How to Do the Yoga-with-Weights Bridge Exercise - dummies

How to Do the Yoga-with-Weights Bridge Exercise

By Sherri Baptiste, Megan Scott

Maybe you know the old yoga saying: You’re as young as your spine is limber. The yoga-with-weights Bridge is designed to stretch your spine to make it more elastic. The exercise also stretches your rib cage and chest and strengthens your upper back, torso, hamstrings, and calves. As for any wrinkles you may have? Sorry, the bridge can’t iron them out.

If you have a lower back problem, do this exercise tentatively at first, and engage your buttocks muscles as you engage your abdominals; this helps stabilize your lower back.

You need your hand weights to cross this bridge; ankle weights are optional. After you’ve prepared, follow these steps:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet planted flat on the floor, and your palms facing downward while holding the weights on the floor.

    This is the starting position. Make sure your lower back is flat against the floor. Look straight up at the ceiling.

  2. Inhaling to a count of four, raise your hips and buttocks to knee height and lift both arms above your head.

    Your hands should move 180 degrees to the floor behind you. Press down into your feet as you lift your hips and buttocks, and rely on your shoulders to bear most of the burden.

    If you feel any discomfort in your shoulders, neck, or arms, lift your arms halfway.

  3. Exhaling to a count of four, lower your back to the floor one vertebra at a time and bring your arms forward and back down to the starting position.

Keep your tailbone down and your abdominal core strong to take the strain off your lower back during this exercise. And keep your knees stable and in their starting position; they shouldn’t wobble.

Do this exercise six to eight times, pause to rest, and then do it six to eight more times.