In my previous article I covered some advanced versions of the wrestler’s bridge exercise to build both more neck and spine strength, as well as dynamic flexibility.
Now its time to turn on the gymnastic bridge.
By itself the bridge requires a high degree of flexibility. The truth is when your flexibility is great, then holding the position isn’t too hard. It requires more strength when you don’t have the flexibility to do it, because you can’t quite get to lock out.
If you’re not there yet, keep at it. Make sure to read Convict Conditioning to build your bridge.
And what I want to cover here is an advanced variation not covered in that book, that takes your flexibility, and stability, to another level. Here is a short series of progressions you can do. The video shows each one and you can read more about them below.
One Arm Bridge Hold
Get into a gymnast bridge and lockout your arms. Shift your weight slightly to one side then raise up the other arm off the ground. Hold for time. If you can get a minute you’re doing great.
Work both sides equally. You can come down and rest between sets or shift back to two hands, then onto the other arm.
One Arm Bridge Twist
There are several versions of this move that just change it up slightly.
To start with get into you’re your one arm bridge. Rotate your torso towards that arm as you kick your opposite side leg over until you come to a position where you’re on all fours.
Note that your hand may need to twist on the ground as you turn.
After you get to all fours you can then rotate back.
Work to both sides. You’ll likely find one side is better than another. This is usually more because of flexibility than strength. Also notice that it requires an even greater degree of shoulder and wrist flexibility plus shoulder stability through an interesting plane of motion.
One Arm Bridge Twist from Sitting
Now we’re going to do the same thing starting from a sitting position. For description purposes I’ll describe this from the position of having the left hand on the ground.
Start with your left hand on the ground, pointing away from your body. Your left leg will be straight and your right leg bent and close to your body. Raise your hips up and onto that arm as you bridge over. Your hand has to do a 180 as you come into a bridge position. Once in position you can place your right hand on the ground.
Try coming up with the same or opposite arm back to a sitting position.
This is a move from gymnastics that is usually reserved for women as they tend to have more flexibility. Still it can be worked up to, if you’re willing to put in the time.
This combines the previous exercise, the one arm bridge twist from sitting, with a kick over done in seamless fashion. In the beginning you may need to break it down into sequential steps and of course both should be solid before attempting to put them together. You actually begin kicking up with the leg even before your second arm touches the ground.
I’ve pulled this one off before, but not in many years. Without working on it recently, I haven’t quite got the flexibility and control required for it.
So if you’re ready for some more intense bridge work start working in this series. If you can do all this, just holding a bridge will never be a problem again.
About Logan Christopher: 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 www.LegendaryStrength.com.