Hip bridges (or glute bridges / spine curls / bridge pose) are a great exercise for your legs but can also be a bit of an all rounder, in that they can also roll out through the spine and strengthen your core.
The bridge exercise strengthens your glutes (your bum), and your hamstrings and can be progressed / regressed as required. They are also a pretty simple and uncomplicated move to complete, making it an accessible exercise to everyone.
How Do I Do a Hip Bridge?
It's pretty simple really, here's a step by step guide for you:
Place your feet hip width apart and bring them close to the body, you want to avoid having the feet all the way at the end of your mat. Have your arms resting down by your sides.
Gently start to press your lower back down into the mat, which will start to engage your abdominals and glute muscles.
Roll up through the spine and lift your hips towards the ceiling. You're looking to create a diagonal line from your head to your knees.
Make sure you've rolled onto the shoulder girdle and no higher just to keep your neck comfortable. You should be able to move your head from side to side when you're at the top of the bridge position. If you can't or if you have any discomfort in your neck, you might just need to roll down a little bit more onto your shoulder blades.
Lower the hips, rolling down through the spine, back to your start position.
The hip bridge can be progressed in a number of ways. You can keep it simple and add some pulses (either pulsing the knees out or pulsing the hips up), add in a mini ball between the knees, or a resistance band looped around the legs. Another option to add more load to the movement, is to lift a knee or a leg! This will really help to focus on single leg strength but it becomes more tricky to keep your hips lifted.
You can build up to these trickier moves and just start with the basics :)
So What Are The Benefits?
Strength! This can be a great strengthening exercise for your glutes, legs and core
It can stretch and aid movement of the spine
It builds strength in the erector spinae, which runs from the length of your neck to your tailbone
It can support your posterior chain, which is essentially the muscles in the back of the body
It can help to ease lower back pain
Essentially, the hip bridge is a great 'all rounder' for building strength in the body and promoting movement in the spine. It's a move that anyone can complete and you can really progress it and see how that strength is building!
What do you think about the hip bridge? Do you love it or find it a bit uncomfortable? If you find it uncomfortable, it might be that there's something that needs to be adjusted. Feel free to pop me a message if you think you need help with your hip bridges.