Hip Bridge Exercise Challenges

Hip Bridge Exercise - The Basics

Hip Bridge Exercise
Hip Bridge Exercise. Stylepics

The hip bridge exercise is a good exercise to start with if strengthening your butt, hamstring muscles and/or low back is your goal. But did you know that by simply varying the exercise a little bit, you can transform this beginner's move into intermediate and even advanced challenges for key posture and back health muscles? Having variations in your back exercise tool kit that provide you with several ways to challenge yourself may mean that you stick with this very useful exercise for a longer period time; the perks of adding in exercise variations is that they can help fight off boredom as well as strength plateaus.

The image on this page shows you the no frills move that is generally recommended for people who are in the beginning phases of spinal rehabilitation. If that's you, know that you can work at this level for quite a while. (Always make sure you're not working in pain, and if symptoms arise, stop the exercise and talk to your doctor and/or physical therapist about whether you should continue with the bridge and if so, how.) The next two slides will show you some modifications for making the bridge exercise accessible when you are just starting or lack strength.

After that, if you already have basic hamstring and butt muscle strength, slide on for 4 more ways to increase the challenge.

Related: How to do the beginners version of the Hip Bridge Exercise

Support Your Back with Your Hands while in the Hip Bridge

Supported Hip Bridge
Supported Hip Bridge. Gladkov

If you feel the need, you can help support your low back with your hands.

Related:  Correct Your Posture with Exercise

Hip Bridge Exercise - How High Should You Go?

Hip Bridge Exercise - Height for Beginners
Hip Bridge Exercise - Height for Beginners. Summerseason

But know that you don't have to start high to start getting good results from doing the bridge. In fact, it may be better to remain low at first and make sure you can do 10 of these without feeling pain.

Hip Bridge Exercise - Give Your Shoulders and Back a Stretch

Hip Bridge Arm Clasp
Hip Bridge Arm Clasp. Wollwerth

For a great shoulder stretch that will likely require more work out of your hamstring and butt muscles (this is to keep your body - especially your hips, pelvis and lower extremities - body - stable while your upper body gets the stretch) try clasping your fingers together and pulling your hands, arms (and therefore your shoulders) down in the direction of your feet. Of course, your hands won't actually reach your feet, but in the process of trying, you'll likely get a nice stretch in your upper back and shoulder area. The extra support you get from those working hamstrings and butt muscles will help develop their strength.

Related:  Types of Back Exercise Programs

One Legged Hip Bridge

One Legged Hip Bridge
One Legged Hip Bridge. SLP London

Once you're a wiz at doing the bridge with both feet planted on the floor, try it with one leg lifted. To do this first get into the bridge with both feet; then while you're up there, lift 1 leg in the air. Be sure to maintain a level pelvis even when your leg is in the air. The self-awareness piece of this can be challenging, but well worth the effort. If one side (usually the side with the leg in the air) drops lower than the other side, you may not get as much core pelvic strength as you could.

On Your Toes! Extreme Hip Bridging Variations

Hip Bridge on Toes
Hip Bridge on Toes. maxsaf

Want an extreme butt challenge? Try going on tip toe while you're in the bridge. You can start by lifting then lowering your heels about 10 times. Once you can do that fairly easily, consider slooowwwly lifting your heels up and keep them that way for a count of 10. Do between 5 and 10 of these butt challengers. After you've mastered (or at least gotten really good at) that variation, try the 10 lift and lowers followed by the 5-10 ten second holds on tip toe on one leg only. As I mentioned in the previous slide, the key here is to keep the front of your pelvis level so that you weight the standing leg properly and use your core pelvic muscles to stabilize and balance the pelvic position. When you do this one right it's a k-ller!

By the way, you don't have to do all 4 variations in one day. You can mix and match, and if you're just beginning with this level of challenge, stick with the 10 lifts and lowers for a week or two. Progress yourself as your strength for this advanced move builds.

Related:  Should you hit the gym when your back is acting up?

Advanced Hip Bridge Shoulder Stretch

Hip Bridge Ankle Clasp
Hip Bridge Ankle Clasp. Hip Bridge Arm Clasp

If clasping your hands is a piece of cake (slide #4), try reaching your arms and shoulders even further by grasping each ankle with the respective (i.e., same sided) hand. Keep your heels pressing into the floor to keep your body stable. This may help focus the stretch in your shoulders. It also helps support your body position while you're up there.

Related:  Workouts and Back Pain

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