Single Leg Bridge
To perform a successful single leg bridge the body is required to work as a whole unit rather than in individual units. The abdominals must work to stabilise the trunk as the hip extensors on the standing side also work to support and stabilise the pelvis and the spine, so that when one leg is lifted the spine is not vulnerable to the weight of that leg.
If a person can maintain good coordination between the upper body and the lower body when one leg lifts then this is a great indication that they are ready to plank.
Just like the bridge, a plank requires you to use your body as a whole so that your muscles support your skeleton and the spine and joints involved are not vulnerable to the forces exerted by gravity. This takes strength in the shoulder girdle, the ability to hold with the abdominals, and coordination between the upper body and lower body. A successful plank will build strength in all the major core muscles making it an excellent functional exercise.
- Start in neutral spine (straight spine)
- Tilt your pelvis out of neutral by contracting your lower abdominal muscles and rocking 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)
- Lift one knee over your hip without dropping your pelvis. Hold for up to 5 seconds before lowering your leg and repeating on the other side
- To reverse the movement begin to roll down through your spine one vertebra at a time making sure each vertebra 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)