The Bridge - Leg Strength

Here I have a great exercise for an important but often neglected group of muscles.

It’s called the Bridge and it focuses on the muscles on the back side of your body, specifically the muscles of the lower back, hip, and upper legs.

These three muscle groups often work together when you’re getting up from a chair, going up stairs, or picking something up off the ground.

I particularly like this exercise because it is quite gentle on the back, knees, and hips but still manages to work those muscles quite well.

In the video below, I demonstrate the Bridge while lying on the ground. If you do not want to lay on the ground you can instead lay on your bed or even on the couch (though you may find the couch too cushy).

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Explanation

Lay down flat and relax your head and shoulders. Lay your arms by your sides with the palms flat against the floor. Bring one knee up and place the foot so it is about 1 foot away from your hips, then do the same for the other knee. Your feet should be about 6 inches apart from each other. This is your starting position.

Now squeeze the muscles on your backside and push through the heels as you raise your hips off the ground. Bring them up until there is a straight line formed from your knees through your hips to your shoulders. Then lower down slowly. Repeat 5-15 times.

As you’re going up, try to imagine that your spine is moving as one stable, straight unit. The motion here is actually happening at the hip joint, and your lower back muscles are just acting as stabilizers, holding your spine in good alignment.


Modifications

As always, you should not feel pain when doing this exercise.

If you’ve had problems with your knees, it is possible that they might not like being bent quite so far as you get situated in the starting position. In that case, place your feet a little further away from your hips which will lessen the degree of knee bend.

If you feel that you can’t go all the way up until your body forms a straight line, that is ok. Even just raising the hips an inch off the ground will activate the muscles. Do what works for you.

You can do this exercise 2 or 3 times per week and slowly add more repetitions over time.



Want to Get Moving With Mike?

Enjoy a full length workout with Mike that you can watch on your TV as you follow along. The DVD is 30 minutes and includes:

  • seniors exercise videosGentle warm-up to get your body ready to exercise
  • Balance exercises to help reduce your risk of falling
  • Leg strength exercises  to keep you active and independent
  • Coordination exercises to help your brain communicate better with your muscles
  • Upper body exercises to keep you strong
  • Posture exercises to keep you standing tall
  • Stretching exercises at the end to keep your joints mobile and healthy



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