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How to Do a Shoulder Bridge Lift with Perfect Form

Published August 28, 2018
KC Clements

Written By: KC Clements, MS

KC holds a Master of Arts in Gender Politics from New York University

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<article> <section> <p>The bridge is an incredible exercise for challenging your glutes, lower back, and core, while strengthening your posture, and even alleviating back pain. The full bridge exercise might be a bit too ambitious for beginners though. There are modifications you can make that will allow you to get many of the same benefits in a much more accessible movement. Here we’ll teach you one of those variations on the bridge: the <i>shoulder bridge lift</i>.</p> <p>For the shoulder bridge lift, lie on your back with your heels close to your butt. Place your arms on the ground, palms facing up. From there, lift your hips up towards the ceiling, hold, then drop them back down. This move is much like the shoulder bridge hold, but with an added active component. The repeated lifts will force you to work your glutes and legs even harder.</p> <p>Once you’ve got the shoulder bridge lift down, you can try out the <i>alternating one leg shoulder bridge lift</i>— that’s a mouthful, right? It’s actually pretty simple. You’ll do the same movements as you did for the shoulder bridge lift, but this time you’re going to alternate using one leg to lift yourself up while extending the other leg out. Using each leg on its own to propel your body upwards will help you achieve muscle symmetry.</p> <p>From there, you can test out the <i>alternating one leg half bridge pushup</i>. For the half bridge pushup, bend your elbows and place them next to your head with your palms facing towards your body. Press through your hands and feet to lift your body up halfway towards the ceiling. In this advanced variation, you’ll perform the half bridge pushup, but you’ll alternate using one leg to lift yourself up while extending the opposite leg. It’s a challenging move, but once you can do it you’ll see some incredible benefits.</p> <p>But first, let’s learn how to do the shoulder bridge lift with perfect form!</p> </section> <section> <header>Instructions:</header> <ol> <li>Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your heels as close to your butt as you can get them. Place your arms on the ground at your sides with your palms face up. <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-shoulder-bridge-lifts-1.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-shoulder-bridge-lifts-1.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-shoulder-bridge-lifts-1.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-shoulder-bridge-lifts-LR-1.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="shoulder bridge lift"> </picture></li> <li>Press through your heels to lift your hips as high up towards the ceiling as you can. <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-shoulder-bridge-lifts-2.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-shoulder-bridge-lifts-2.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-shoulder-bridge-lifts-2.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-shoulder-bridge-lifts-LR-2.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="shoulder bridge lift"> </picture></li> <li>In a slow, controlled movement, drop your hips back down to the starting position.</li> <li>Continue repeating this motion until you’ve reached the desired number of repetitions.</li> </ol> </section> <section> <header>Things to keep in mind:</header> <ul> <li>Inhale as you lift your body up and exhale as you drop back down. It’s helpful to imagine that as you inhale you’re pulling your body up and as you exhale, you’re pressing your body back down. This is going to help you open up your chest and keep your shoulders in good alignment.</li> <li>Think about pressing your fingers as far towards your feet as you can. This cue will help prevent your shoulders from scrunching up and moving out of alignment. <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-shoulder-bridge-lifts-3.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-shoulder-bridge-lifts-3.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-shoulder-bridge-lifts-3.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-shoulder-bridge-lifts-LR-3.jpg" width="65%" class="img-fluid" alt="shoulder bridge lift"> </picture></li> <li>Keep your knees in alignment over your toes. Make sure that they don’t cave in or wobble out as you perform the movement.</li> <li>Don’t go up onto your toes when you’re lifting yourself up off the ground. Instead be sure to press through your heels every time you bring your hips up.</li> <li>When you reach the top of the movement squeeze your glutes hard to get the maximum benefit.</li> <li>Be careful not to rest when you return to the ground. You want to go right into the next rep as soon as you hit the floor.</li> </ul> </section> <section> <header>Conclusion</header> <p>The shoulder bridge lift is a fantastic exercise for strengthening your back, opening up your chest, and improving your posture. This move gives you the opportunity to really push yourself. With each consecutive rep, try lifting yourself up a little higher and a little further. With the form cues we’ve provided here, you’ll be sure to get the greatest benefit out of this amazing movement.</p> <p>When you’ve mastered the shoulder bridge lift, you’ll be ready to tackle the alternating one leg shoulder bridge lift. Single-leg exercises are a great way to promote muscle symmetry and strengthen each of your legs individually—this move is no exception!</p> <p>Finally, you can try out the alternating one leg half bridge pushup. The pushup part of this move requires a lot of flexibility and strength, but if you start with the shoulder bridge lift, in time you can definitely work your way up to this powerhouse move.</p> <p>Another great thing about the shoulder bridge lift? You can do it anywhere with enough space for you to lie down on the ground. Try adding a few sets to your next workout or do a few repetitions whenever you’ve got some spare time.</p> <p>If this exercise is too easy, try <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-alternating-one-leg-shoulder-bridge-l/">Alternating One Leg Shoulder Bridge Lifts</a>.</p> </section> </article>

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