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Supported Bridge Pose for Back Pain

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Updated November 02, 2009

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What Muscles are at Work Here?
In the supported pelvic bridge, the core abdominal muscles and back muscles work in concert to bring the lower body into the bridged position in the air. In the body, there are 6 abdominal muscles, and each seem to have separate functions in bridging. Also, each of the individual ab muscles work in varying degrees of intensity in the bridge. In contrast, the back muscles function together as a unit to achieve and maintain the pose.

A research study (on healthy individuals, with no back pain) showed that bridging exercises, such as the supported bridge pose in yoga, put the oblique abdominal muscles to work to remedy non-neutral pelvic positions. The obliques establish a centered alignment of the pelvis and low back. This has significance when considering the that the bridge pose is the first pose to take the pelvis into space, with no direct support. (The supported bridge pose mediates the transition from having the pelvis on the floor and lifting it in the air, by means of the block under the sacrum.) The study on ab and back muscles also shows that the abdominal muscles are capable of fine control over pelvic and low back movements.

Bibliography
1 Stevens VK, Bouche KG, Mahieu NN, Coorevits PL, Vanderstraeten GG, Danneels, LA.Trunk muscle activity in healthy subjects during bridging stabilization exercises BMC Musculoskeletal Disor Sept 20 2006

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