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3 Easy Exercises to Beat Back Pain: BRIDGES

This week’s video is all about…what exercises can I do to strengthen my spine?

That’s a question I get asked in the practice all of the time. The truth is when you have back pain you actually recruit the stabilizing muscles of your spine differently and you aren’t actually recruiting them in a way that causes them to support the spine.

It should be a part of every healing program that you retrain those muscles and work on developing better strength and stability in them if you want to ultimately fix the back problem that you have.

There are 3 exercises that I think are very important that would benefit EVERYBODY and I am going to show them to you in a series of 3 videos.

This is video one and the exercise I am going to show you is…THE BRIDGE.

I am going to show you the proper way to do a bridge. There are a couple of things that you need to consider when you are doing the bridge exercise.

How to Do a Bridge

The first thing you want to pay attention to when you are starting to do a bridge stabilizing exercise is we want to make sure we are in what we call a neutral spine.

One of the best ways to find a neutral spine is to go to the other two extremes.

We can start out with an extreme anterior pelvic tilt…where you really arch your back and bring your pelvis forward. From there you can then swing into a posterior pelvic tilt…where you are pressing your spine against the floor and then you want to come to the mid-point where you have a nice neutral spine. Your spine if you visualize it should be in a straight line not pressed into the floor and not arched.

Then the next we want to pay attention to is we want to have a little bit of lower abdominal or transverse abdominal contraction which is your lower abdominal muscles. One of the best ways to do this is to put your hands on your hip bones and to think about drawing your belly button toward your spine so there is just the slightest contraction. You don’t want to feel the contraction higher up you want to have enough of a contraction so that there is some core abdominal support but you want to be able to breathe and carry on a conversation like I am.

Once we have set up that neutral spine and we have our core abdominal contraction then we want to pay attention to the placement of our feet. We want our feet to be hip width apart and the movement of the bridge should really be coming from the heel and from a flat foot. You don’t want to be up on your toes and you don’t really want to be up on your heels either. You want to feel like you are pushing equally through the foot when you are doing the movement.

Then the movement that we are doing to do is we are going to raise up…so we have our contraction in the lower abdominals and then we are going to squeeze the glutes so we are using mainly the glutes and we are going to raise up as far as we can go.

Now, if you can get up to the point that you are in a straight line…with your knees…that’s great…not everyone is going to be able to do that because if you have really tight hip flexors (and my hip flexors are a little on the tight side) then it’s going to be hard for you to get all the way up.

The other thing is you DON’T WANT TO MOVE THROUGH PAIN.

If you feel pain in your back when you are doing this…then this isn’t the right exercise for you right now.

What you want to feel is that contraction in your glutes…I am going to show you the movement again…you want to hold it for a second and then lower and you want to feel like the movement is coming primarily from your glutes.

You don’t want to be feeling a lot of tension in your back. If you are that means that you are using your back muscles…and chances are you are already using those too much…that’s the whole point of this exercise. We want to be using our glutes more than our back muscles and so we are trying to strengthen those glutes.

There you have it…it’s a bridge exercise that’s pretty simple.

How Many Should I Do?

You want to be able to do about 10 in one set…and for most people that’s a great place to start.

Do 1 set of 10…I would do it every other day…and build up to the point where you eventually you are doing 3 sets of 10…and if 10 feels like too much…do 5…A LITTLE BIT IS BETTER THAN NOTHING AT ALL!

I hope you found that helpful.

If you did please feel free to share it with your friends and if you have any comments please feel free to leave them below.

Until next time…

Live Well for Life


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