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Move of the Month: Bridge Exercise

July 6, 2015

Provided by Copley Certified Athletic Trainer Vin Faraci, MS, ATC

Morrisville – Many of the daily activities that require us to move, lift, bend, or twist require core and leg strength. Improving your core and leg strength improves your fitness and can also help prevent injury. Copley athletic trainer Vin Faraci suggests working the Bridge into your day. Faraci describes the Bridge as a simple exercise that offers many benefits. It is popular with athletic trainers as well as fitness trainers and yoga instructors. Physical Therapists may also use the Bridge when treating someone with a weak or injured back.

The Bridge uses many muscle groups, including the hamstrings, gluteals (muscles that make up the buttocks), lower back and abdominals. Faraci recommends starting with 10 repetitions and eventually building that up to at least 20. “The exercise should be done slowly and with control,” says Faraci. He recommends you use a yoga mat or perform the Bridge on a padded floor; it should not be done on a hard surface.

Basic Bridge Exercise:

  • Lie down on your back with your knees bent. Knees should be hip distance apart, feet flat on the floor with your arms to your side. You may also cross your arms adding a little more intensity.
  • Slowly raise your hips and lower back off the floor; creating a straight line from your knees to shoulders
  • Keep your stomach muscles tight
  • Exhale as you lift
  • Hold this position for 3-5 seconds
  • Slowly return to the floor and inhale

As you progress, you may increase the difficulty or intensity of the exercise. To do this, elevate your feet 4-6 inches, using a balance disc, foam roller, or a small step. You can also perform this exercise with only one leg at a time.

Single Leg Bridge Exercise:

  • Lie down on your back with your knees bent. Knees should be hip distance apart, feet flat on the floor with your arms to your side. Crossing your arms will allow for a more intense exercise.
  • Place your left ankle on your right knee
  • Slowly raise your hips and lower back off the floor
  • Keep your stomach muscles tight
  • Exhale as you lift
  • Hold this position for 3-5 seconds
  • Slowly return to the floor and inhale

As with any exercise program, it is recommended that you check with your doctor before beginning.

Faraci is a Certified Athletic Trainer at Copley Hospital. He provides both land based and aquatic orthopedic rehabilitation. Faraci also works closely with area schools to ensure our student athletes are receiving the proper prevention and injury care to keep them on the slopes, fields and courts.

Copley’s Rehabilitation team provides a comprehensive and patient-friendly program that includes a full range of inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services at four locations: Copley Hospital, Mansfield Orthopaedics, Hardwick Physical Therapy and at the Stoweflake Resort and Spa in Stowe. Services include: Athletic Training, Aquatic Therapy, Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Hand, Occupational, Physical and Pediatric Therapies, Speech Language Pathology, Workplace Conditioning and therapy for Urinary Incontinence. For more information visit copleyvt.org/medical-services/rehabilitation-services/.