The bridge, also referred to as the glute bridge, is considered an easy exercise with several benefits. In addition to helping you firm and shape your butt, the bridge can help strengthen and stabilize many back, hip, thigh and core muscles. The basic bridge, as well as many of the more advanced variations, require little to no training aids, which makes it a snap to add to your workouts two to three time per week.
Things You'll Need
- Exercise mat
- Exercise ball
Basic Bridge Technique
Lie on your back on an exercise mat, bend your legs and put your feet flat on the mat about 12 inches from your butt and hip-width apart. Relax your shoulders and rest your arms by your sides with your palms down. Tighten your abdominal muscles and flatten your lower back against the mat.
Keep your abs tight, breathe out, push down on your heels and slowly lift your hips off the mat. Stop when your body is straight from your knees to your shoulders. Keep your pelvis in a neutral position. Squeeze your butt muscles at the top of the lift and hold the position for a count of five.
Breathe in, slowly lower your hips to the starting position and repeat 12 times to complete one set. Depending on your fitness level, perform one to three sets.
Make a slight technique change for cross-leg bridges. Follow the instructions in Step 1 of the Basic Bridge Technique section to assume the starting position. Bend your right leg and cross your ankle on top of your left thigh. Use the basic technique to lift and lower your hips. Perform 12 to 15 in a row, switch legs and repeat.
Position yourself in the basic starting position for one-legged bridges. Extend and straighten your right leg and lift it toward the ceiling until it is perpendicular with the floor. While keeping your leg in this position with your foot flexed, lift and lower your hips using the basic bridge technique. Repeat 10 to 12 times and then switch legs.
Perform stability ball bridges for more challenge. Sit on your mat with the ball in front of you. Lie back on the mat, lift your legs and put the back of your ankles on top of the ball about 6 inches apart. Flare your arms about 45 degrees out to your sides to help with stability. Using the basic bridge technique, raise and lower your hips. Repeat 10 to 12 times. A variation is to lift one leg off the ball toward the ceiling when you are at the top of the lift and then return your leg to the ball as you complete the bridge.
Tips & Warnings
- Before starting your workout, perform a quick, dynamic warm-up to increase your circulation, improve your range of motion and help avoid injury. Sample warm-up activities are walking lunges, high-knee marching, jumping rope and walking on a treadmill.
- Start with the basic bridge and as your fitness level increases, add more challenging variations to your workouts.
- Keep your abs tight as your lift your hips to avoid arching your back.
- If you are new to exercise or have a history of back problems, consult your health care professional before starting a new fitness program.
- Photo Credit LittleBee80/iStock/Getty Images
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