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
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:
- hip flexors
Meanwhile, the back of your body (the posterior chain) gets an profound strength and endurance workout:
- lower back
- rear deltoids
That’s a pretty expansive resume for just one simple exercise.
2.) Therapeutic Benefits
Considering 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.
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.
5.) Straightens Posture
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
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.
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.
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.
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: