Welcome to our series featuring calisthenics expert Al Kavadlo. This week, Al focuses on the back bridge, a bodyweight hold that improves strength and flexibility simultaneously. Along with the L-hold and the twist hold, the back bridge is one of the stretches in Paul Wade's Convict Conditioning Trifecta.
- Partial Bridge – Lay on your back with your knees bent, and feet in full contact with the ground. Engage your glutes and raise your hips so there is a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
- Straight Bridge – Begin with your palms pressed into the ground. Your elbows should be only slightly bent, and your hips should be slightly above the ground. Raise your hips again so you are in a straight plank position.
- Wrestler's Bridge – This progression looks like the full back bridge, but the crown of your head is also in contact with the ground.
- Full Back Bridge – Only your feet and hands should touch the ground here. Make sure your limbs are not bent and your core is tight.
After holding the bridge for long periods of time, perform a counter-stretch by laying on your back and tucking your knees in to your chest. Consistently practice holding these positions, and your body will become better at maintaining strength and suppleness in full ranges of motion.