Whats up yall. I have some questions about back bridges. I sent Al a message on facebook & to my surprise he actually responded and recommended I get his book. I just wanted to repost my message on here and get some more voices if possible while I’m saving up for the book.
Are back bridges considered an exercise or a stretch? I usually try to hold the bridge for a minute after I do a little home workout, but I wonder if I’m exercising/strengthening the whole body or just stretching.
Also, can a back bridge be a good stretch before doing a physical activity like basketball? I usually hold the bridge for 10 seconds before ballin, but I wonder if its a good thing or not.
Also, is there any way I can modify the back bridge to increase the difficulty? Finally, do you know of any other exercises that work the whole body like back bridges do? Thanks
Hey plpatton, good question! Classifying a given variation of a given exercise really depends on how you will use it. Generally though, bridges should be thought of as mobility exercises. Mobility is strength through a range of motion, so you need to be both strong and flexible.
For getting more strength gains out of bridges, you can do bridge push ups, which are a fine exercise, however this will focus more on the arms and shoulders, which is great, but the most unique aspect of bridges is the lower back activation, and ultimately this will lead you to…the stand to stand bridge!
Here is a video I posted:
Be forewarned, this is a very advanced exercise and the risk of injury can be high if you aren’t ready for it. However, if you get it down it is awesome. In my opinion, if I had to do just 1 exercise for the rest of my life it would probably be that one because of how awesome it is for the lower back. Take it slowly though, even Al has a really tough time with this one (his stand to stand bridges aren’t as good as mine, but he’s stronger than I in pretty much everything else haha), which shows that it isn’t all strength; there’s tons of specific coordination and mobility involved in this one. Of course, it takes a good deal of strength too. I like doing sets of 10-12 either in work outs, as a warm up/cool down, or just sporadically.
Robby, thanks for responding. Bridge push ups sound fun, but I might stick with the regular bridge until I can do the stand to stand. I actually tried it yesterday, but it wasn’t happening lol. Probably because I haven’t done any bridges in almost a week cuz I had oral surgery 10 days ago. I did a bridge the day after the surgery & it stretched out my mouth! So I took a lil break. Bridges stretch out everything!
Do you think it’s OK to do a bridge before a physical activity like basketball (even if it’s just for a few seconds) or will it make me a little weaker? I’m just wondering if it’s like a good full body stretch or would it be like an exercise? I’m just pretty much trying to find anything that stretches/exercises the whole body at once so I can save some workout time.
You’re seeing it in black and white. Like I said, bridges require strength through a range of motion, so they are both a “stretch” and a strength exercise, depending on the variation you do and how hard it is for you. They are a great way to limber up your lumbar and stretch out your shoulders.
Generally, I would say that bridges are an excellent warm up, and what variation you use should be based on how it feels for you at the time.
Hey man don’t feel bad, stand to stand bridges are very hard. It takes a lot of strength and understanding of control. I recommend being able to hold the hardest bridge variation in Pushing The Limits for 30 seconds comfortably before attempting the stand to stand bridge. When you try the STS bridge, think of shifting your knees forward to keep your hips over your feet, and pulling your upper body up primarily through your transverse abdominis, but also all other core and abdominal muscles, plus the lats and spinal erectors. Also flex gltes, quads, and hamstrings hard to try and pull yourself forward while focusing on straightening your knees out (not bending at the hips).
Thanks a lot, Robby. I understand better now.
Regarding https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UwH7va80Ef0 (can’t seem to quote a post?)
Daaaaaaaaamn man! That’s the most impressive thing I’ve seen in a while. (okay I haven’t watched any of AK’s vids lately but still) Highly inspirational. And that head bridge you start with… wow. I was also intrigued to note that except for like one rep you only bring your arms around when you are very close to needing them. And you didn’t use hands to give a push off once! Again, wow!
Sorry I meant to ask before – how long have you been doing bridges Robby? And would you say that StS is achievable for someone who only started bridges in their 30s?
Thanks for the compliments, getiton! Actually, it’s harder to do with your arms extended back the whole time; it pulls your center of gravity further behind your feet. But you are correct in that you don’t want to push off or fall; you want to be completely in control the whole time, which ideally means keeping your arms in a static position the entire time to ensure you don’t use them to assist.
I have been training for a little over 2 years now. Bridges probably a bit less than that. I believe my spine and maybe my skeletal structure in general has an unusual ability to adapt. I technically had scoliosis in high school, but the chiropractor was able to correct it so well that he actually gave a talk about my case at a national chiropractic convention. Apparently it was like 1 in 100,000 or something. Anyway, I think there’s some relation to my bridging.
Anyway, I didn’t actually have to put that much work into them. I would mainly do standard bridges as a warm up and cool down for my main workout. Once I could comfortably do it for a minute plus a 1 minute neck bridge, I started working on 1 arm/opposite leg bridges. Once I could do those for 30 seconds a side comfortably and consistently with minimal to no assist (side or nail of pinky finger against wall or floor to balance), I was able to do the stand to stand bridge. The stand to stand neck bridge requires more control but not necessarily more strength…well in the neck and traps but mostly to brace for the impact.
Considering Al did his first stand to stand bridge within the last year and he’s in his 30s, I’d say it is definitely possible for someone in their 30s!
Thanks Robby. I was also diagnosed with scoliosis at a young age, wore a brace for a while as a teen but I don’t think the curve ever corrected as such, just didn’t get worse. I actually need to try get video myself or something and check my bridge form. Do you think uncorrected scoliosis is a concern for bridging?
btw re: “but mostly to brace for the impact.” there were several points in the video where I was holding my breath and thinking, man I wish he’d at least put a towel down :p
Al if you’re reading, well done on the StS!
Apologies to the OP for the hijack!
To check bridge form, I suggest a tile or other clearly marked, symmetrical floor. Place your hands and feet so that they form a perfect rectangle, your feet and hands mirroring each others placement on the grid. My friend with a (presumably) normal spine finds no difference doing them like that or just going by feel. When I do this, I feel like I’m twisting to the left. That means that when I’m doing them otherwise, I’m probably not actually be aligned correctly. Furthermore, to me it implies that people with scoliosis may not know how their spine should feel when they’re straight. This has been helpful for me, personally; my back feels great after bridging, and it gives me a greater awareness of my lower back and spinal column.
No problem, gettingon. The more info, the merrier.
That’s a great tip Robby, thanks!
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