This weeks “Pilates Exercise of the Week” is The Shoulder Bridge. This is an amazing strengthening and stretching exercise for the whole body. It challenges the abdominals and the hamstrings to work together to keep the pelvis stable. The exercise works to strengthen the back of the body including the glutes, hamstrings and back while also giving a nice stretch and openness to the front of the body.
In this exercise really be mindful about keeping the knees in line with the shoulders and the pelvis still. Focus on the articulation of the spine as you roll up and down through the exercise. I like do the first Shoulder Bridge variation at the start of my practice to help warm up the spine and back and then later in the order I will do the Intermediate Shoulder Bridge version where you add the kicks of the legs (as seen as the end of the video).
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Goal of the Exercise:
The Shoulder Bridge works posterior muscles to maintain the lift of the hip, as well as focuses on spinal articulation.
- works articulation of the spine
- strengthens glutes and hamstrings
- stretches front of body including hips
- Lie on back with feet flat on the floor and knees bent
- Place hands by the side and firmly press palms and forearm into the floor
Keep the knees, feet and legs parallel and in line with the hips and shoulders
- Inhale as you lift up the hips, then the lower back, middle back lifting up into a straight line from the knees to the shoulders
- Focus on lifting up through the spine bone by bone, focusing on the articulation of the spine. Keep the sides of the body long and work to create length in the spine.
- Exhale as you roll down the spine, again focusing on the articulation of the spine
- Watch that your knees don’t turn in or out as you roll. If you see this happening place a yoga block or small ball between the thighs/knees to maintain the leg alignment
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