Stretch the Bridge
Learn how to stretch the bridge. Most people think that the bridge is a back stretch, but it actually stretches the abdominals and the shoulders. If the bridge feels very difficult for you, you need to work on your shoulder and abdominal flexibility. This kind of flexibility is very important for artistic gymnastics (back and front handsprings and walkovers). Find more stretching instructions and training methods at stretching main.
- No matter if you want to do your bridge with your legs and arms fully extended or bent, the following 4 points are always consistent:
1. Keep your heels on the floor.
2. Fingers point towards your feet.
3. Straighten your elbows.
4. Bend your spine evenly (see clip 2 in animation above).
- Exhale when you increase the intensity of this stretch.
- There are 2 variations of the bridge. One where you concentrate on the shoulders and one where you concentrate on the back.
- Back stretch variation: Walk with your hands closer and closer to your feet.
- Shoulder stretch variation: Try to fully extend your legs and your arms and lean forward.
- If you move around, move slowly and concentrated. Try to walk around on your hands.
- Use your abdominals to control the curve in your spine.
- An additional exercises for the back-walkover: Go to the position where your legs are straightened and then lift one leg to horizontal level (keep your legs fully extended and hold for 1 or 2 seconds). Then put you leg back down and lift the other one. This is an excellent exercises for the abdominals and a good preparation for the back walkover. Lift your legs higher and higher, until you can go to a handstand = do a gymnastic back walkover.