Five reasons to do the ‘bridge’
As you can imagine, strong, toned gluteal muscles have major benefits! Aside from making any bikini or pair of jeans look fabulous, strong glutes play a vital role in sports performance, injury prevention and day to day body function.
Your glutes are the largest and strongest muscles in your body. The three gluteal muscles work together to abduct ( move the hip away from the body), rotate and extend the hip. Strong glutes can help improve posture and make sitting down,standing, picking up heavy objects and climbing stairs easier.
The three gluteal muscles work together to abduct ( move the hip away from the body), rotate and extend the hip. Strong glutes can help improve posture and make sitting down,standing, picking up heavy objects and climbing stairs easier.
One of my favorite ways to strengthen the glute muscles is the bridge. Here are five reasons to add bridges to your workout every day.
1. Reduces knee and back pain
The posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings) tend to get neglected. Whether it’s daily activities or high-intensity workouts, the quadriceps usually takeover and do most of the work. Unfortunately, this pattern results in tight IT bands, which can lead to knee and back pain because of the dominance of one muscle over another, which can lead to injury. Luckily, the bridge engages that posterior chain, evening out muscle use.
2. Improve athletic performance
Strong glutes are a key factor when it comes to producing power. Power is what aids all athletic movements. Strengthening the glutes will help you sprint faster, jump
and be more explosive on the court or field.
3. Your clothes will fit better
A high, toned, rounded rear looks great in any situation, and the stronger your glutes, the better their shape will be. Bridges — especially weighted bridges — give you major definition. Don’t be afraid to lift heavier weight if you’re doing a weighted version of the move … it’ll just give you
better tone and a firmer backside!
4. Strengthen your core
The bridge exercise activates all the core muscles, including the transverse abdominous (flattens your core), rectus abdominous (six pack!) and obliques (hourglass figure). Performing any variation of a bridge works these muscles deeply, tightening everything up in one easy move.
5. Improve your posture
Bridge builds strength in the glutes and erector spinae, which help you maintain proper posture when you’re sitting or standing for an extended period of time. The move also strengthens the core, which always helps with posture. Convinced? Here are five bridge variations to tone and strengthen the glutes.
The Bridge exercise
Follow these steps to perform the Bridge exercise:
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, approximately hip distance apart. Your feet should be in a comfortable position — not too close to your buttocks and not too far away. You should be able to easily find the Neutral Spine (your natural spinal alignment) Experiment with different placements of your feet to find the best fit.
Inhale: Take a deep breath in, expanding into your back and your lungs.
Exhale: Keeping your torso in one long line, press your feet into the mat and squeeze your buttocks as you lift your hips up off the mat.
Come up high enough that your body makes a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Don’t press up so high that you can’t see your knees.
Inhale: Maintain the Bridge position.
Exhale: Still holding the bridge, think of knitting your ribs down to your belly, squeeze your buttocks, and try to lengthen through the front of your hips.
Inhale: Hold the Bridge position.
Exhale: Maintain Neutral Spine( that nice long line) as you come back down to the mat.
Complete 5 repetitions. Transition by bringing your knees into your chest to relax your back. Put one hand on each knee and slowly roll up to a sitting position.
Try these Bridge Pulses for an added challenge:
Lie on your back with knees bent, hands pressed into the mat and feet hip-width apart. Lift hips up as high as noted above. Lower the hips an inch then lift the hips an inch. Continue this small range of motion for 30 reps.Lower as before.