Exercise Ball Side Bridge

Starting Position
  • To perform the exercise ball side bridge exercise, start by lying on your side with your arm straight out in front of you resting on the floor.
  • Both feet should be on the ball with the lower foot in front of the upper foot.
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles as you have been instructed previously, while in your neutral position in side lying
  • Lift your hips up so that your body is straight from your heels to your shoulders.
  • You can use your hand and forearm to help balance yourself.
Prime Movers
  • Abdominal obliques, quadriceps, hip adductors and abductors.
Physio Tips
  • If you are not able to lift your hips off the floor all the way, then try part way. This will start to strengthen your trunk.
  • If you are finding this too difficult, try Floor Side Bridging.
Progression In order to prevent pain and injury it is important to become aware of what your neutral position is while in different postures and performing different functional activities. Take time before doing this exercise to familiarize yourself with what this feels like in sidelying.

The side bridging exercise, whether done on the floor or the exercise ball biases the muscles on your side including your hips. I see people in the clinic with back pain that respond very well to side bridging exercises because often a main contributor to their pain is weak hip muscles. Hip muscle weakness results in an increase in lumbopelvic movement, aggravating irritable joints in the lower back.

The natural progression of the side bridge/side plank is as follows:
  1. side bridging on the floor from your knees to your elbows
  2. side bridge on the floor from knees to your feet
  3. side bridging on the floor from your hands to your feet
  4. side bridging on the ball - shoulder to feet as above with arm forward
  5. side bridging on the ball from your forearm to feet with one foot in front of the other
  6. side bridging on ball with feet stacked on the ball while on your forearm
You should master each exercise before trying the next. A goal is to be able to hold each with perfect form for 30 to 60 seconds - no sagging, and no shaking, and definitely no pain. If you ever have pain doing an exercise, see your physical therapist to review its appropriateness.

1ballsHold this position for 10 seconds.

2ballsHold this position for 20 seconds.

3ballsHold this position for 30 seconds or more.

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