Shoulder Bridge Prep is a building block version that progresses over time into the full shoulder bridge exercise with beautiful long kicks. This exercise begins the journey building the strength and flexibility that will eventually be called on for Leg Pull Back, Scissors and Bicycle.
This is an exercise that slay fitness members often think they know, and they have possibly done it in fitness or yoga classes. But it needs to be guided toward the correct performance, Pilates style!
This beginning exercise improves articulation of the spine from top to bottom, increases gluteal strength, and promotes proper hip extension. Like all Pilates exercises, it is a whole body exercise that brings awareness of the alignment of the body from top to bottom. It’s performed for 3–5 repetitions. Shoulder Bridge Prep proves the old adage: “what starts right is more likely to go right!” So work with the setup of this exercise.
Make sure the feet are set up in a parallel stance, the knees are aligned with the second to third toes, and the thighs are parallel. Working with the legs apart is useful for students who have low back or sacral issues, are overweight, knock kneed, or have poor balance. At the same time, working with the legs together can help a member connect to the centerline and will challenge their balance.
One question that new Instructors often ask is how close the feet should be to the hips. This depends on the members limb length and flexibility has. As a starting point, set the feet up a little beyond the knees.
Check the placement of the head on the mat so that it is not only centered but that the back of the skull from ear to ear is on the mat with the chin level and the cervical spine in neutral. Shoulders should be relaxed, not forced down to the floor. With the collar bones wide, the arms long with fingers, and the thumbs together, look for the ribs to be soft and wide.
Traditionally, the initiation of the Shoulder Bridge is performed from a strong connection to the gluteal muscles. The hips lift in one strong motion lengthening the torso into one long line. The return to the mat is with an articulation that is ideally bone by bone from top to bottom.
The Shoulder Bridge Prep is simple and easy-to-learn, and it’s a great exercise to give as homework for members who need to build gluteal strength and open up the front body!
Now go on and try Level 2
You ready for level 3? We think you are.
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