Bridging is a fundamental exercise to promote hamstring and glute strength. In addition to hip strength, I look for opportunities to enhance anti-rotation/pelvic stability with many bridging progressions due to the weakness and asymmetries I see in my clinic. This exercise is big bang for your buck exercise that can be used in rehab and training circles.
Execution: Begin in supine with the right leg extended and heel/lower leg on the ball. The arms are placed on the floor at a comfortable angle away from the body with the palms down. The left hip, knee and ankle should be flexed (triple flexion position). The cervical and lumbar spine should be in a neutral position. It is often best to cue the client to lightly draw their navel in toward the spine prior to the actual bridge.
Next, drive the right heel into the ball and fully extend the right hip. Pause for 1 second at the top, and then slowly lower back down. Repeat this for 10 repetitions and then switch legs. Perform 2-3 sets on each side. If the client struggles with balance, provide increased stability by spotting and holding the ball to prevent and/or minimize displacement during the exercise.
1. Turn the palms up toward the ceiling (allows slightly less assistance/stability from the lats)
2. Fold the arms across the chest
3. Keep the arms extended and pressed together (palms in)
4. Increase time under tension by using a slower cadence
Application: This exercise offers many benefits including increased posterior chain strength, improved proximal hip/core stability, and better hip dissociation. It is helpful in all runners, clientele with posterior chain weakness and athletes with hip imbalances. The unstable nature of the ball challenges to client to resist rotation at all times as well.