The Pilates Bridge often seems like an easy exercise. But like all Pilates exercises, when done correctly, it is a super tough move. Here is a 3 step instruction to performing the Pilates Bridge perfectly.
Lie down with your feet and knees hip distance apart. Remember that your hip bones are never as wide as you think they are which is always good news! Place your arms down by your side, palms down, and reach your fingertips towards your heels. Lengthen your neck, and avoid having a big crease in the back of your neck. Notice where your shoulders are and notice where your hips are. Let them sink into the floor. Breath in through your nose to prepare and breath out through your mouth.
On your next exhale, press down through all four corners of your feet. The heavier you press into the floor with your feet the lighter your hips and pelvis will become. As the hips become lighter you will notice that they will lift away from the floor. Let your spine hang off your hips as you keep lifting. You will often hear a pilates teacher say ‘peel’ your spine piece by piece off the floor. Though that has its benefits, recent research shows that in order to create space in your joints in the body and to ease the pressure off the lower back, then it is best to bring your focus to length in your body rather than height. Lengthen your thighs and knees forward as the hips lift. You might feel like your knees are reaching over your ankles and toes. This gives you space in your anterior chain (front of body) and allows you to open and lengthen through your hip flexors, taking the pressure off your lumbar spine.
Breath in again at the top of your bridge pose. Breath out and allow your hips to come back down. Notice how your thigh bones sink back into your hips as you do this. Whilst doing this sink your chest, upper back, rib cage, and stomach back down onto the mat.
To advance the bridge; add in some bent leg or straight single leg work. Always ensure that your ribs are not flared out and that your hip bones are nice and even.