Want to burn more calories and boost your fat-burning metabolism? Then add the basic bridge to your workout!
The basic bridge is a great exercise for strengthening your glutes (butt) and hamstrings (back of the thigh). It can be done with or without weight and is great for a warm-up.
You can also do it as a rehab to improve core and spinal stabilization.
What is a Basic Bridge?
A bridge is a simple exercise that isolates and strengthens your gluteus (butt) muscles—the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus—and hamstrings.
You can do a the bridge while lying on a towel, fitness or yoga mat, or just on the floor, so it's great for home workouts and traveling.
It's easy enough for any age or fitness level yet challenging enough to feel the benefits well after your workout. You can couple it with exercises that target other areas for a full-body workout, or include it in your warm-up.
Who needs to do bridges?
The muscles in our glutes — gluteus maximus, medius and minimus — are some of the largest muscles in our bodies. They help us stand upright, walk, run and jump.
But when we've been sitting at our desks all day or slouching on the couch watching TV at night, they can get weak and underworked. That's when the smaller stabilizing muscles take over.
How to do the Basic Bridge:
All you need is a yoga mat or towel and some room to stretch out.
Here's how you do it:
- Lie on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground and about hip-width apart. Your arms should be to your sides with palms down.
- Tighten your core muscles, squeeze your butt and lift your hips off the floor until they form a straight line from knee to shoulder. Pause at the top.
- Lower the back down without touching the floor between reps; repeat for 8–12 repetitions.
Here are some tips for making sure you get the most out of it!
- First things first, you'll want to make sure that your back is flat against the ground or mat. Don't arch your back.
- Place a hand on your stomach and one under your low back to feel for any arching or sagging.
- If you need to, place something under your knees so they aren't too close together.
- Now it's time to lift that thing! Your hips should be lifted off the ground/mat, and you should be sure that there isn't any space between your butt and the ground/mat as you lower yourself down again.
- Keep your spine neutral, and above all else: don't stress! This is supposed to be fun!
Benefits of Basic Bridge:
The basic bridge is a wonderful place to start if you're looking for a motion to add to your strength regimen that targets your core and buttocks.
• It helps to strengthen the erector spinae, which runs the length of your back from your neck to your tailbone.
• The basic bridge stretches the stabilizers of the posterior chain, including your hip abductors, gluteus maximus, and hamstrings.
• Other stabilizer muscles (such as the rectus abdominis, obliques, and quadriceps) get a workout as these muscles work adversely to maintain stability.
• And by strengthening all of those muscles, you'll improve your overall power and strength.
• Bridge exercises strengthen the core and back muscles, which in turn can relieve lower back pain. If you make them right, bridge exercises are safe for most people, even those with chronic back problems.
Common Mistakes to Avoid:
When you're first starting out, it can be easy to make some common mistakes as you learn how to perform a basic bridge.
Keep these tips in mind as you master this essential fitness move:
* Don't lift your hips higher than your torso when doing crunches. Hyperextending your back can cause injury, and keeping your abs engaged protects it from overextending.
* If your hips start to drop as you're trying to hold the bridge position, use your abs to pull your hips back up to the starting position. But don't worry if you can't hold the position for long at first—you'll build strength over time.
With these tips in mind, you can get started mastering the basics of this important movement!
Before you start a workout or add any new moves to your current routine, check with your doctor. If you experience pain in your lower back or hips, stop doing the exercise. You are likely to experience some burning while starting a new exercise, but you should not feel pain.
Depending on your fitness level and workout goals, there are a few different ways to perform a simple bridge exercise.
#1 Elevated Feet
Try the elevated bridge if you'd rather do the normal bridge with a little more support under your feet. You'll need an inflatable exercise ball for this variation.
- With the exercise ball at your feet, begin in the basic bridge beginning posture.
- Place your heels on the ball's top.
- Raise your pelvis in the same way you would in a basic bridge.
- Throughout the activity, keep your core engaged.
#2 Single Leg Bridge
It's great for activating your trunk muscles and really working your core.
- You'll need an exercise ball (or a rolled-up towel) for this one.
- Put it under your hips, and then place one foot on top of it, with the other leg out straight.
- Then raise and lower your hips, keeping the top leg raised.
All in all, basic bridge exercises are an excellent way to engage your entire core (deep abs, obliques, and back), glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors and calves.
Given the low-impact nature of this exercise option, you can still reap many of the benefits without having to worry about the potential for injury.
Q. Is bridge exercise part of your workout?
Yes, it is