvis, lift the left leg and bring the knee close to the core.
  • Lower the left leg down again, lift the right leg, and bring the knee to the abdomen.

Common mistakes performing bridge

Avoid these postural problems when performing a basic bridge:

  • Lift your hips too high
  • Avoid raising your hips too high, as hyperextension of the lumbar spine can lead to strain. Keeping your stomach engaged will ensure that you do not bend your back too much.

Allows the hips to sink

If you notice that your hips are falling while trying to hold the bridge position, lower your pelvis back to the floor. When you first start, you may need to keep the bridge position for just a few seconds at a time until you build up strength.

Related articles:

Best core exercise for runners

Exercise to strengthen gluteus maximus


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