Advanced Bridging Variations

by Logan Christopher on February 19, 2013

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As a kid I was always skinny. I mean very skinny. Entering high school I weighed less than 100 lbs. I played football there and lifted weights though I wasn’t really good at either.

The truth is I only really started seeing results in my strength and body when I got into bodyweight exercises about the end of school. After a year or two of consistent work in bodyweight training I ran across an old friend. His first statement to me:

“Wow! Your neck filled out.”

Guess what I had been doing? Various forms of bridging. Looking back I’ve been doing these exercises for about ten years now; and in this article I want to share with you some variations. If you’ve been doing Convict Conditioning for awhile you may be able to get started with these, because the truth is all these are more advanced than the basic holds.

Weighted Bridging

I started adding weight to my bridges because I was getting bored with long static holds. My best ever hold was ten minutes in a hands free wrestler’s bridge. I know I could have gone further but I didn’t want to. What can I say? I get bored easily and 10 minutes is about my maximum attention span.

I first did this with people, but I started using weight simply because I didn’t always have a person to sit or stand on me. In the beginning I’d pull over a light kettlebell and hold it. Then two kettlebells. Eventually I had to move inside a power rack as getting the weight into place proved harder than the hold.

I don’t recommend going this far for most people I just wanted to see how far I could take it and follow in line with guys like George Hackenschmidt who supported big weights in this position. If you work up to even a light weight you’ll probably have more than enough neck strength for your daily life, unless you’re involved in sports or martial arts.

To give you an idea of what can be achieved this video shows my current best hold. It’s a very brief support of over 600 lbs. split over the barbell and Bud Jeffries sitting on me. I plan to take this support to over half a ton in the future.

Neck Plank

As the wrestler’s bridge became too easy and I had to do something to make it harder, so the same was true of the front bridge. I experimented with adding weights but my favorite came from extending the leverage. For this you start in the front bridge position and walk your legs back while keeping your forehead on the ground. It’s like a plank position where only your forehead and toes are on the ground, with the stress being on your neck (and your abs as well to some degree) hence the name.

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Dynamic Bridging

The static holds are great and make up a large part of bridging. But they’re not the only things you can do.

The next couple exercises are dynamic in nature and thus train the body in a slightly different way. Both involve going from the front to back bridge position albeit in different ways. Check out this video to see both in action.

Bridge Kickovers

This move takes a good degree of strength, flexibility and acrobatic ability all at the same time. You must start in a wrestler’s bridge with the hands on the ground.

To get started I like to rock three times from my toes to chest, kicking with one leg hard, on the third go. The leg kicks up and over, then the other comes to follow it. You’ll land in a front bridge position although it’ll be far from perfect. From here you can kick one or both legs back to end in the wrestler’s bridge once again. When you’re first starting out one rep at a time is fine. When you get good you can go back and forth very quickly.

Only progress to the hands free version if you have lots of practice and are sure your neck can take it. It is significantly tougher to do. If you don’t quite make it over you may end up spinning and coming down in an awkward manner which you want to avoid.

Either of these variations can be made progressive by kicking off of a raised stable surface.

Bridge Twists

This final bridging exercise involves twisting from a back to a front bridge. This works every single muscle in your neck as you go to the sides, as well as some interesting spine action taking place.

This is great for improving your flexibility and is commonly done by wrestlers. As before, be sure to start with your hands and become great at that before moving to the hands-free position.

You’ll also find it easier if you stay more towards the back of your head.

That should give you some new variations to play with. Don’t try to do these all at once. In fact, I’ve found that a little bridging goes a long way. If you have any questions be sure to ask below. Also if you’d like to see me write more on gymnastic bridge variations (on top of these wrestler’s bridging exercises) for you to play with, then let me know.

Logan Christopher has been called a physical culture renaissance man as he is accomplished in a wide range of strength skills from kettlebell juggling, performing strongman stunts, and bodyweight exercises. He is the author of numerous books including Secrets of the Handstand and The Master Keys to Strength & Fitness. In addition, he’s spent the last several years going deep into mental training to find out what it takes to really excel and tactics that can help people instantly improve their exercises. You can find out more about all this at http://www.LegendaryStrength.com.

 

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  • Paul John Wade

    Logan is THE MAN. Kid has forgotten more about advanced bodyweight techniques–like bridging and hand-balancing–than most coaches ever knew.

    If you enjoyed the old school strength attitude in Convict Conditioning, you should definitely go to legendarystrength.com and check out his stuff.

    Thanks for supporting the PCC, Logan!

    • Logan Christopher

      Thanks Coach. I appreciate your support and am happy to help other people get into old-school awesome bodyweight training!

  • Lee

    Really appreciate these variations. I know I for one wouldn’t mind seeing whatever additional variations you would like to share!

    • Logan Christopher

      I got a whole lot more. So I’ll be sure to start working on the next article.

      • Rose Widell

        I can’t wait – this was great stuff!

    • Hawk

      Same here!

