Functional Resistance Training: The Bridge

This is the second blog post discussing the Functional Resistance Exercises. If you haven’t already, please check out the previous post explaining the Scapular Retraction exercise. If you have done so already, let’s dig into the benefits of the Bridge and how to perform it.

The Bridge

Have you ever found yourself lying on the bed, couch or even worse laying on the ground after falling and not being able to get up? To avoid such situations, we need to strengthen the muscles responsible for getting us up, these muscles make up the “posterior chain” (low back, hip extensors, gluteal muscles and hamstrings). The mentioned muscles provide the strength, support and control to raise the hips from the floor, bed or a couch from a supine position (laying on your back). Strengthening these muscles provide significant benefits related to balance, posture and particularly core strength.

How to perform the Bridge:

We’ll start by laying on your back on a firm surface such as an exercise mat or padded floor. From this position we are going to bend the knees we are going to raise the hips toward the ceiling, bringing them in line with the knees and shoulders. The focus is on pushing the feet into the ground while lifting the pelvis. Arms should be kept at the side with palms facing down which will provide stability and shoulders remain on the surface to protect the neck.

Difficulty:

Level 1: Lie down on your back with soles of the feet on the floor and knees bent at approximately 90° and raise the hips upward to the ceiling. Press your feet into the ground while lifting the pelvis to bring hips in alignment with the knees and shoulders. Hold the position for 2-3 seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.

A person lying on the floor

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A person lying on the floor

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Level 2: While in the “up” position, extend one leg at the knee to bring in alignment with the hips, making sure the pelvis remains level. Do not let one side “drop” or lower when extending the leg. Hold for 2-3 seconds.

A person lying on the floor

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*Remember we are aiming for 3 sets of 12-15 reps, and it is okay to start with just a couple of reps. Don’t discourage yourself and let’s build-up to 15 reps!

The Information in the above blog has been adopted from Roetert & Ortega (2019) “Physical Literacy for the Older Adult” published in the Strength & Conditioning Journal.