6 Reasons to Incorporate the Bridge into Your Workout Routine

The bridge is a simple yet challenging maneuver that offers a multitude of athletic, aesthetic and therapeutic benefits.

Many great athletes, trainers, coaches and fitness enthusiasts in general have made it a staple to their training programs, and it is still widely considered to be the king of all exercises throughout the East.

Here are 6 important reasons why you should be bridging on a regular basis:

1.) Stretches and Strengthens Multiple Muscles at Once

Standard Bridge with Bird

 

The bridge impacts almost every single muscle group in your entire body.

It gives your anterior (front) chain an extremely safe and effective stretch all over.

This includes some of the most frequently tight and injury prone areas:

  • chest
  • shoulders
  • lats
  • quads
  • knees
  • hip flexors
  • abs

Meanwhile, the back of your body (the posterior chain) gets an profound strength and endurance workout:

  • lower back
  • rear deltoids
  • trapezius
  • glutes
  • triceps
  • hamstrings
  • calves

That’s a pretty expansive resume for just one simple exercise.

2.) Therapeutic Benefits

Hunched SpineConsidering how many people spend the majority of their days slouched over in front of a computer screen or television, it’s no wonder over 80% of Americans will experience chronic back pain at some point in their lives. (source)

Fortunately, much of this pain and suffering can be mitigated and often even eliminated through frequent bridging.

When done consistently and correctly, the bridge will:

  • remove waste from and rejuvenate vertebral discs
  • reinforce proper spinal alignment
  • relieve all kinds of stresses, tensions and injuries throughout the back and shoulders
  • expand the rib cage and increases lung capacity
  • promote circulation
  • boost metabolism
  • bulletproof the spinal column to better withstand sudden movements and heavy impacts
  • massage the internal organs

No single exercise can make you feel as refreshed, rejuvenated and realigned as the bridge can.

3.) Improves Overall Athleticism

Your spinal muscles are the most important voluntary muscles in your entire body. The stronger they are, the better you will be at practically every athletic motion you make.

Throwing, twisting, lifting, squatting, pushing, pulling, you name it… your spinal muscles are chiefly involved.

Every athlete should be building a strong, supple spine through regular bridging.

Wrestling Throw

 

4.) Shreds Your Back

Anyone who says bridging can’t build definition and size doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

The bridge is much more than just a stretch. It is a compound bodyweight exercise that demands an intense amount of muscular contraction to be performed effectively.

I always feel a healthy soreness in my lower back, rear deltoids and trapezius for at least a couple days following every bridge workout.

Shredded Back

This wasn’t build on pull ups alone.

5.) Straightens Posture

Posture Diagram

Having a well-built physique is only part of the equation when it comes to communicating confidence and power to those around you. The other (perhaps even more important) part is carrying yourself confidently.

The bridge is perfect for helping you do so in that it elongates the spine, realigns the vertebrae, and strengthens the deep muscles of the back responsible for proper posture.

Many people even report growing taller from doing it.

6.) Better Sex

Male and Female Symbols

A correctly executed bridge should always entail thrusting your hips forward and squeezing your glutes together tightly.

Practicing this regularly will boost not only your sexual performance but also your drive.

Beginning Your Bridge

So, now that you hopefully understand why you should be doing this awesome exercise, it’s now time to figure out where you should begin and also how far you might want to go with it.

There are actually a great many variations of the bridge. The “full bridge” (e.g. my bird picture at the beginning of this article) is just one of several.

If you aren’t at first able to do this, don’t fret. There are many easier variants of the bridge that you can progress with.

The Short Bridge

This might be a great starting point if you’re especially tight and/or weak. It is a gentle movement that still effectively stimulates and stretches the spine and several important muscles.

Short Bridge

The Angled Bridge

Once you’ve gotten comfortable with the short bridge, you can then move on to using your hands to push against a raised platform such as a chair, bench or step. Bridging from a shallower angle like this will help prepare you for making the full range of motion you’ll need to perform it on a level surface.

Angled Bridge

The higher the angle, the easier the exercise.

Advancing Your Bridge

After you’ve gotten comfortable with the basic bridges, you can take it even further with some advanced techniques. Many of these require an exceptional amount of total body strength and flexibility to perform, so be sure to build up to them safely and slowly.

The Wall Walking Bridge

This is the first step towards learning how to lean back into the bridge from the standing position.

Start off by using a wall to assist you on your way down (and back up) before attempting to freely lean back into it.

Wall Walking Bridge

Slowly lean back and walk your hands down the wall until they’re both on the floor.

The Stand-to-Stand Bridge

You will need to have strong joints, powerful muscles, and a great amount of flexibility and coordination to perform this elite level calisthenics maneuver.

The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Bridge

Hopefully that gives you a good idea of how to get your bridge going and what kinds of exercises you’ll need to do to progress with it.

If you want to get serious about it, though, Convict Conditioning is the best source to go with. It’s got all the information you’ll ever need to be able to advance your bridge at a safe and consistent pace.

You can check out my book review of it here:

Happy Bridging!

-Steeveau

4 thoughts on “6 Reasons to Incorporate the Bridge into Your Workout Routine

  1. Peter

    I love the bridge after having recently heard of the wonderful benefits it offers. This article has reinforced to me what value it truly has. Most think of the bridge as just a flexibility exercise but it is clearly so much more.

    Body weight exercises are so underused in the fitness community. They are the way our body was meant to be used and thus provide a full body experience that leaves us feeling happier and much better about ourselves.

    I just found your page after reading InertiaWillHurtYa and I will be reading more from now on, awesome post!

    Reply
    1. Steeveau Post author

      It depends on what variant of the bridge you’re doing. The progression standards laid out in Convict Conditioning are very good and what I stuck with. If you’re doing the standard full bridge from laying down on the ground, 2 sets of 15 should be a good number to aim for. You should be ready to start walking down the wall if you can do that. Just hold it for a couple seconds when you’re in full position and slowly move back to where you started.

      Reply

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