Bridge pose can also be a mainstay of movement in Pilates. From the Pilates bridge, you can do a variety of leg and leg raises for both leg and core work.
So for such a versatile and important pose, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing the Pilates bridge correctly. Brian Spencer of East River Pilates sees common mistakes people often make, so he shares his wisdom with us on how to perfect the move. An important piece of advice: It’s all about keeping the tension—in the right place. That is, don’t let that tension carry over to your shoulders, but keep your legs and core active by pushing your feet into the ground, and at the same time feel yourself pulling them toward you.
“It recruits the hamstrings a lot, so it’s not just a push, it’s a pull in,” Spencer says.
Here are Spencer’s big three tips for doing a Pilates bridge the right way.
1. Keep your feet the right distance from your hips
A mistake Spencer often sees is people placing their feet too far from their hips. Your feet should actually be within reach of your toes. This is the position from which you will be able to best activate that push-pull of your leg with your hamstrings.
2. Get out of your lower back
In an effort to raise their hips to the sky, Spencer finds them arching their low backs in this pose. You actually want to keep your lower back in a neutral position: if you can see your knees, with your abs engaged, you’ll know it’s in the right place.
3. Those who relax the shoulders
Sometimes people will shrug their shoulders. Get out of there! Your shoulders should be relaxed – a base for posture, not an actively working muscle. “When in doubt, turn palms up toward the ceiling,” says Spencer. This will open up your chest and force those shoulders to chill.