  • Dude, Logan, you are a BAMF! Do you still sell your advanced bridging course by chance? I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and I think this may be my cue to finally pick it up.

    Aleks

    • Logan Christopher

      Yeah it’s still available over at advancedbridging.com. Tons more variations in that.

    • Paul John Wade

      The advanced briding course is phenomenal. Logan’s mental strength stuff is also very cool. There is no strength without mental strength. There are lots of real gems available over at legendarystrength.com, not least the chronic injury program.

      -Also: I just emailed you Aleks. Let’s see if we can get some of your excellent training ideas up here my man.

  • jim perry

    admirable demonstration of strength, concentration, mental focus… blood, sweat, and tears mixed in… (a nice song from long ago)…!! it would be interesting to see some progressions leading to these forms… personally.. i’ll not be trying these with two replaced hip joints and a couple of back surgeries thru the years… i’ll imagine and visualize doing them tho….
    jp

    • Paul “Coach” Wade

      Jim, the PCC manual will feature lots of progressions and also regressions building up to advanced bridging. There will be something for you to benefit from in there, I know.

  • Robby Taylor

    Logan, awesome article man! That neck plank is badass, I’ll probably add it to my regular bridging regimen.

    • Logan Christopher

      It is literally one of my favorite exercises.

  • Julie

    Awesome! I love learning all kinds of variations of body weight exercises. As a stay at home mom in a rural area, body weight exercises are all I do. Thanks!

  • Great article. Super inspiring. That’s some extremely impressive bridgework hellyeah!

  • Logan is da MAN, there’s NO doubt about that! I know from first hand experience how Ferociously Strong and Powerful he is, as I’ve met him in person on 3 occassions! His Neck Strength is DEFINITELY awesome and very remarkable!

    And speaking of Neck Strength, and about the Wrestler Bride Support Hold in particular… Guess what, comrades?! I’ve ALSO done that exact same Feat of Supreme Neck Strength! As a matter of fact, Both Logan & I have trained this together one time at the Super Human Training #2 Workshop in Tallahassee, Florida! Definitely some damn good times over there back in March of 2012!

    That being said, since I DON’T have a Power Rack where I live, nor do I have the space for it as of right now, So my MAX Wrestler Bridge Support Hold with the Nose to the Mat is only 440lb.s for 3 seconds! This is Unsupported though, so it’s a whole lot more risky and dangerous then the one that Logan is performing where he supports 600lbs. Now that is in NO way to talk shit about Logan’s Wrestler Bridge Supporting achievements whatsoever, NOPE not at all, man… but I’m just saying how it is…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbYLu4o0FeI

    So here’s the link to my 440lbs. Wrestler Bridge Support Hold with the Nose to the Mat! For performing this Feat of Strength, I used my Father, who weights around 80KG, 2 Kettlebells of 36KG & 32KG that I hold above my head in the Lockout position, plus 2 Kettlebells that my Father is holding in both hands, which are the 28KG & the 24KG Kettlebells! So ALL of that together equals 200KG, and thus 440Lbs.

    Have at it and let me know what y’all think… thanks in advance! By the way man, I love this site to the fullest and it looks damn cool as well, Awesome job!

    In Strength & Health

    • Paul John Wade

      What a great Youtube channel–some awesome feats there. Especially loved the thumbs-only pushups! Keep up the great work. When we bring PCC to the Netherlands, I sincerely hope you’ll be with us man.

  • Holy shit man, thanks a lot Paul Wade a.k.a. Coach Wade! That means a LOT to me, coming from a Brilliant Old School, Hardcore to the Bone Calisthenic Trainee and Athlete such as yourself, damn good stuff and I appreciate the support to the fullest!

    I’ve actually been able to DOUBLE the reps in those thumbs-only pushups TODAY, which makes it 10 reps! Because first of all, I had to REST (which I don’t like to do by the way, but that’s just ME and my crazy world), because here’s the thing: I had been literally Bending & BREAKING All types of Steel for 2 weeks in a Row NON-STOP every single freaking day with NO MERCY and NO rest whatsoever!), I broke Nails, Spikes, Bolts, Crescent Wrenches, Open-End Wrenches & Screwdrivers! Yeah, I AM crazy and ferociously insane like that indeed, Sir! 😀

    But hey, I never said that I was normal and average in the first place… heck, Logan can testify to that! That being said, here’s the picture of ALL the Broken Steel from February the 1st ’till February the 15th… And besides, all that stupid steel had it coming to it, period! 🙂

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152095045581996&set=pb.629336995.-2207520000.1361497847&type=3&theater

    And speaking about the PCC in the Netherlands, HELL YEAH, count me in — all the way, and then some! I’ll be very honoured to represent PCC here in the Netherlands and be your man! Just give me that opportunity and I’ll do my utmost BEST to make it big in the Netherlands as well!

    Once again, thanks for the support and props, looking forward to hearing and seeing more of the whole PCC movement, it’s dope as hell and very cool!

  • Paul John Wade

    You the man Matti. You’re a crazy bastard for sure–and we love ya for it!!

