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Published on May 24, 2013
Life can be hectic and sometimes your workout routine may seem rushed and hectic too. It's important to occasionally slow down and work the small muscles in the body by performing exercises that work on control and stability.
I'm Samantha Clayton, fitness expert and former competitive sprinter. I'm working with Herbalife to help you achieve a healthy, active life.
Today, I want to talk you through a simple bridge exercise. A bridge is an excellent Pilates-style torso stability exercise. This means that one of your goals is to keep your torso really still during the exercise. Done correctly, a bridge strengthens your butt and the back of the legs while teaching core stability.
I think that this exercise is especially beneficial after having a baby because it forces you to connect with your weak core muscles.
Let's start out by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, approximately hip distance apart. Your feet should be in a comfortable position - not too close to your butt and not too far away. Experiment with different placements of your feet to find the perfect angle for your body.
Take a deep breath in, being conscious to expand your chest with the inhale.
Keeping your torso in one flat piece, press your feet into the mat and squeeze your butt as you lift your hips up off the mat.
Come up high enough that your body makes a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Don't press up so high that you can't see your knees.
Now as you exhale and maintain a neutral spine as you come back down to the mat.
If you want to add an extra challenge, try to lift into the bridge position and extend one leg out in front keeping it at the height of your stationary knee. Come back down and lift up and lift the other side. Try to hold five 10-second holds before switching to the other leg.
You shouldn't feel stress in your neck and shoulder area during this exercise! If you do; return to the starting position, adjust your feet and find the position that allows your body to maintain the straight line from shoulder to the knees.