A variation of the bridge exercise that's helpful for low back pain

Prevent lower back pain?

Many people looking to prevent lower back pain and develop core strength are familiar with the exercise “The Bridge.”

To perform the bridge, you start lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Then you use your abdominals and gluteals to pull your tailbone on an upward, headward diagonal, lifting the low back off the floor.

The bridge is one of the most frequently used exercises in low back rehab. But there’s a similar exercise that’s much, much better – the Forward Pelvic Shift.

The forward pelvic shift is a therapeutic and body awareness exercise developed by Irmgard Bartenieff as part of the basic exercises of Bartenieff Fundamentals.

The starting position is identical. Except that as you lift the pelvis, instead of lifting it on an unpward-headward diagonal, you lift it on an upward and footward diagonal. Your knees extend out over your feet. That little detail makes all the difference.

With the forward pelvic shift, your hamstrings are activated and initiate the action, instead of the gluteals.  Your spine stays long (instead of flexing), and you train your deeper abdominals for trunk support instead of the superficial ones.

It teaches the brain a much more favorable pattern of core support.

Try it!

Dr. Lavine has been an innovator in the use of movement and touch to promote health since 1981. He practices in New York City and Princeton, NJ.

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