<p>You might know the bridge as a common gymnastics move where you bend over backwards and hold yourself up on your hands and feet like a superhuman arch. For those of us who aren’t from a gymnast background, there are simpler variations on the bridge. In time these variations will help you work up to performing that full bridge move. The benefits of the bridge include working your glutes and helping to reduce back pain. Here we’re going to teach you an easy yet powerful version of the bridge that almost anyone can do: the shoulder bridge hold. </p>
<p>For the shoulder bridge hold, start by lying down with your knees bent. Squeeze your glutes and press your hips up—supporting your body on your shoulders and feet—and hold. When done with good form, this move is incredible for improving your posture, strengthening the muscles of the back, and working your shoulders.</p>
<p>Once you’ve got the shoulder bridge hold down, you can try the <i>half bridge hold</i>, a modification that will push you even harder. For this move, you’ll start in the same position as the shoulder bridge hold, lying on the floor. Place your hands on the floor on either side of your head with your palms pointing towards your toes. Next, squeeze through the hips and lift up so your head is hovering off the ground—at a midpoint between the shoulder and full bridge position. You’re going to feel the stretch in your back while your arms, glutes, and core are all firing.</p>
<p>Finally, you’ll be ready to move on to the <i>full bridge hold</i>, the move we mentioned at the beginning of this article. It might seem out of reach now, but if you take the time to build up your flexibility and strength, you will get there. For the full bridge hold, you’ll lie on the ground with your knees bent. Bend your elbows overhead so that your palms are on the floor facing your torso. Push up through your hands, hips, and feet to form the bridge with your body and hold. This move will stretch out your back while firing the glutes, core, arms, and legs hard.</p>
<p>Let’s get started by learning how to do the perfect shoulder bridge hold.</p>
<li>Lie down on your back and bend your knees, bringing your heels as close to your butt as possible. Keep your arms on the ground with your palms facing up.
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<li>Squeeze your glutes and press through your heels to bring your hips upwards towards the ceiling. Lift your chest up as far as possible.
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<li>Hold this position for as long as you can or for an allotted period of time then drop your body back down to the ground and relax.</li>
<header>Things to keep in mind:</header>
<li>Keep your shoulders relaxed and not scrunched up towards your head. Do this by tucking your shoulder blades back and pressing your arms down towards your feet. Try thinking about reaching your thumbs as far as you can in the direction of your feet.
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<li>Maintain your arm position throughout the exercise by pressing the backs of your hands into the ground. You need to have your palms facing up the whole time to keep your shoulders in the proper alignment.</li>
<li>Make sure that your knees in direct alignment over your toes throughout the exercise. Also keep your glutes squeezed, and your chest lifted up as high as you can get it towards the ceiling.
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<li>Place the majority of your body weight on your heels. If you come up on your toes, you’ll shift the focus of the exercise from the back of your body to the front. We’ll get to the front with more complicated variations, but for now the focus is on strengthening your back.</li>
<li>While keeping a little bit of air in your stomach the whole time, focus on your inhale and exhale. As you breathe, cycle through the cues we’ve given you here to make sure that you’re executing this movement well.</li>
<p>The shoulder bridge hold is a challenging exercise with some incredible benefits like helping your posture, building strength in your spine, and working your shoulders, glutes, and more. Make sure to keep all the form cues in mind to ensure that you’re getting the maximum benefit out of this exercise while keeping yourself injury-free.</p>
<p>This move is a great place to start towards doing full bridge holds. Once you’ve mastered the shoulder bridge hold you can move up to the half bridge hold, a nice intermediate step that will prepare you for the full bridge.</p>
<p>Again, the bridge might seem like a long way off, but the two other exercises we’ve offered here are going to help you build up the strength and flexibility you’ll need to meet the full bridge challenge!</p>
<p>The shoulder bridge hold is a versatile and powerful exercise that you can practice anywhere with enough space to stretch out on the ground. Now that you know how to do it perfectly, try adding a set into your next workout or do some holds during commercial breaks while you’re watching TV.</p>
<p>If this exercise is too easy, try <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-half-bridge-hold/">Half Bridge Holds</a>.</p>