Get more from your plank-a-day; bridge for balance

I love all the plank-a-day Tweets filling up my Twitter stream.

plank a day on twitter

I’m amazed to see how long people are able to hold their planks and am excited to see their plans for progressively increasing those times.

plank a day on Twitter

Planks are a fabulous exercise for strengthening the muscles of the core, in particular the rectus abdominus (the ‘six pack’ muscles) and  transverse abdominus (the ‘lower abs’). In fact, many fitness professionals now prefer them over standard crunches or sit ups for increasing abdominal strength.

‘Spinal stabilization’ is the new sexy!

proper plank form

But bodies work best when opposing muscle groups are balanced in strength. Front body (anterior) muscles need to precisely balance back body (posterior) muscles for optimal function and long term lack of pain.

Show me a body builder with well-developed pecs and forward sloping shoulders and I’ll show you someone with an under-developed back! (Hint: you should be able to pull as much as you can push)

Want to get more from your plank-a-day? Add a bridge-a-day to your routine!

Bridges are essentially reverse planks.

Rather than contracting your anterior core muscles to hold your body in a straight line, bridging requires you to activate the deep muscles of your mid and lower back; your quadratus lumborum, multifidus and erector spinae. Bridging also requires the use of your glutes and hamstrings; both important muscle groups for stabilization of the lower back and pelvis.

To perform a bridge, begin by laying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, approximately hip distance apart.

Beginners will extend their arms out to their sides, in ‘T’ formation. Intermediate exercisers may lay arms alongside their torsos.

  1. Taking a deep breath in, pull your belly button towards your spine
  2. Squeeze glute cheeks together
  3. Push through the heels of your feet
  4. Exhale as you raise your hips off the ground until
  5. Your body forms a straight line from chest to knees
  6. Hold for up to 30 s (please continue to breathe!)
  7. Gently lower to starting position, rest and repeat

core strength training

Ideally, you should be able to hold your bridge (or reverse plank) as long as you can hold a regular plank!

plank-a-day + bridge-a-day = unsurpassed core strength and spinal stability

Need more challenge? Try one of the following;

  • Extend arms straight up over your chest (less contact with the floor)
  • Place feet on a stability ball (unstable surface)
  • Lift one foot off the floor, extending leg straight up (reduced base of support)
  • Place a weight plate or sand bell across your hips (increased resistance)
  • Perform a hamstring curl on the ball (dynamic instability)
core training exercises

 

I’d love to see you Tweet your #BridgeADay #PROOF as well! Let’s see if we can get the #BridgeADay hashtag trending!

Watch for mine tomorrow!

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.

Comments

  1. OMGOSH you KNOW I want that on a tee:

    spinal stabilization is the new sexy.
    Miz recently posted…Im oil pulling.My Profile

    • Not sure that we would sell very many…hard to compete with all the other ‘new sexy’ things…

  2. LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I always preach work opposing body parts! I see the opposite so much out & about. Just love all in this post – love! I do work it all & makes sure to get every little body part – nook & cranny! 😉
    Jody – Fit at 54 recently posted…Gratitude Monday & the WeatherMy Profile

    • You can bet my group fitness classes know how to bridge (and they do the more advanced options!)

  3. Great post. My group classes also bridge (and since they seem to be a bunch of Type A’s, they also like the more challenging versions).
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted…Easiest Tofu Bake Ever! Vegan Recipe. And a Blog Hop!My Profile

    • Debbie, your class and my class should meet up. My Monday morning ladies are a bunch of powerhouses! Want to have a bridge-off?

  4. I performed both of those moves in the power yoga I did this morning. Can I have my gold star please? 🙂
    crubin recently posted…E-Publishing and Self-Publishing: Two Different ConceptsMy Profile

  5. I love planks, though not as much once I hit the 2 minute mark. As for bridges, they make my hamstrings cramp, though you are so right about working opposing muscles. Not cramping is the new sexy. Or the old sexy. I’ll take either!
    KymberlyFunFit recently posted…Lose Weight or Maintain Weight Loss?My Profile

    • How about back extensions or cobra, then? Still working lower back, without the hamstring involvement…

  6. I love this and think I will add this in!
    Sabrina @Work It Ms Jackson recently posted…July 4th FunMy Profile

  7. Hooray for planks! I did a swing plank yesterday – a plank on a swing in the park! haha

  8. THanks for sharing this! We look forward to adding bridge to our plank workouts

Trackbacks

  1. […] on a side note Tamara, a fellow FitFluential,  mentioned to us we should add on bridge after we do our planks. And we think that is a great idea! So after we do our 5 minute plank workout, we will follow up […]

  2. […] The house cleaning on Monday counted as my activity. All 4.5 hours of it. Last night I did 20 minutes of H.I.I.T. on the elliptical and then 3 – 30 sec planks each followed by a 30 second bridge. Check out this article by Tamara about planks and bridges. Get more from your plank-a-day; bridge for balance […]

  3. […] the following posts: 22 plank variations by Tina, the 12 minute 12 plank movement by Shannon, and combining the plank with bridges for a strong core by Tamara. So, do you #plankaday? /* Recommend on Facebook Share with Stumblers Tweet […]

  4. […] the following posts: 22 plank variations by Tina, the 12 minute 12 plank movement by Shannon, and combining the plank with bridges for a strong core by Tamara. So, do you #plankaday? /* Recommend on Facebook Share with Stumblers Tweet […]

  5. […] that you work your muscles in a balanced fashion. Spend half your time planking and the remainder perfecting your bridging technique. And even better yet? Progress that static plank by adding movement to engage even more […]