Bridging over Squats

When injuries occur on the field athletes become limited in the weight room.  Upper body injuries throw squatting out the window unless you have specialized equipment like a PitShark or safety squat bars.  Many high schools, and/ or smaller programs don’t have budgets for said equipment and lower body training is left to the what the imagination can ponder.  Understanding that many high schools don’t have access to strength coaches, and sport coaches must play that role, injured athletes can often take a back seat.   One of the best ways we’ve found to keep the lower half on pace is to put athletes on the hip bridge.

The hip bridge mimics the motion of a squat very closely with little upper body involvement.  Athletes are able to incorporate heavy loads which often become an issue when an athlete is no longer able to squat.  We can even incorporate appropriate percentage based rep schemes to ensure progress is taking place versus loading the bar as heavy as possible every training session.  Multiple studies have shown how effective the hip bridge can be.  Some have even shown the bridge as a superior movement over squatting for acceleration, and speed development.   Chris Beardsley, and Bret Contreras have both done great work when it comes to studying the hip bridge.

The bridge is a great exercise when performed correctly.  Technique is a hugely important factor.  Athletes will compensate lack of pelvic control and glute strength by going into lumbar hyper-extension.  Emphasizing a neutral or even posterior titled pelvis eliminates these compensation patterns and gets the glutes firing to their full capacity.  Firing the rectus abdominus, and obliques will aid in controlling the pelvis into a proper position.

We emphasize control and varying tempo’s when performing hip bridges.  Some of our more common rep schemes will include isometrics + dynamic movement.

10 reps w/ 1 sec ISO @ top

10 sec ISO + 10 DYN reps

8 reps w/ 1sec ISO @ top / 4 sec DOWN

5 reps w/ 5 sec each

Use the hip bridge as part of your posterior chain work or to supplement an injured athlete’s program when one can’t perform the squat.  The results will speak for themselves when they retain a large portion of their squatting ability post injury.