The BRIDGE will strengthen your core!

Here are five reasons to add bridges to your workout every day:

1. Reduce knee and back pain.

Your glutes and hamstrings tend to be forgotten. The quadriceps usually takeover and do most of the work, whether it’s daily activities or high-intensity workouts.  This can result in tight IT bands, which can lead to knee and back pain, because the dominance of one muscle over another can lead to injury. Doing bridges fully engages the glutes and hamstrings, evening out muscle use.

2. Improve athletic performance.

Strong glutes are a key factor when it comes to producing power. Power is what aids all athletic movements. Strengthening the glutes helps you to sprint faster, jump higher and be more explosive on the court or field. You’ll see the results when walkng or running in the ABC 7 Gibbons 5K Run and 3K Walk.

3. Your clothes will fit better.

A high, toned, rounded tush looks great in any situation, and the stronger your glutes, the better their shape will be. Bridges — especially weighted bridges — can give you major definition. Don’t be afraid to lift heavier weight if you’re doing a weighted version of the move … it’ll just give you better tone and a firmer tush!

4. Strengthen your core.

The bridge exercise activates all the core muscles, including the transverse abdominous (flattens your core), rectus abdominous (six pack!) and obliques (hourglass figure). Performing any variation of a bridge works these muscles deeply, tightening everything up in one easy move.

5. Improve your posture.

Doing Bridges will build strength in the glutes and erector spinae, which help you maintain proper posture when you’re sitting or standing for an extended period of time. The move also strengthens the core which always helps with posture.

Here are five bridges to try:

For a full workout, perform the entire routine three times.

Single Leg Bridge

Lay flat on your back with knees bent hip width and hands by your sides. Bring right knee into your chest and keep it in place. Keep foot on the floor and knee bent. Engage glutes and lift hips up as high as possible. Form a straight line from head to knees when you lift. Hold at the highest point for 2-3 seconds and lower back down to the floor. Perform 20 reps on each side.

Weighted Bridge

Lie flat on your back with knees bent and feet hip width. Hold a weight on your hips and keep it in place using your hands to stabilize it the entire time. Engage the glutes to lift the hips up as high as possible (make sure the lift is coming from your glutes and not your low back by keeping back straight and core engaged). Return back to center and repeat the movement. Perform 10 reps.

Inverted Bridge

Lie flat on your back with right foot on a stable bench or box. Bring left knee into your chest and hold in place the entire time. Lift the hips up as high as possible, pressing the right foot into the bench to lift. Return back to the floor and repeat the movement. Perform 10 reps each side.

Narrow Bridge

Lay flat on your back with feet and knees glued together the entire time. Engage the glutes and inner thighs as you lift hips up. Hold at the top for 2-3 seconds and then lower back down. Do not let the legs come apart. Perform 20 reps.

Bridge Pulses

Lie on your back with knees bent, hands pressed into the mat and feet hip-width apart. Lift hips up as high as possible. Lower the hips an inch then lift the hips an inch. Continue this small range of motion for 30 reps.