The Beginner’s Guide to Pilates Bridge–Everything You Need to Know to Get Firmer Muscles

In this post: I love multi-tasking, core-strengthening exercises like Pilates Bridge. In one exercise, you can strengthen all your core muscles.

pilates bridge

I have a problem. I love Pilates and I love being pain-free, but I often find myself very short on time.

Sure, I want a happy, healthy body. However, I also always seem to have a huge list of other things that need to get done.

That’s why I love Pilates exercises that multi-task, and Pilates Bridge is a perfect example. In this one exercise, you can tone and strengthen all of the muscles necessary for a strong core.

And that’s what we’re all after, right?

Because if you have a strong core, you reduce body pain and are able to have a more active life. You get to do the things you want to do when you want to do them.

So, here are two versions of Pilates Bridge. Both versions will help you build a strong core, so I recommend practicing both. By practicing this exercise, you can build a strong body that’s ready to have

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Why You Should Do Pilates Bridge

Pilates Bridge is a great multi-tasking exercise for anyone wanting to build a stronger core. The core consists of the:

By keeping these muscles strong and balanced, you can build a strong core.

Specifically, when you practice Pilates Bridge, you get to work all of these muscles. Whether you’re keeping your spine neutral or rolling through (and I recommend you practice some of both), all four of these muscles groups get to work.

How to Do Pilates Bridge (Keeping the Spine Neutral)

pilates bridge
  1. Begin on your back with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart.
  2. Broaden your collarbones, and reach your arms straight by your sides with your palms down.
  3. Send energy down through the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet.
  4. Use Pilates breathing.
  5. Inhale into the sides of your ribs and feel everything in your belly area settle toward your spine.
  6. Lightly engage your abdominals to maintain this position.
  7. Exhale to use your glutes and lift your hips straight up to a bridge position. At the top of your lift, your shoulder blades should still be connected to the Mat.
  8. Keep your abdominals gently working as you inhale into the sides of your ribs.
  9. Exhale and lower your hips straight down to the Mat. Make sure your pelvis is still in neutral.
  10. Do 3-5 reps.

How to Do Pilates Bridge (Rolling Through the Spine)

pilates bridge
  1. Begin on your back with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart.
  2. Broaden your collarbones, and reach your arms straight by your sides with your palms down.
  3. Send energy down through the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet.
  4. Use Pilates breathing.
  5. Inhale into the sides of your ribs and feel everything in your belly area settle toward your spine.
  6. Lightly engage your abdominals to maintain this position.
  7. Exhale to Imprint, and engage your glutes to increase the pelvic tilt. Lift your hips and peel one vertebra at a time off the floor. Your shoulder blades should stay in contact with the Mat.
  8. As you roll through your spine, keep the abdominal connection. Make sure your hips lift evenly and your adductors (inner thighs) work to keep your knees from drifting apart. When you finish your lift, you want to still be able to keep your pelvis tilted so the front of your hips is closer to the front of your ribs. You do not want to lift so high that your pelvis returns to a neutral position.
  9. Keeping your abdominal connection, inhale into the sides of your ribs when your hips are completely lifted.
  10. Exhale and reverse sequence to lower down one vertebra at a time. Finish by returning the pelvis completely to neutral.
  11. Do 3-5 reps.

For Visual Learners…

Here is a video of the two best ways to do Pilates Bridge for all the visual learners out there.

Before You Practice Pilates Bridge, Don’t Forget…

Pilates Bridge is a great way to strengthen your core, but always be mindful of what you are doing. If you ever feel pain, you should stop what you’re doing immediately. Take a moment of rest and, if you’d like, try again.

It’s really common for people to have the backs of their thighs cramp (in the hamstrings). This cramp can come from:

  • a weakness in the hamstrings (which are also worked in this exercise),
  • a weakness in the adductors (which might decide to quit working correctly at some point in the exercise), or
  • dehydration.

In addition to watching out for hamstring cramps, you also want to be mindful that your gluteus maximus muscles don’t overwork. If they do, they could grip and pull part of your tailbone askew.

Although this isn’t terribly painful, it’s definitely not comfortable either. I highly recommend you avoid having your tailbone shift out of place.

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Which is your favorite version of Pilates Bridge? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi! I'm Sarah, and I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. When I'm not working with clients, I'm researching the best ways to get rid of pain. Do you want to learn how to practice yoga and Pilates safely in your own home? Or, do you want to know all my tips and tricks for pain relief? Join my mailing list and receive free goodies to help you.

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