The Core-Strengthening Bridges Workout
Bridge exercises build a strong core – and that’s great news for everyone, especially those with back problems!
If you’re ready for a workout that targets and builds your core strength and stability, then say no more. We’ve got you – and the Bridge exercises we’ve gathered will have you strong and centered in no time!
According to the Consumer Health Digest, your whole core benefits from the standard Bridge exercise, including your back and hips, not just the glutes and hamstrings you’d expect. And since the core is vital for holding your organs in place and controlling the limbs, it’s a great place to build strength! Additionally, for those who’ve ever endured a back injury, this could be excellent news.
What are the benefits of a Bridges workout?
Core strengthening of the type targeted by Bridge exercises can be beneficial in several ways. First, it reduces back pain. Weak core muscles are to blame for swayback postures and the loss of adequate lumbar curve in the spine, where stronger, balanced cores assist with maintaining proper posture while reducing strain. Secondly, core strengthening improves athletic performance and third, it improves postural imbalances that can lead to injuries. According to one expert, “The biggest benefit of core training is to develop functional fitness—the type of fitness that is essential to daily living and regular activities.”
How can I get started?
Also known as the “Hip Raise,” the Standard Bridge exercise is done by lying on the back with hands at your sides with knees bent and feet flat on the floor underneath your knees. Then you tighten your abs and buttocks while raising your hips to create a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. While you hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds, squeeze the core muscles and imagine you’re pulling your belly button inside toward your spine. Then lower yourself back to the floor. (If you’re unable to hold the pose for 20 seconds, just hold it as long as you can and then gently lower yourself back to the floor. Repeat this exercise ten times. Add a little time, or a few seconds, each day to build up your strength) Don’t forget to breathe while you hold the poses, as well. This exercise is considered basic rehabilitation for core and spinal stabilization.
Try adding a little challenge to your routine
Once you’ve gained some strength, try the same pose with a padded weight spread across your hips, or try a single leg lift Bridge pose. This exercise is the same, but extends one leg at a time after pulling the knee in toward the chest first, and then back down.
Following this, you can try the Glute Bridge March, which requires you to do the same thing only lift one leg at a time and bend it as if you are marching. Repeat this ten times, holding each pose for a few seconds, before you change to the other leg.
The Triceps Bridge exercise asks you to lift up off the floor on bent arms and bent legs with your backside facing the floor and front facing the ceiling. This works the triceps as you stretch each leg out straight and hold for 20 – 30 seconds, then switch. Do ten of each leg.
Then you can do the Single Sky Bridge exercise, which works the hamstrings, lower back, and glutes specifically. You’ll need a chair for this. This is done the same as the first standard Bridge exercise, but one foot goes on the chair (make sure it’s steady for your weight) and the other raises to point your toes to the ceiling. Hold each pose in place for a few seconds, then lower yourself back to the floor.
If you have an exercise ball, you can try the Exercise Ball Bridge exercise, which requires you to place both feet balanced on the exercise ball, hands by your side, holding for 20 – 30 seconds. Repeat this ten times.
Next, try the Dumbbell Bridge Exercise. This one, as you may have guessed, requires dumbbells (keep them light for starters) in each hand with hands up above your head on the floor. Starting off, your pelvis, shoulders, and feet are all on the floor as well, but with each exercise, lift the buttocks and straighten arms to lift the weights toward the ceiling. Come back to the floor and do this ten times.
If you’d like to try more, youtube has numerous examples to show you how to do each Bridge exercise. Start easy and work your way up – your core, and all the muscles and organs depending upon it, will thank you!
*As with all my articles, please consult a physician before trying this at home