The bridge has many benefits including lower body and core strengthening, increased flexibility and stabilizer muscle activation. There are many variations and progressions of the bridge. To do the most basic variation, lie on your back with your knees bent and arms by your side. Tighten your core, squeeze your butt, and lift your hips as high as you can, maintaining neutral posture in the pelvis.
Primary Muscles Worked
According to ACE Fitness, the hip bridge primarily works the rectus abdominus and the gluteus maximus. These muscles provide the support, structure and strength to lift the hips from the floor from a supine position. The rectus abdominus and gluteus maximus are vital muscles for many basic and advanced exercises. You can make this exercise harder by using one leg, elevating the legs onto a surface like a chair or couch, placing your feet on a stability ball, or even placing your feet on the wall to perform the exercise.
The rectus abdominus is more commonly known as your abs. The muscle is a large sheath that runs from the tip of your chest (or xiphoid process) to the pubic bone. This is the muscle that has the potential to develop the commonly sought out "six-pack." The rectus abdominus is responsible for flexing the spine, when it is activated. To get the greatest benefit from the abs while performing the bridge, pull your belly button in toward your spine, as you lift your hips, thereby ensuring abdominal activation.
The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body and is commonly known simply as your butt or glutes. The gluteus maximus has several responsibilities including extension, external rotation, transverse abduction, and adduction of the leg and hip. The difference between abduction and adduction is that when you abduct your muscle, you are moving it away from the body and when you are adducting, you are bringing your leg or hip in toward your body.
There are several other muscles that help you perform the bridge movement. ACE Fitness states these muscles include the erector spinae, transverse abdominus, gluteus medius/minimus (abductors), hamstrings, and adductors. The erector spinae is a muscle of the lower and mid back, which helps stabilize the movement. Each of the other muscles is a part of the abdominals and posterior chain, assisting the rectus abdominus and the gluteus maximus with this simple exercise. Secondary muscles are important, because as the larger muscles start to fatigue, the smaller (secondary) muscles step in to maintain the integrity of the exercise.
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