Build A Resilient Spine: Challenge Your System

Matthew Ibrahim


Medford, Massachusetts, United States

Strength Training, Mobility & Recovery



McGill Side Bridge (Anti-Lateral Flexion and Anti-Extension)

Dr. Stuart McGill is the leading expert on spine biomechanics. Basically, if you want to know anything spine-related, chances are he and his team have already run thousands of tests and produced an insurmountable amount of data on it. Plus, he has a flawless mustache. Seriously, it’s so money.



The McGill side bridge is one of those exercises that looks easy initially, but becomes challenging once you give it a shot. Why? Try to maintain a stiff spine while using your hip mobility in a hip hinge pattern to explode from the back to the front. And don’t forget to lock down those abs and keep a stable spine to avoid excessive lumbar extension. It's not as easy as you think.


The beauty of this exercise is that it’s simple. It’s so simple that it becomes complex for some people, because too many of us out there want to overcomplicate things.


Let’s break it down:


  • Can you hip hinge correctly? Meaning, can you hinge at your hips just like a door opens and closes?
  • Next, can you activate your glute muscles to assist in the necessary hip hinge pattern?
  • Lastly, can you finish the hip hinge with a stable spine, while avoiding excessive lumbar extension?


If the answer to any of those questions is “no,” watch the tutorial video below to check your form and receive a handful of technique fixes to ensure proper execution.


Do This:

  1. Start on your left side with your hips flexed back.
  2. Drive your hips forward and squeeze your glutes at the end to lock out into a neutral spine (avoid hyperextension in the lumbar spine).
  3. Bring your hips back to the starting position. That's 1 rep.
  4. Complete 12 reps on your left side side for 1 set.
  5. Switch sides and repeat.
  6. Perform a total of 3 sets per side.



Continue for Video Demonstration of the Dead Bug With Breathing


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