The Side Bridge
Why This Exercise
It is the second and third (right and left side) of the FOUNDATIONAL FOUR in developing a Rock Solid Core.
Eliminate nagging low back pain.
Prevent low back injuries.
Tone, tighten and look leaner by working these muscles (especially when combined with activities to reduce body fat overall).
How To Do It
Begin by lying on the floor on one side. Place your forearm flat on the floor at a right angle to your body. Lie in a straight line with your legs on top of one another.
To begin pre-contract the core muscles by consciously tightening them. For this exercise this also means pre-contracting the shoulder muscles of the side being exercised.
Cueing TIP #1: Think Tight (consciously contract the abdominals by drawing your navel towards your spine)
Push up onto your forearm so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to the foot on the floor. The other foot should lie on top of the lower foot.
Cueing TIP #2: Think Tall (consciously imagine elongating your body as if you were 2 inches taller than you actually are)
You can use your other arm to help push yourself into the up position if you need to. Once in position place that arm along you side. Ensure your elbow falls directly under your shoulder when in the up position. If you do not do this there will be a shearing force and added load to the shoulder creating premature fatigue and abnormal stress. DO NOT hold your breath, even though you will want to. Being able to breath while contracting the core musculature gets easier and easier with practice. You’ll probably start shaking. That’s okay. Hold your head in a neutral position.
Hold this position statically (isometrically) as long as you can. Time it with a watch placed where you can see it or face a wall clock.
Progress TIP #3: Go Beyond (when you think you can no longer hold the position count 3 more seconds to progressively overload effectively)
Once you complete the sets for one side do the same for the other side.
Self Assessment & Making Progress
Whether you start with 5 seconds or 65 seconds DOES NOT MATTER. It is only the baseline from which to measure your progress. Each time you do this exercise aim to match your previous time and add a few more seconds.
Initially if you time less than 30 seconds you can do this exercise daily. Until you can do 30 seconds continuously do the exercise once, lie down and rest for 10 seconds, repeat again, rest once again for 10 seconds, and repeat the exercise a third time. The idea here is to stack the overload on the muscles.
When you can do the exercise for 30 seconds rest for 60 seconds between and do it 1-2 times daily.
Finally when you can exceed 60 seconds continue to do it 1-2 times but with 90 seconds rest between each time (set) and only do it every other day. This will allow sufficient rest between sets and between workouts for recovery.
An early target would be 35 seconds. When you can regularly achieve 54 seconds you are doing good. When you can achieve 70 seconds continuously you will have a ROCK SOLID CORE. At this point feel free to add additional core exercises as desired. Most other exercises are advanced and require the strong foundation this provides to maximize their effectiveness and ensure you do not become injured. REMEMBER to continue to keep this as a part of your routine and maintain your times at this level.
Your back will thank you and you’ll be on your way to a 6 pack or the lean core you desire!