Need the what, how and why of bridges? Read on, we’ve got you covered.
What are bridges? Bridges are an example of a chain exercise. They are a closed chain exercise because the arms and legs remain in place during the exercise. Bridges show up in all sorts of fitness settings. They have benefits for everyone from body builders to runners and yogis. In fact, yogis consider bridges as a type of backbend, the Sanskrit name for which is Setu Bandha Sarvangasana. Other names for the exercise include glute bridge and butt lift.
How to do a bridge – Lie on your back with knees raised and feet flat. Exhale and lift your bottom up from the floor. Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. You may rest your arms with hands palms down by your sides or clasp them together and extend them along the floor beneath you. Hold for 10 seconds to 1 minute. Lower your bottom to the floor and repeat for desired number of reps.
Why do bridges? The benefits are countless. Here are just a few.
- Boost flexibility
- Reduce knee and back pain
- Boost your booty – get ready to look better in your jeans!
- Strengthen your core, including your abs
- Whittle your waistline – including your obliques
- Improve balance
- Relieve back pain
- Improve posture
- Calms the mind and helps relieve stress
- Improve performance – especially if you are a runner
- Stretch your neck, chest and spine.
- Boost mood, reduce anxiety and fatigue
- Help relieve the symptoms of menopause
- Relieve menstrual discomfort – go for supported bridge by placing a bolster or several folded blankets under your bottom.
- Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid
As you can see, there are some pretty mighty benefits to the humble bridge exercise. Take care to enjoy them all. Give special attention to your breath as you move in and out of the bridge. Allow your breath to deepen, and notice how you feel as you hold your bridge. Monitor your form and try to keep your thoughts on your body. As you noticed from the list, the benefits of bridges aren’t just physical. Think of this as a personal time out to rest and restore body as well as mind. You will also want to take care with your neck so that you don’t put undue pressure on it by pushing your pelvis up too far. Think you don’t have time? Bridges need no equipment so you can do them anytime, anywhere. No excuses allowed.