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Back Bridge Exercise 2023

The back bridge exercise is a strength and flexibility movement involving arching the back into a bridge-like position; this targets muscles in the glutes, hamstrings, spine, and shoulders. 

  • If you are looking for an exercise that can strengthen all body muscles, the back bridge is your dream workout.
  • It is an advanced-level exercise that ascertains strength and flexibility when practiced for some time.
  • It’s a common exercise in many yoga workouts.

If you are a beginner, you can start with comparatively easy variations of the back bridge, like short bridges, and raise the difficulty level to reach the full bridge pose.

If you want to know more about the back bridge exercise, stick around as we dive into it. 

Army PRT Back Bridge Four the Core Exercise

Army Back Bridge Exercise
Army Back Bridge Exercise

The back bridge is the third of four exercises for the core

  • This exercise strengthens the muscles of the spine, buttocks, and hamstrings, also known as the posterior chain. 

Here is a breakdown of the movement, which is performed for a count of 60 seconds:

  1. Starting Position: The starting position for the back bridge is supine, with arms out to the side at 45 degrees and knees bent at 90 degrees. The feet are flat on the ground.
  2. On the Command of ‘Ready Exercise’: Raise the buttocks off the ground while straightening the left knee until the trunk, pelvis, and left leg form a straight line when viewed from the side. The head remains on the ground. Hold this position for five seconds.
  3. On the Command of ‘Change Position’: You will switch legs. Repeat the switch every five seconds for a total of six repetitions.
  4. On the Command of ‘Starting Position Move’: Return to the starting position.

This Army PRT Exercise leads to a more balanced and strong core.

Muscles Worked

  • The primary muscles involved in the back bridge exercise are the glutes (buttocks), hands, and hamstrings (the back portion of the thighs).
  • The full bridge, a variation of the back bridge, engages the spine and other body muscles, offering a workout for the entire body.
  • The back bridge is an excellent exercise if you are looking for a workout to strengthen the whole body, stabilize the spine, and enhance your core strength. 

How to do the Back Bridge Exercise

The back bridge workout has several variations. The most common variations (not limited to these), in increasing difficulty, include:

  • Short bridge
  • Straight bridge
  • Elevated bridge
  • Full bridge

The back bridge’s most advanced form is the full bridge form. To do this, you need to do the following:

  • Lie straight on an exercise mat with bent knees. 
  • Place your hands at your sides, near your head, so your fingers face your toes.
  • Lift your hips, forming an arc, while squeezing the hamstrings, abs, and butt muscles.
  • Shift your upper-body weight onto your hands by lifting your shoulders and stretching your body to form a complete arc. 
  • Hold this position for one second, and then lower your back.

And that’s how you do a back bridge exercise.

Benefits of Back Bridge Exercise at Home

The back bridge is a complete body workout exercise. When performed correctly, it offers the following benefits:

  • Relieves the back pain acquired by sitting in a hunch pose the entire day (primarily for people who do desk jobs).
  • Strengthens the spine and prepares it for heavy movements
  • Helps in the improvement of posture
  • It enhances spinal strength, ensuring your discs don’t slip away.
  • Perfect for an athletic body and increased flexibility
  • It helps with trunk muscle activity by offering stabilization. These trunk muscles include the erector spine, external oblique, and internal oblique muscles.
  • Stretches each muscle of the front body to make it strong and resilient.


Back bridges can also disadvantage your body, especially if you fail to perform this exercise correctly. You may face these drawbacks after doing back bridges:

  • If you fail to do the back bridge correctly, the arc position can weaken the spine muscles instead of strengthening them. Over time, it can damage the discs and compress the spine. 
  • It may cause discomfort and even pain in your hamstring and leg muscles. 
  • It can also lead to spondylolysis, a fracture in the vertebrae.

Back Bridge and Hurting Your Lower Back

I now want to outline how to do a full back bridge without hurting your lower back. 

  • So, when I first tried a back bridge, I remember feeling tremendous pressure in my lower back. And I thought, “That cannot be healthy for my lower back.”
  • As I got into it more and made it a goal of mine to be able to do back bridges, I realized that you’re not supposed to feel a back bridge in your lower back.
  • In fact, another name for a back bend or back bridge is the thoracic bridge. 
  • And that’s because you want to be arching more from your upper back rather than your lower back, arching more from your thoracic spine rather than your lumbar spine
  • So why can’t people do that? Is it just a technique issue? That can be part of it, but more importantly, it’s a mobility issue.

Common Challenges in Back Bridging

There are three things that, because they are tight, mean that your back takes the brunt of the stress. These three things are:

  • Shoulder flexion: Having your arms overhead in the back bridge means you’re missing shoulder flexion.
  • T-Spine Extension: Your thoracic spine is too tight or a little too kyphotic and can’t arch from your upper back. 
  • Abdominal Fascia: Your Psoas, Hip Flexors, and Abdomen are too tight. This leads to excessive movement and arching in your lower back.

Why do problems occur?

This happens basically because the principle is simple. If one joint or area in your body is restricted and you’re trying to go into a movement like a back bridge, something has to move. So it’s going to be something either upstream or downstream. 

  • In the case of the back bridge exercise, If both my shoulders are too tight and I can’t arch from my upper back, what happens is that I arch excessively from my lower back, and that’s where all this compression and feeling of pain occurs.
  • Similarly, downstream of the lower back, if the hip flexors and abdominal fascia are too tight—perhaps from not doing enough hip flexor stretching—the lower back compensates and moves more than it should.
  • The lower back is sandwiched between the hip flexors and the abdominal fascia. Upstairs is too tight, and downstairs is too tight, so what’s in the middle moves more than it should and is painful.

Conclusion and Next Steps

I just wanted to illustrate the point that if your back is hurting in back bending, back bridging, the thoracic bridge, back hamstrings, or anything that requires global arch or extension of your body, then you probably need to work on some combination of your shoulders, your thoracic spine, your abdominal fascia, and your psoas, aka your hip flexors. 

  • Some combination of those will allow for comfortable back bending. So give it a shot, yeah?
George N.