In the previous 'Buns of steel' posts we have gone through how important your buttock muscles (glutes) are for protecting and stabilising the joints of your pelvis called your sacroiliac joints. Bridging is a buttock activation exercise which encourages everything your pelvis needs to remain stable.
Bridging helps to promote what is known as force-closure of your pelvic joints. This essentially means your buttock muscles push the sacroiliac joint surfaces closer together more tightly. A bit like tying a ribbon around a box. Bridging is equivalent to making the ribbon and bow tighter around the box, holding everything together a little tighter.
Bridging also helps to create flexibility at the front of your hips, where muscles such as your hip flexors and psoas (which we will touch on in later posts) live. Tightness in these muscles can increase your risk of developing lower back pain by exaggerating the curve of your lower back (called your lumbar lordosis).
To the basics about how your lumbar lordosis can play a role in creating lower back pain during pregnancy, and most importantly what you can do to prevent it, read the blog post titled ‘Don't Wet Yourself Laughing’.
So for your third and final (for now - I could right about butts all day!) booty building, buns of steel making, Beyonce booty transforming buttock exercise we have.... the Glute Bridge!
Start: Tie your band loosely around your knees, then lay on your back on the floor. Place your feet hip width apart with your heels directly beneath your knees and pointing straight forwards. Make sure your knees are also hip width apart and are taking up the slack in your band. Let your arms drop by your sides with palms facing the floor. If you are not using a band make sure your knees do not fall more than hip width apart.
Pelvic tilt fully, this is the foundation of your exercise.
To learn how and why to pelvic tilt, check out the blog post ‘Don’t Wet Yourself Laughing’.
Action: While maintaining a strong pelvic tilt, begin to lift your pelvis and lower back off the floor hinging at your hips. Imagine you are trying to push your pubic bone toward the ceiling and your head at the same time. You may find you have limited range of movement (like in the picture above) due to the size of your belly; work within your comfortable range. Squeeze your butt muscles and hold at the top for 1 second.
Slowly lower back towards the floor to the count of 3 slow seconds (1 elephant… 2 elephant… etc.). Aim to let your lower back touch the floor before your bottom does, (if you have a large bump, this may not be possible). Release your pelvic tilt. This is one repetition.
Repeat for a total of 3 lots of 8 - 10 repetitions, remembering to rest for 2 minutes between sets.
... this with the ADductor ball squeeze for optimal balance between the muscles around your hips and pelvis. The post titled 'Squeeze Your Balls' takes you through this exercise.
Also, to help improve the height of your bridge couple this exercise with a hip flexor stretch. I will show you how to stretch your hip flexors in a blog post coming soon.