    PCC Netherlands: Let’s make it happen!

  • Thanks a lot Coach! Haha, I can’t deny that I, indeed AM a crazy bastard — To the FULLEST, and then some! 😀 And why not, huh?! In this day & age, I’de rather be a crazy bastard, insane and Ferocious as hell, then being normal, average and BORING as fuck! I know that you can relate to this to the fullest as well, Coach! And besides, I’ve been called many other names as well, from Crazy Dutch Fuck to Cookoo, to Lunatic and Crazy Mofo… and so on and so forth… I won’t go into ALL the names that alotta people in my life thus far ever called me, because then I would have to write at LEAST 100 more words, and I’ll save the BOTH of us from that kind of Digression…

    Back to the main and important subject, Calisthenics! OLDSCHOOL Calisthenics, that is! 😀

    That being said, I actually achieved my FIRST EVER 1-Arm Prison Pushup with the Legs together YESTERDAY! Although it STILL has a twist innit and is NOT the Perfectly Straight and Aligned Body and Technique Execution as is described in Convict Conditioning, but I AM getting closer and closer to it each and every day! That being said, before I’ll let you check out the video for yourself, I would ALSO like to mention that I HAVEN’T been able to get even remotely close to THIS Feat of Enormous, Legendary and Ferocious Strength while Training with the Flat Palm a.k.a. Standard Grip… It was ONLY untill I started to train my FingerTIPS to the FULLEST and UTMOST that I got up to this point and actually succeeded in performing this Feat of Strength! But I explain ALL of it and go into MAJOR details about all of it in the description of the video itself on Youtueb, so check it out over there if you’re interested innit! 😀 Which I’m pretty damn sure you are!

    Here’s the video man, check it out and please let me know what you think about it as well, Coach Wade…That is, what are your thoughts, ideas, opinions and feedback on it?! I would very much appreciate that and I’ll be very gratefull, to say the least!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXPEM0iyt30

    Thanks in Advance and Much Obligued! Thanks for your time and business as well! Damn good stuff, Love it! This Site is da Bomb Diggity as well, Awesome Site!

  • Jordan Vezina

    I have Logan’s Advanced Bridging DVDs. You should as well. Until you possess them, we both know who the better man is.

  • Bwhahahaha, What the hell is that supposed to mean? You really wanna tell me that You think that I’m competing against Logan and trying to prove myself over here who’s the better man?! LOL!

    Damnit man… I didn’t post all of it to show everyone how fucking cool and freaking great I am, although I MUST admit that I DID, in fact, achieve quite an Ferocious and Legendary Level of Strength with the Wrestler Bridge, as well as OTHER Feats of Enormous NECK Specific and Intensive Strength… I posted all of this to PROOF to everyone over here that Logan is, indeed, the REAL DEAL and that I learned a TON from him personally and therefore, that his stuff TRULY works to the fullest… and then some!

    Although I MUST say that I absofuckinglotely LOVE a challange, There’s NO doubt about that whatsoever… Hell, the HARDER and MORE Tougher the Challenge, the BETTER and the Higher Up I RISE to Face it, Smash it and Eventually CONQUER it! You got that right…

    Having said that, I have competed in the past with Logan face to face and still do so ’till this very day! But here’s the thing man, I know Logan personally and he’s a good friend and fellow comrade of mine in this Physical Culture Business! Heck, BOTH Logan and I Trained the Wrestler Bridge Lockout Support with a Barbell and a shitload of weights on it together as a friendly competition back in Tallahassee, Florida, at the Super Human Training #2 Workshop in March of 2012… You can ask this to Logan yourself, go ahead, he’ll tell ya!

    Once again man, I actually DID Beat Logan in a couple of Insane and Awesome Strength Feats, but that’s neither here nor there… I showed this to everyone to show what Logan’s stuff and information can and most definitely WILL do for you… all the way! I did it out of respect for Logan, and as a recognition as well!

    And before I continue to write and write and write, I’ll wrap it up by saying that I know that I can meassure with Logan when it comes down to Ferocious and Legendary NECK Strength… As I could keep up with him in every aspect back then in 2012… Now I haven’t meassured my Neck Strength against that of Logan personally in the last couple of months of this year… But I WILL very soon, I guarentee you that! And this is NOT to bragg whatsoever… again, Logan knows what I’m capable of when it comes down to Neck Strength… And that’s all there is to it.

    So bottom line = I KNOW that I can keep up with Logan and do MOST of what he can do as well… And although I don’t own his Advanced Bridgind Course… YET, which I will buy in the near future… I can hold a candle up to Logan in every aspect of Neck Training, I know that much! Of course, Respect to Logan to introducing me to this kind of super FUN and Awesome Training in the first place!

    • Jordan Vezina

      1. That post was the most amazing thing I have ever read.
      2. My post was a joke. I don’t actually think owning anything makes me better then someone else, except for all my Hello Kitty gear, which makes me better than everyone else.

      • Rose Widell

        Amen, Jordan! Hello Kitty gear makes everyone better.

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