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Beginner to Intermediate
Master the Bridge
About this Progression
This is one of the most dynamic bodyweight progressions. It focuses on endurance and flexibility of your body. It also stimulates your core, back and arm muscles. This exercise has too many benefits not to try it out. You’ve got to try it out.
The following images for bridges give a visualization of how each step looks. We will guide you through each step on your way to displaying insane flexibility and bodily endurance. Please note that it is important to warm up your body, including your fingers and wrists, by rotating them at the joints before each exercise. This will allow maximum flexibility and will prevent you from sustaining injury throughout this progression.
Bridges Progression Exercises List
Step 1: Short Bridges
Start by lying on your back with your palms on the ground by your side and knees together bent at a 45 degree angle. Focus on driving your torso off the floor using your core and leg muscles so that your body is perfectly straight at almost a 30 degree angle to the floor while balancing on your shoulders and feet. Maintain control on the way down to give muscular contraction in the full range of motion.
Image source: pittsburgh-personaltrainer.com/30-minute-july-4th-workout/
Step 2: Straight Bridges
Start by sitting upright with your legs straight out together. Put your palms on the floor and again focus on using your core muscles to drive your body to a roughly 30 degree angle to the floor. Hold still before controlling the movement back down.
Image source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJtKQ_9ZQD0
Step 3: Angled Bridges
Use a raised table or similar object for this exercise. Place your feet on the floor and stretch your back until your head and hands are balancing on the table. Each repetition involves pushing up with your arms and going onto the balls of your feet to bring your head slightly off the table and then controlling on the way down.
Image source: mindbodygreen.com/0-17705/5-reasons-to-do-bridges-every-day.html
Step 4: Head Bridges
This exercise is a bit more challenging than the previous one. Replicate the same starting position, but this time put your head and hands on the floor at the same level as your feet. Use your arms and extend onto the balls of your feet to lift your head off the floor and slowly control back down.
Step 5: Half Bridges
This exercise requires an exercise ball. Balance on your feet and hands and place the small of your back on the exercise ball. Focus on using your core muscles and arms to drive your back off the exercise ball while raising onto the balls of your feet and control back down. This exercise is great preparation for the next phases of the progression.
Step 6: Full Bridges
Start by lying on the ground with your feet planted and your palms placed just above your shoulders. Focus on using all the muscles in your body to drive your torso up in the air until your back is arched and your are balancing on your palms and the balls of your feet. Hold this position before controlling on the way back down.
Step 7: Wall Walking Down
Stand upright with your back facing a wall. Estimate the distance from the wall to allow you to adopt a bridge position at the foot of it. When standing up, try to lean back and put your palms on the wall, then proceed to slowly “walk” down the wall with your hands until you are in the bridge position on the floor. Do not “walk” back up the wall just yet, as this is the next exercise. Instead, lie back on the floor and safely go back up to the upright starting position again.
Step 8: Wall Walking Up
This time start he bridge position with your head just at the foot of the wall. Begin to move your hands onto the wall and slowly walk up the wall until you’re into an upright standing position. This will be more difficult than the previous exercise as your body is straining against gravity.
Step 9: Closing Bridges
Start in an upright position and begin to lean back and bend your legs slowly. Do this until you can no longer stay on your feet and extend your arms onto the floor landing in the bridge position. Ue all of your muscles to drive your body back up to starting position. This exercise is preparation for you to be able to perform the final step of the progression safely.
Step 10: Stand-to-Stand Bridges
Stand in an upright position, and in one completely fluid move, bend back and land with your palms on the floor so that you are in the bridge position. Use all the muscles in your body to drive back up to standing position. If you’ve completed this progression, you have great physical strength and perfect body control and flexibility.
Now that you’re stronger and more flexible, you could actually move forward with a backhand spring!
Remember – to understand benefits of the bridge, you have to try it out yourself!