Bridge Pose BenefitsFitness . Training notes
The Bridge Pose is a great stretch and strengthening technique.
The Bridge Pose stretches your back, neck and chest, relaxes your body and helps release the stress trapped in the back. This pose also strengthens the muscles of the back, glutes, legs and ankles. Many health benefits attributed to this “exercise” include calming the body, alleviating stress and mild depression, stimulating organs of the abdomen, lungs and thyroid and improving digestion. All that and if your legs are stiff this stretch will rejuvenate your tired legs.
Note: any flexibility work beyond “light stretching” should involve a 5-10 minute warm up to get your blood flowing and your muscles working. Stretching cold can lead to injuries that decrease your flexibility instead of increasing it. Train smart! Start with 5-10 minutes of any kind of aerobic warm up. This could be a a series of jumping jacks, pushups and squats, light bag work, thrust and kick drills, or going for a run, make it something you enjoy so you will do it right. Remember the idea is to literally get your blood flowing to get your muscles warmed up with increased blood flow.
As pictured above the bridge is fairly self explanatory, however like all movement, your form and technique is critical to your success and safety. Often a good exercise to do before the Bridge are superman-style core extensions reaching both arms ahead, and lifting your arms and legs at the same time.
Technique: Arched Bridge
- Push up into a plank bridge (pictured below – remembering to suck your belly button into your spine to engage your abs!)
- Keeping your abs engaged, squeeze your glutes to push your hips towards the sky, you’ll notice this starts to introduce an arch into your low and potentially mid back as your shoulder blades start to lift off the floor
- Palms can stay flat on the floor, or you can shimmy your shoulder blades towards your spine to open your chest, working to grab hands and interlace your fingers
- Keep a long neck – you shouldn’t be forcing your chin right into your chest (the more you arch the more your chin will press into your chest).
- Your goal end position is an open chest, engaged abs, slight arch in the back, and strong glutes (pictured above)
- Hold for 5-15 seconds and slowly lower to the floor
The arch is the key to a proper bridge. Notice in the images above the ‘arch” on the Right and the “full arch” on the left. Notice that the glutes are above the plane made between the shoulders and knees. This extension upward is where the stretch and strengthening of the Bridge are found. If your glutes are inline with your shoulders and knees then you are doing a Bridge plank (pictured below) which is a good exercise but does not work the same muscle groups.
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