HIP BRIDGES! This is the seventh exercise of ten in the functional fitness series. This move targets the glutes and the core (abdominals and spine) and promotes hip flexibility and strength in the hamstrings and hip adductors.
HOW TO PERFORM:
- Lie on your back.
- Place your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart, toes pointing forward, with your knees bent.
- Contract your abs and your glutes.
- Exhale and lift your hips off the floor until your body is a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
- Hold this position for a two count and lower hips back to the floor.
- You may perform the bridge as a continuous movement, or hold the pose for extended periods of five seconds or more.
- Remember to keep breathing normally if you hold the pose for an extended period.
HOW TO PROGRESS: There are several variations that will challenge and activate additional muscle groups in your legs, hips and lower back. Progress to any of the following only after you can perform 1 – 2 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions of the basic hip bridge without hamstring cramping or lower back strain.
- Single leg hip bridge. After you lift your hips off the floor, extend one leg into the air. Or start this hip lift with one leg on the floor and one leg extended. You may perform this pose as a continuous movement for a count of two, or hold the pose for five seconds or more.
- Perform a basic hip bridge with your feet above floor level (on a chair or bench) or on an unstable surface like a stability ball.
Functional exercise number 8 of 10 will be posted by December 9th.