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Coach Sommer

Developing Active Back Flexibility

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norbeex3

Yes I think the low bridge work is a good idea, my back is getting used to the flexibility work slowly :) I'll give a shot for the chair method too.

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Neal Winkler

Which of these bridges are better (from the standpoint of fitness enthusiast not a gymnast)?

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The first one has a much more acute angle at the lumbar spine which looks like it would more likely lead to back problems. Is the second video a good example of shoulder girdle flexibility? Is it possible to get through all the progressions using the second type of bridge, as I am wary of building to the first type of bridge.

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Cole Dano

Your eyes are fooling you somewhat triangle. The first girl has a very open shoulder girdle and if you look at the actual lumbar its not a loaded as you think it her chest and tspine. Watch the movement as she comes on her hands into handstand, the lumbar doesn't change because it doesn't have to-

Now look at the second girl. Look at her chest (no not that part!) see how it doesn't lift at all on the way down? She's just dumping in her lumbar! I bet she has pain in her sacral area.

Now for a normal guy the first one will take a lot of work to achieve and the straight leg form isn't needed. Better to look for bent knees and hips level with the bottom ribs. So in the way the second girl.

In any case i think what you want to know is this. In back-bending you resist the lumbar by connecting the bottom ribs with the hips, while allowing the abs to remain long. You put the 'bend as much as possible into the upperback/ ribcage and the shoulders and in the hips by creating as much extension as possible.

One of the great preps is getting a good handstand. The shoulder work is almost identical from there its using that tension along with the tension used to hold the ribs with the hips to put the curve in the upper back.

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Blairbob

the first bridge is far more technically correct as her shoulders are far more open. bare in mind also that many young gymnasts suffer from lordosis

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Neal Winkler

Mr. Brady, I see what you are saying. The first girls shoulders are indeed more open. But am I incorrect that she still has more lumbar extension?

Blairbob, yes, I know the first is technically more correct. But for a fitness enthusiast and not a competitive gymnast, the second looks like it would be less damaging to the spine. My main question is if this is so.

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Blairbob

No, the second girl would have more pressure on her lumbar than the first girl.

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Neal Winkler
No, the second girl would have more pressure on her lumbar than the first girl.

Fascinating. I'm going to try and play around with Mr. Brady's explanation to see if I can figure this out.

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Cole Dano

I'm no where near as flexible as that girl but here's a video i shot of myself working on one of the more challenging backbends. Note the time taken while still up. I'm trying to extend my hips and upper-back.

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Active shoulder flexibility and leg strength both need some work but maybe this helps see how this non-gifted person works on this stuff.

Note: I just got a new iPhone 4 and the camera is a big improvement over my old phone camera it awesome for self coaching! This is the first video clip i've ever posted, welcome me to the 21st century!

BTW is there something i need to do to get the video size to fit the YouTube window?

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Razz

Mr. Brady I don't know Iphone 4 specifically but try to see if you can change the recording solution under options. Welcome to the 21st century ;)

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ASForum

Is the video on the iPhone 4 that much better than the 3GS?

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Coach Sommer

Mr Brady and Blairbob are correct; the first bridge variation is far more beneficial for the fitness enthusisast due to the greater openess of the shoulder angle and less pressure on the lumber region.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Neal Winkler

So, question for anyone.

If my bridge looks more like the second video, what sort of modifications should I make to take some pressure off the lumbar?

NOTE: I have yet to experience any pain while doing bridging, but better safe than sorry!

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Coach Sommer
If my bridge looks more like the second video, what sort of modifications should I make to take some pressure off the lumbar? ... NOTE: I have yet to experience any pain while doing bridging, but better safe than sorry!

Place your feet upon an elevated surface, how high is required will depend upon high tight your shoulders are, and focus on pressing the chest out in front of your hands during your bridge work.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Neal Winkler

Thanks, Coach! I'll start doing this.

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Brendan Coad

I definitely need to start developing my bridge =/

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Sternford

I can do a kickover off of a 1-2 inch surface, but when I go to the flat floor, I can't even figure out how to start the kick

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Blairbob

Do bridge rocks. Rock backwards and forward leaning into your shoulders and opening your chest. My video shows this I think.

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Joshua Beeston

How long should one be able to hold a bridge for before moving onto the limber progressions?

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Aaron Griffin
How long should one be able to hold a bridge for before moving onto the limber progressions?

Came here for this and didn't really find anything - what sort of metrics should we use for progressing through these steps? My bridge is very much like triangle's, but I can do a kickover with feet elevated... I don't know if I should stop doing that and work on bridge form, or keep blazing forward

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Coach Sommer

Performed correctly, the bridge should target the shoulder girdle; rather than the majority of the stretch being directed at the lower back. For most adults, this means that the feet elevated bridge and limber variations are healthier and more productive alternatives as the active flexibility in their shoulder girdle is lacking and precludes them from getting into the proper position with their feet on the floor.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

  • Upvote 3

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Paul SONNEVILLE

Good Day,

I am practicing the wall walks and would like to know if it's okay if I feel aches in the back.

I mean, not in the spinal area, but in the lower spinal erectors (on the sides), or should I have aches in the shoulder girdle instead (since it's supposed to work more in there) ?

Also, what a good indicator of a good shoulder girdle flexibility would be ? easy shoulder dislocates or something like this ?

Thanks in advance,

PSon.

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Cole Dano

Wall walks can certainly work the lower back muscles, and as a rule it's a bit harder to keep out of the lower back while doing them. Since the wall doesn't move, about halfway down gets quite tight in the beginning. To help with this, just take a small step away from the wall.

As for the second question, both are important and they are also quite different movements.

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Alexander Svensson

This is something I have been thinking about for a long while. I have been told from several people and online sites that when you do your bridge work or similar stretching it is very important to stretch your back the other way directly after, for example curling up into a ball or similar stretches to even things out. Now if you were to do several sets of bridge work in a 30 minutes long session, should you curl up into a ball after every set or is it okay to wait until the session is over and do all your stretching then?

 

I thought of another thing, I have read that you should not stretch or put too much pressure on your back early in the morning. Is this true? If so, how long should you wait after waking up until you are able to do bridges and stuff?

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Adrian Das

Is anyone working on these progressions?  I became obsessed with this a couple of years ago and have made some good progress in back and shoulder flexibility as a result.  I'm now able to do the 5th progression, hopping back into a handstand from a bridge.  I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with a slow pull from bridge.  I can't quite comprehend what's missing without hopping.  More flexibility?  Strength in the extreme end range of flexibility?  If so from which part of the body?

On a side note I think these progressions are quite difficult for guys given that they require a great deal of deep shoulder and mid back flexibllity, something that dudes generally don't have much of.

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Jon Douglas

Is anyone working on these progressions?  I became obsessed with this a couple of years ago and have made some good progress in back and shoulder flexibility as a result.  I'm now able to do the 5th progression, hopping back into a handstand from a bridge.  I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with a slow pull from bridge.  I can't quite comprehend what's missing without hopping.  More flexibility?  Strength in the extreme end range of flexibility?  If so from which part of the body?

On a side note I think these progressions are quite difficult for guys given that they require a great deal of deep shoulder and mid back flexibllity, something that dudes generally don't have much of.

I can do a pull without momentum with my feet elevated, but not on the floor. I admit I let these fall by the wayside when Foundation stuff started happening, and lost the thread. Thanks for bumping it! :)

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