I CAN’T LIFT MYSELF INTO A BRIDGE!
8 week bridge challenge
After doing a blog post about how to improve thoracic mobility, I thought it might be a good idea to run through the absolute basics for the people who have no idea how to get started doing a bridge. This is for people who have never done a bridge, feel very uncomfortable getting up, or who can’t lift themselves up at all.
First off, you CAN do a bridge!
As hard as some moves might be for you, the bridge is within everyone’s capacity to do. But just like anything else, there are steps. I take inspiration from Dr. Andreo Spina who says the following,
“Getting back to the low back, people are conditioned to believe that there should be little to no insult to tissues in this area in order to avoid injury. Thus, exercises never change…. Thus the tissues never get stronger, gain endurance, or improve neuromuscular efficiency.”
your back is not as fragile as you might think, and you can give it strength and mobility like you might not believe given where you are now. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s look at basics exercises that we can use to build a sound bridge.
Move 1: wall bridges 20x reps per side / 1 sets
For a beginner who has problems doing a full bridge, this is a great way to practice all the necessary elements without putting more stress on your body than you’re capable of taking. Bridging is a full body movement so make sure to warm up the posterior chain as well as you can beforehand. Because wall rotations are lower in intensity, they should be done slowly, focusing on keeping the knees behind the feet, pushing the hips and chest up, while avoiding excessive bend at the lower back – you can feel this pretty easily because it will probably start to hurt around the lumbar (lower back) area.
Move 2: Hip Raise 45 second holds / 2 sets
Although most people do not have much trouble lifting themselves up off the ground using their legs, many people lack the endurance to stay up in a bridge for longer than a few seconds. This exercise targets the legs and mobility in the hips. Make sure the back is straight and that the majority of the bending in this movement comes from your hips.
Move 3: low bridge 20 second holds / 2 -3 sets
A low bridge is particularly useful for those of us who lack either the strength or the mobility in our shoulders to push up into a full bridge. This modification has the person do a bridge with their head on the floor to take some of the weight off of their hands. This probably goes without saying, but be careful with your head, you only have one of those. Practice bringing your hands close to your shoulders and apply some force down into the ground. Don’t worry if you don’t come off the ground. Simply by pushing on the ground you’re teaching your body a new way to movement pattern that it will learn in time.
Move 4: Negativa pushups 8x reps per side / 3 sets
More on arm strength. In Capoeira, we use a lot of pushing strength, so this exercise has many applications outside of doing a bridge. Again, if your problem is that you have a hard time pushing up, and your issue is strength, rather than flexibility, this exercise will be a big help. Get into a negativa position and bring your upper body down to the side. In this position, you are essentially doing a pushup, but modified to where your weight will fall to one side.
WRAPPING UP THE 8 WEEK BRIDGE
It has been 8 weeks since I started doing bridges every day for my 8 week bridge. There have been some great improvements, some places that still need work, but overall I am very pleased with my progress and will be posting something up next week in relation to that.