What does bridging do?
Bridging exercise is an exercise which helps to increase muscle strength of the hip extensors (gluteal muscles) and to improve core stability (transverse abdominus, rectus abdominus).
This exercise can also be useful to encourage movement at the lumbo-pelvic region.
Bridging is often taught as an exercise for individuals with low back pain and hip and knee pathologies.
Description of bridging
Starting position – lying on your back with your knees bend, your feet approximately hip width apart and your arms down by your side.
Make sure your pelvis is in a neutral position before starting.
Take a breath in and on your outbreath engage your bottom (glute) muscles
Tilt your pelvis backwards (posteriorly) and gradually peel your spine off the matt and into a bridge position. Take a breath in again when in the bridge position then on your outbreath slowly lower back down to the start position.
Video – how to do a Pilates bridge exercise:
Movements involved in the Bridge include:
- Hip extension
- Lumbar spine extension
- Posterior pelvic tilt
Variations and Progressions to bridge to challenge muscles further
- Raising heel – tip toe bridge
- As description. Once in Bridge position raise one heel. then repeat each side.
- Leg extension
- As description. Once in bridge position on your outbreath extend one leg. Making sure your bottom is still raised and not dropping. Then lower the leg back to the floor. Repeat each side.
- Leg extension with leg lift
- As description. Once in bridge position on your outbreath extend one leg. Making sure your bottom is still raised and not dropping then raise the leg in the extended position further so your toes are pointing towards the ceiling. Then lower the leg back to the floor. Repeat each side.
- Raising arms above your head
- As description. Once in Bridge position raise your arms up towards the ceiling. Keep your arms in this position as you lower your back down to the floor. Once your bottom is on the floor bring your arms back down to the start position.
- Make sure your feet are not too far away from your bottoms to avoid getting cramp at the back of your thighs (hamstring muscles) whilst doing this exercise
- Can place pillow or cushion between your knees to avoid your knees turning outwards and to help to engage your abdominal muscles more.
Avoid doing Bridge exercise if:
- If you have acute disc dysfunction
- Acute neck pain
- Post 12 weeks ante-natal
- Until after 6 weeks post-natal
If you are unsure whether this exercise is suitable for you, you should always seek professional medical advice.
See more Pilates exercises
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