Core Strength Training with the Bridge

by Kimberly Hays | September 12th, 2013 | Core, Strength Training

absThe muscles of the core stabilize the spine and hips giving better balance and strength to the rest of the body, as well as reducing the risk of injury and enhances athletic performance. Core strength training will also strengthen the back muscles to alleviate back pain, and will help in keeping the body in proper alignment when performing movements, which lessens tension on the spine. The bridge focuses on all of these important muscle groups, as well as the gluteus muscles and hamstrings. This move is even used in rehabilitation to strengthen the core after injury. Here are a few variations of the bridge that will help tone and tighten your core.

The Hip Bridge – Lie on your back, and place your arms straight down by your sides. Bend your knees with your feet on the floor parallel to your knees. Keep your back as flat as possible, lift your body from the floor while contracting your abdominal muscles, until your body is straight from your knees to your shoulders. Hold this position for at least six seconds, and slowly lower back down to the floor. Work up to three sets of 10 repetitions.

The Single Leg Bridge – After mastering the hip bridge exercise, the single leg bridge is the next step. This exercise will work the gluteus muscles and hamstrings really well, all while working the core. Begin in the hip bridge position, and raise your body in the same manner. When your body is all the way up, extend one leg straight out. Be sure to keep your leg and your body perfectly straight. Hold as long as you can, with 30 seconds being your goal. Repeat the movement with the other leg. The target is 10 repetitions with each leg.

As you become proficient with the bridge exercises, you can make them more challenging by raising your body up while on your toes instead of being flat footed. You will just need to be more aware of your body to be certain that your center does not dip. Your form is very important in avoiding injury while performing this exercise. If you find that you are unsteady while trying to perform this movement while on your toes, revert back to flat feet until you have strengthened your core more for better stability. Also be aware of the weight of your body on your neck when performing the bridge, keeping the pressure on your shoulders and in your abdominals when your body is off of the ground.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.