Are you looking for an easy move to strengthen your core, butt, and ALL the back of your body muscles? The floor bridge exercise will just do the work for you!
There are many bridge variations and it is a MUST to add to your lower body workout no matter your fitness level. In fact, you can modify them to suit your needs.
In barre fitness, the standard bridge exercise is used quite often because not only does it strengthen your glutes and back thighs but it also works and stabilizes your core.
What Is a Bridge Exercise?
Also known as glute bridges, hip raises, or butt lifts, they are a super-effective series of butt activation exercises that can be performed at any time!
They are a closed-chain workout because your arms remain in place.
A bridge exercise targets your glute muscles (gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus) as well as isolates your hamstrings which are your principal posterior chain of muscles (back of the thigh).
You don’t need any gear to do a hip bridge. You can do it on a yoga fitness mat or even on a towel. You lie down on your back with your feet flat on the ground and knees bent to form a “bridge”. You should feel comfy. The basic bridge movement consists of lifting up and down your posterior.
So simple to do, anyone of any age can do it safely. However, you will still feel the burn because it is quite a challenging workout.
16 Top Benefits of the Floor Bridge Exercise!
Glute bridges are one of the best butt-burning exercises, but not only!
- Build strength in major muscles all at once!
Super worth your time, the hip bridge is a compound move that works your back thighs, lower back, and core simultaneously. Getting stronger in your legs and core makes your daily movements like picking things up, climbing stairs, and running, so effortless.
Read here the related article “Why are compound exercises so important?”
- Tone and shape your butt!
Like the squat, the bridge uses the same group of muscles which are the quadriceps, and the gluteus Maximus which is the largest muscle in the buttocks. Also, both moves include the hip and knee extension. Give your booty a boost and give it the shape you want!
You may be interested in the related article “Ballet Plié Squats Awesome Benefits: Be Happy to Squat!”
- Get a stronger back!
Hip bridges safely and powerfully work the back muscles. A stronger back means a stronger body and you reap many health advantages! In fact, the posterior chain muscles make up one of the most significant sets of muscles in your body.
- Relieve back pain!
While hip raises will surely strengthen your whole back, they will also help soothe any lower back pain.
Floor bridges do wonders for people who can’t squat due to hip, knee, or backache. Lying down avoids putting too much pressure on the joints and lower back.
- Strengthen your core and boost your stability!
Stability is the capacity to stand still against unwanted movement and thus avoid falling. Building stronger abdominals and back muscles leads to better balance and stability.
Most daily physical activities depend on stable core muscles. With a proper balance, you can go about your everyday movements safely and with more ease.
The bridge activates and reinforces your core stabilizer muscles which are designed to support your spine keeping your tummy tucked in and flattened.
Therefore, it is such a great exercise to define your waistline because it targets your six-pack and works the obliques as well.
- Improve your posture!
Spending a lot of time sitting weakens your back and glutes muscles. Your hip flexors shorten and feel tight. That is how you end up slouching because your hips and back muscles aren’t strong enough to pull you upright.
Surely, a regular bridge workout will have a huge impact on your postural health and greatly enhance your poise, targeting those specific muscles (lower back, abs, and glutes) that are meant to hold you straight.
Check out the article “16 Good Posture benefits that are so important!”
- Get more flexible!
Another floor-bridging workout benefit is that it gives you a great lower body stretch. That’s right, it stretches the stabilizers of all your posterior chain, hip abductors, and hamstrings.
Remember, as we age, our flexibility and mobility are so important on a daily basis.
- Reduce the risk of injury!
To avoid hurting yourself, it is crucial to build strength in major muscles. The bridge move not only boosts your power but as resistance training, reinforces your joints and connective tissues as well. Consequently, it prevents overuse joint injury down the road.
- Decrease your knee pain!
The lack of control of the upper leg bone, the femur, can cause it to slide forward and provoke internal rotation. It is one of the main reasons that cause knee pain.
Stronger glutes play a big part in maintaining the femur at the hip joint. Likewise, the body bridge exercise, as a low-impact move, puts no strain on your knees and helps with pain management.
- Level up your performance!
If you are a jogger, a professional runner, or an athlete, hip raises are so beneficial in boosting your ability to run faster and jump higher. You not only need to work your legs and calves but you also need to reinforce your hip and glutes to get the speed and height you want.
