The Shoulder Bridge, an exercise that improves spinal mobility via segmental control (moving spine one vertebra at a time).
This exercise is a great one to start with because it offers a few important benefits:
- increases the strength of the glutes and hamstrings (buttocks and back of your thigh)
- helps to improve hip flexibility
- helps to improve pelvic stability
So to get started follow the simple steps below and watch Jane’s video to see how it’s done.
Start in neutral spine (straight spine).
Placing a yoga block or pillow between your knees may help stabilize the legs and hips.
Tilt your pelvis out of neutral by contracting your lower abdominal muscles and tilting your pelvis towards your chest.
Lift your pelvis off the mat and focus on using your abdominals to peel each vertebra away from the mat until you are lifted onto your shoulders.
When you get to the top of your bridge lift make sure you have a straight diagonal line from your shoulders to your knee caps (with no dip at the hip joints).
To reverse the movement begin to roll down through your spine one vertebrae at a time making sure each vertebrae makes contact with your mat, until you return to neutral again (ensure the back of the chest finds the mat first, then the back of the rib-cage, then the back of the waist, and finally your pelvis finds the mat last).
When you are ready to increase the challenge, at the top of your shoulder bridge, lift one knee over your hip without dropping your pelvis. Hold for up to 5 seconds and change sides before rolling down again.
Things to look out for...
Keep your hips lifted for as long as possible on the way down so that you can curve the lower back into the mat.
Make sure that your waist band contacts the floor before your bottom.