Bridge pose is also a major basis of movement in Pilates. From the Pilates bridge, you can do a variety of beats and leg raises for both leg and muscle exercises.
So for such a versatile and vital position, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing Bridge Pilates the right way. East River Pilates’ Brian Spencer finds people all too often making common mistakes, which is why he shares his wisdom with us on how to perfect moves. One key piece of advice: It’s all about maintaining stress — in the right places. That is, don’t let that tension take over your shoulders, but keep your legs and core active by pushing your feet into the ground, while feeling like you’re pulling them toward you. .
“This strengthens the hamstrings more, so it’s not just a push-down, it’s a pull,” says Spencer.
Here are three of Spencer’s great tips for doing the Pilates bridge the right way.
1. Keep your feet at the right distance from your hips
One mistake Spencer often makes is putting her feet too far away from her hips. Your feet really should be within your reach. This is the position from which you will be able to activate your hamstring thrust optimally.
2. Get rid of your low back
In an attempt to raise his hips, Spencer saw everyone arching their backs in this position. You really want your lower back to be in a neutral position: You’ll know it’s in the right position, with your abs pulled in, if you can see your knees.
3. Relax your shoulders
Sometimes people will shrink into their shoulders. Out there! Your shoulders should be relaxed – the basis of the pose, not the active muscles. “When in doubt, turn your palms to the ceiling,” says Spencer. This move will open up your ribcage and force those shoulders to relax.