The Side Bridge

Hi, here is a great  exercise for everyone.  It's from the yoga world and one of my all time favorites, the Side Bridge.  I love it because it works so quickly and effectively on all the parts of our abdominal area we so desperately try to maintain.  The abdominal area being our lower back, sides, obliques, and stomach.   
This literally hits them all in one exercise! Some times if I had a crazy day and no time to do anything with my body I will do side bridges before I go to bed.  I actually feel like I didn’t lose the entire day and still got a little something in.  It's all the little “somethings” that add up and keeps our bodies and minds in shape.  Of course, if you can get a full dose of exercise, fantastic!

OK, here is how to do a Side Bridge: 1.  Lie on one side, with legs straight and ankles on top of each other like the picture of yours truly.

2.  Support the upper body by keeping the elbow directly beneath the shoulder.

3.  Being careful not to let the top hip rotate forward, engage the abdominals and use the torso to lift the hips up, parallel to the floor.

4.  Hold this position for as long as you can, maintaining a neutral neck and spine position.

When your feel like you can't hold it anymore, well this is when I say "Tighten your skirt up Mary, suck it up and count to ten!"  Seriously though, really hold it for an additional ten seconds to really get that peak contraction.  This is when your body benefits most, so the last ten seconds really count!

OK.  Drop down, roll over, and do the other side.  No rest, right to it, and hold this as long as you can with a ten second hold @ the end. Now rest.  See how you feel.  Where did you hold that exercise?  From the right spots?  Or your neck?  Did you breathe or hold your breath the entire time?  Try to feel and make notes to yourself and get ready for set number two. This time, start on the same side you just finished with. 

You do this rotation for four sets.  On the last set, make that final ten count as long as possible without sacrificing form and it will feel great!!!!! When it gets tough, remember some more key tips.  Wiggle your fingers, relax, think grace, and don't let your shoulders or neck kick in and take over the exercise.  Also, squeeze your butt.  Lift it up from the inside.  This will protect your back and keep you stable, not to mention work that butt a bit as well!

Common Errors:

Error:  Dropping the hips

Correction:  Slightly contract the gluteals and the abdominals to keep the body in good alignment.  Squeeze your butt and keep your body in line by flexion.  A strong, tight, stomach is the name of the game.

Error:  Twisting or tilting the head

Correction:  Keep the head and neck aligned with the spine.  Don't get lazy!  Be aware of your body and your breath the whole time.  Don't check out, check in! So the next time your  lying around on the couch watching TV, knock out some side bridges 

(click to see a video of the exercise)!   All the Best in Health!    

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