You’ve probably heard the term bridge exercise among yoga and pilates trainers, but is it something to integrate into your regular workout sessions? It depends. If a firm butt and strong spinal region sound like music to your ears, then you should definitely consider the bridge exercise. The great thing about this workout is that it’s easy to do and requires no special equipment. Plus, you can do it right in your living room!
While squats are no doubt the “poster child” for a good butt workout, they come with a lot of challenges. Have you ever wondered why you got so excited about doing squats for a defined bum only to quit in the first few days? Of course, it wasn’t because you weren’t disciplined or because you didn’t want it badly enough. Certainly not! It’s because squats are difficult, tasking, and in some cases, overly complicated. Oh, and don’t get me started on the equipment needed to do a thorough job.
It is in this scenario that bridge exercises shine! They offer a more comfortable alternative to squats with almost the same results. But beyond a good “ass” they also offer some serious benefits to your body and overall wellbeing.
What are bridge exercises and its benefit?
The bridge exercise is an exercise that isolates and strengthens your gluteus otherwise known as your butt muscles — the gluteus maximus, medium, and minimus — and hamstrings (back of your thigh), which are the main muscles that make up the posterior chain. It is known to be a good warm-up exercise and a basic rehab exercise to improve core and spinal stabilization.
In addition to strengthening your posterior chain muscles, doing a bridge exercise regularly reduces knee and back pain, improves athletic performance, strengthens your core, improves your posture, boosts your butt, increases flexibility, reduces your waistline, calms the mind, and helps relieve stress. Whew! Quite a number of benefits.
Furthermore, the exercise stretches your neck, chest, and spine. It also boosts mood, reduces anxiety and fatigue, helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort, and stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid. Well, with all these benefits, it only makes sense to learn how to do it.
Check out how to do the basic bridge exercise + two other variations…
One of the best things about this exercise is the fact that it requires no extra space and no need for equipment. Once you have a space to lie down, you are good to go.
#1. Basic/glute bridge
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground, and arms by your side. Your feet should be hip-width apart and facing either outward or forward.
- Push your feet into the floor to activate your glutes and slowly lift your hips up towards the ceiling. While the bottom part of your rib cage will lift off of the floor, you want to focus on keeping your torso still as you open through the front of the hips.
- Inhale and pause at the top for 20-30 seconds, then slowly release the glutes as you lower your hips back to the ground.
#2. Single leg glute bridge
- Lie flat on your back on a yoga mat. Bend your left knee and position your foot firmly on the mat, extending your right leg directly in front of you or to the ceiling, with your spine in a neutral position and your arms resting by your sides on the mat. This is your starting position.
- Inhale. Exhale. Gently draw your ribs to your hips to engage your core. Press your left heel into the mat, activate your glutes, and raise your pelvis off the floor until your body forms one straight line from chin to the knee, resting on your shoulders.
- Inhale. Lower your pelvis to return to the starting position. Complete half of the specified repetitions on the same side before completing the remaining repetitions on the other side.
#3. Marching glute bridge
- Lie faceup with your knees bent and your feet hip-width distance apart.
- Engage your core so your lower back is pressed against the floor. From this position, lift your hips, squeezing your glutes at the top. Hold here.
- Lift your right foot off the floor, bringing your knee toward your chest, and stop when you’ve hinged your hip to about 90 degrees.
- Replace your foot on the floor and immediately lift your left foot off the floor to repeat on the other side.
- Continue to march, alternating your feet, all while maintaining lifted hips.
Featured image: Ivan Samkov | Pexels
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