Learn How to Do a Bridge Stretch in Gymnastics

Woman in leggings and sleeveless top performing back bridge stretching exercise, lying on floor, side view
Ruth Jenkinson / Getty Images

Bridges are an important starting position in gymnastics. They're a great way to stretch and build core muscles that you will need to perform other moves. Bridges may not seem difficult but stretching these muscles can be harder than you think. 

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Get into the Starting Position for a Bridge

How to do a bridge in gymnastics
© 2009 Paula Tribble

Here's the proper position to start a bridge in. 

  • Lie on your back
  • Bend your knees up and keep your feet flat on the ground
  • Place your hands by your ears with palms facing the ground
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Push Into a Bridge

How to do a bridge in gymnastics (bent knees)
© 2009 Paula Tribble

Push your body up until only your hands and feet are touching the ground, and your back is arched.

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Get into the Correct Bridge Position

How to do a bridge in gymnastics (straight knees)
© 2009 Paula Tribble
  • Once you're up in a bridge, straighten your arms and legs and push your shoulders over your head. Your wrists to your shoulders should form a straight line to the floor.
  • Keep your fingers and toes lined up with your body, not turned out. Keep your knees together.
  • Remember to work up to this position. Like a split, you probably won't be able to hit the correct position on your first (or your tenth) try. Keep at it! Never push beyond what feels comfortable, and don't hold it so long that you feel pain.
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Rock and Roll

How to do a bridge in gymnastics (rock and roll)
© 2009 Paula Tribble
  • Slowly lower your body back to the floor, tucking your chin toward your chest as you come down.
  • Now sit up and grab your knees. Rock backward onto your back, then forward back to a sit. Repeat several times. Many gymnasts do this "rock and roll" after a bridge because it makes their back feel good.
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Drill: Feet on Mat

How to do a bridge in gymnastics (feet on mat)
© 2009 Paula Tribble

To target your shoulders even more, place your feet on a mat. If you feel too tight to do a bridge on the floor, this can also help you build up your flexibility so a bridge on the floor is possible.

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Elbow Bridge

How to do a bridge in gymnastics (elbow bridge)
© 2009 Paula Tribble

An elbow bridge can also help target shoulder flexibility even more. Don't try this one until you can do a regular bridge easily -- it's a little harder to push into.