Wrestler's Bridge Advanced PREVIOUS NEXT  
Wrestler's Bridge  

The wrestler's bridge is an intense exercise to strengthen your body overall and to improve coordination and physical stamina.

Start by lying on your back on a padded exercise mat, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor near your body. Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart and pointed slightly outwards, arms at your sides, head straight (figure 13). From this position, lift your hips, shifting your weight to your shoulder blades, and make fists with your hands and bring them to each side of your head for support (figure 14).

From this position, push your head and upper body up off the mat with your arms, and then carefully balance your upper body weight on the top of your head. Your feet should remain flat on the mat. If you can comfortably hold this position and maintain your balance, cross your arms across your chest (figure 15).

Hold this position until moderately winded, and then slowly reverse this motion and return to your original starting position (figure 13). This completes one wrestler's bridge. Work over time to increase the amount of time you can comfortably spend in this position, always taking care not to exercise to the point of dizziness. Do one to three wrestler's bridges, pausing only briefly between each bridge.

Note: As you lengthen the time you can spend comfortably in the wrestler's bridge, you can incorporate a variation on the basic bridge to increase its intensity. From the basic bridge (figure 15), slowly bring your nose closer to the mat by carefully rolling your head so that the weight on your head shifts towards your forehead. Keep your arms crossed but extend them over your head (figure 16, see below). Hold this extended bridge for a few moments and then slowly return back to the basic bridge. You can work in one or more of these extended bridges into each basic bridge if you like. Both variations of the bridge are extremely challenging but should never be painful. Stop if you feel any pain and reassess your readiness for this exercise.