Exercise Breakdown Express: Bridge

Plank’s Exercise Breakdown Express is back for the month of July. Want to strengthen the back of the body while watching TV? Need to open the hips after a long day of sitting at the office? Use this guide to remind you how to do a Bridge in the comfort of your own home.

Exercise: Bridge

Exercise Goals

  • Strengthens lower back muscles and hamstrings.
  • Spinal articulation.
  • Strengthens lower abdominals.
  • Opens hip flexors


  1. Starting position: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet hip width apart.
  2. Tilt the pubic bone up toward the ceiling to peel the spine sequentially off the mat coming to a shoulder bridge. The tailbone, lower back, middle back then ribs should sequence up off the mat.
  3. Go back down to the mat the way you came up, sequentially lowering the spine one vertebrae at a time.

The Technical Anatomy Stuff

Primary Muscles Used
Abdominals (rectus abdominis, external oblique, internal oblique, transversus abdominis)
Why? To support the spine and control the “rolling through the spine” action.

The back of the leg and butt (hip extensors: gluteus maximus, hamstrings)
Why? To support the lifted hips.


Secondary Muscles Used
Back muscles (spinal extensors: erector spinae)
Why? To support the lifted hips.

Thighs (Quadriceps femoris)
Why? To control the movement as the body lowers back down to the mat. Lengthen through this muscle to feel a stretch in the lower back.

Back of the arm (shoulder extensors: latissimus dorsi, teres major, posterior deltoid)
Why? To support the upper body with the hips lifted.


Things to Think About…

  • Feel the bellybutton pull in and up towards the sternum.
  • The body should be in a long line from the shoulders through the knees.
  • Keep the ankles under the knees and the knees in line with the hips.
  • Feel as if there’s energy reaching through the knees at all times.
  • Funnel the ribs down to the core.

For Increased Intensity…

  • Keep the knees together to engage the inner thighs.
  • Pulse the hips up, squeezing the glutes.
  • Lift one leg off the mat, keeping the knee-to-knee connection.
  • Lift one leg to 90 degrees from the hip, toes toward the ceiling. Add pulsing of the hips or lowering and lifting of the leg.


Add props!

  • Place a ball between the inner thighs. Squeeze the ball with tiny pulses to work the inner thighs, or squeeze the ball and lift the hips in tiny pulses to work the glutes.

For Decreased Intensity…

  • Lift the hips off the mat a couple inches.

One comment on “Exercise Breakdown Express: Bridge

  1. […] Hundred Bridge The Roll Up  Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was […]

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