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The basic bridge isolates and strengthens your gluteus (butt) muscles and hamstrings (back of the thigh). When done correctly, the move can also enhance core stability by targeting your abdominal muscles and the muscles of lower back and hip.

Exercise of the Week – Week 5

Bridge



Also Known As: 
Hip Raises, Glute Bridge

Targets: Glutes, abs, and hamstrings

Equipment Needed: Mat if desired

Level: Beginner

The basic bridge isolates and strengthens your gluteus (butt) muscles and hamstrings (back of the thigh). When done correctly, the move can also enhance core stability by targeting your abdominal muscles and the muscles of lower back and hip.  It is also a good warm-up exercise and a basic rehab exercise to improve core and spinal stabilization.

Benefits: If you're looking for a move to add to your routine that works your core and your butt, the basic bridge is a great place to start.  For this move, the target muscle is the erector spine, which runs the length of your back from your neck to tailbone.  A basic bridge stretches the stabilizers of the posterior chain, including your hip abductors, gluteus maximums, and hamstrings. As antagonist stabilizers for the bridge move, the rectus abdominis, oblique’s, and quadriceps get a workout as they maintain stability.

Your overall strength will improve as these muscle groups get stronger. A strong core will also improve your posture and can help ease lower back pain. In fact, as long as you have good form, bridge exercises are generally safe for people with chronic back problems and can aid in pain management.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Lie on your back with your hands at your sides, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor under your knees.
  2. Tighten your abdominal and buttock muscles.
  3. Raise your hips to create a straight line from your knees to shoulders.
  4. Squeeze your core and pull your belly button back toward your spine.
  5. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, and then return to your starting position.
  6. Complete at least 10 reps.

 

·       You're Raising Your Hips Too HighAvoid raising your hips too high. Hyperextending your lower back can lead to strain. Keeping your abdominals engaged will ensure you don't arch your back excessively.

·       Your Hips Sag:  If you find your hips are dropping as you try to hold the bridge position, lower your pelvis back down to the floor. When you're first starting out, you may need to hold the bridge position for only a few seconds at a time until you build up strength.  It's better to hold the correct position for a shorter time than to stay in an incorrect position for a longer time.