An End to Bodyweight Bridges
The bridge exercise or variations thereof are common-place in the rehab worlds. Physical therapists provide the bridging exercise for 3 sets x 10 reps until they are blue in the face. No doubt about it, the bridge can create tremendous glute and core strength.
The problem arises when the bridge is not progressed effectively. Having an athlete or client perform 3 sets x 10 reps of bodyweight bridges may help them move and feel better, but if not progressed accordingly, then progress may plateau.
Progressions needs to be made in order for clients to continue to make progress and improve their function and performance on the court of field of play.
The bridging movement should be felt in the glutes and hamstrings. If it is felt in the low back, the athlete or client is not maintaining a neutral spine and/or may have decreased tissue extensibility in their hip flexors limiting passive and active hip extension.
The basic bridge looks like so:
Bridges can be regressed to:
Band Assisted Bridging
Or progressed to:
Single Leg Bridges
Band Resisted Bridges or Hip Thrusts
Supine Barbell Bridge
If you don’t have a barbell, use a kettlebell, dumbbell, or weight plate to make the movement harder.
Also, performing barbell hip thrusters, single or double leg, are also another option as it increases the range of motion in order to perform the movement.
Single and Double Leg Hip Thruster
Weight can also be added to the hip thruster movement to make the movement more challenging.
Barbell Hip Thrusts
The main point with all of these movements is that good technique is performed. A neutral spine should be maintained throughout the movement and movement should be coming from a hip flexed position to a hip extended position.
Also, terminal hip extension should be achieved. If it cannot be, find out why and if so, see a licensed medical practitioner or decrease the difficulty of the movement so you or the athlete or client can achieve terminal hip extension.
If you or your athletes or clients are performing countless reps of bridges, then progress the bridge to make it more challenging and to get stronger!