Bridge the gap between your trunk and the pedals by following this Bridge Core Exercise strengthening progression.
The Bridge Core Exercise is a great exercise for cyclists because it works some important lower body muscles while strengthening the core. The target muscle is the erector spinae that runs along the spine, but the bridge also engages many deep spinal stabilizers.
Most notable to the cyclist looking for an efficient way to utilize their out of the saddle time, the bridge works the posterior chain muscles, including the hips, glutes, and hamstrings.
When performed correctly as a strict isolation exercise, the bridge also engages the anterior chain muscles, like the rectus abdominis, obliques, and quadriceps, as they stabilize the spine further while counteracting the upward forces.
Key Tips for Proper Bridge Core Exercise Form
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Bridge Core Exercises
While lying on your back with knees bent, tighten your lower abdominals, squeeze your buttocks, and then raise your buttocks off the floor while creating a “Bridge” with your body.
Hold and then lower yourself and repeat.
Bridge with Alternate Knee Extention
While lying on your back, raise your buttocks off the floor into a bridge position.
Next, raise and straighten one knee so that only the other leg is supporting your body.
Then, return that leg to the floor and then alternate and perform on the other leg.
Bridging with Crossed Leg
While lying on your back, cross your leg as shown.
Next, tighten your lower abdominals, squeeze your buttocks, raise your buttocks off the floor, and create a “Bridge” with your body.
Bridging Crossed Leg with Arms Up
While lying on your back, cross your leg and put your hands together as shown.
Next, tighten your lower abdominals, squeeze your buttocks and raise your buttocks off the floor while creating a “Bridge” with your body.
Conclusion: The Bridge Core Exercise Series
The Bridge is an effective, safe, and simple exercise for building core strength and improving spinal stabilization and can be an excellent place for the beginner core strengthening cyclist to start. The ability to include the bridge in your lower body strengthening program is appealing to the cyclist who finds training time to be at a premium.
When variations to the bridge make it more challenging, like performing on one leg, you are forced to resist spinal rotational forces, much like those faced during sprinting and hard climbing efforts. All in all, the bridge is a good exercise for the cyclist to consider when budgeting their off the bike training minutes.
For this and many other Core Strength Exercise Progessions check out our Strength & Conditioning page!
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Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, Endurance.biz, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!
I think that I save time and increase effectiveness of the bridge by alternatively doing 12 leg raises with each leg during my planks while wearing 1 kg ankle weights.
That is definitely a great way to challenge yourself and maximize your time. Please be sure to focus on your form and vary the positions and movements. Great comment Dave!