Read the related article “Why is Barre Fitness so good for men?”
- Burn more calories!
Being the largest muscle group in your body, working out your glutes naturally requires you more energy to train. Thus more calories to burn.
This makes the hip bridge a super powerful exercise if your goal is to build strength and lose weight.
- Relieve stress!
As a floor workout and stretching exercise, the bridge lift helps relieve stress and calm the mind. You find yourself more relaxed, and less fatigued because it improves the circulation of the blood, calms the nervous system, and regulates stress hormones.
- Lessen the symptoms of menopause!
A calm and relaxing exercise as the back bridge can help ease the symptoms of menopause by keeping your glands working well and bringing hormone balance. It can help cortisol from blocking progesterone and estrogen production.
- Boost your mood!
Furthermore, floor bridges not only contribute to emotional balance by boosting the happy hormones but also are an excellent method of practicing mindfulness which helps perk up your spirit and reduce anxiety.
- Soothe your menstrual cramps!
By gently stretching and stimulating your abdominal organs, butt lifts help ease period discomfort. That is because exercising releases endorphins which reduce the feeling of pain. The back lift movement also allows the extra fluid in your body, the lymph, to flow better and thus reduce bloating.
- Super practical!
Bridges are excellent for an at-home workout as they need no equipment and minimal space. When done slowly, it becomes a great low-impact move for hip mobility.
Try this 15-minute Floor Barre Bridges workout that you can do from the comfort of your home. Note that the bridges are performed feet joined and then widespread, that is because the focus is on the outer thighs.
What Muscles Does The Bridge Exercise Use?
Don’t be deceived! Basic bridges, though performed on the floor while lying down, target multiple muscle groups all at once. It is an awesome workout that can replace basic squats, especially if you are injured and want to take the tension off your lower back.
Here are the muscles you work when performing a classic hip bridge:
- Back thighs (hamstrings)
- All your three glute muscles: Maximus, medius, and minimus
- Lower back
An added bonus, the bridge exercise stretches not only your back, quad muscles, and hip flexors but also with some variations, even your neck, chest, and shoulders.
How To Properly Do a Basic Bridge Exercise?
- Starting position: lie flat on your back on a fitness mat. Rest your arms, palms down by your sides. Bend your knees placing your feet, hip-width apart, flat on the floor beneath your knees. Keep your spine in a neutral position.
- Squeeze your glutes and core, pushing your lower back into the floor.
- Press your heels onto the ground, engage your glutes, and raise your hips off the floor to form a straight line from shoulders to knees.
- Keep your core and glutes engaged, inhale, and hold for 3 seconds.
- Exhale and lower your pelvis back to the starting position.
What Are The Common Mistakes When Doing The Basic Glute Bridge?
- You raise your hips too high.
Hyperextending your hips can lead to lower back pain, and overstretching your lower back muscles. That is why it is crucial to keep your core tightened, ensuring you don’t arch your back too much.
Also, this will guarantee that you don’t put undue tension on your neck.
- You push through your toes.
When you lift your hips off the ground, you should do it by pushing on your heels, not your toes. Pushing on your heels ensures that you target all the muscles of your glutes. However, if your goal is to strengthen your hamstrings and calves, then you should do the bridge on your toe tips.
- Your feet are not placed correctly.
Again if you target your glutes, then your feet should be placed hip-width apart with your toes pointing outward. Keeping your feet joined or widespread activates your hamstrings.
- You let your hips sag.
When starting out, you may feel your hips dropping as you’re trying to hold the bridge position. Then, lower your hips back to the floor. Don’t let your hips sag. It is best to hold the bridge for a few seconds until you build enough strength to hold it longer.
As you can see, you can reap some awesome multiple benefits from this humble bridge exercise that are not all just physical.
Watch your form and pay attention to your breathing as well. You can do bridges to rest and restore your mind, not just your body.
The bridge exercise is a great alternative to replace the squat if you don’t like the latter or are injured. It is much easier to learn and can also be done as a training step for learning the squat exercise.
You can add fast-paced bridges into your HIIT-like sweat session or slow down the movement to really feel the burn.
Read the related article “Why do muscles shake during a workout? Is it really a good thing?”
Have you tried yet the bridge exercise? Let me know in the comments below!
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