The side bridge is a great exercise to help strengthen your core muscles including the quadratus lumborum and latissimus dorsi muscles. It is one of the McGill big 3 exercises intended to help with lower back pain and sciatica pain. By improving core stability you will be able to decrease your lower back pain and sciatica pain and also be able to avoid more pain in the future.
The side bridge is often a forgotten exercise by many people but it is so important to do in order to strengthen your core. In this video Dr Zak Owens will demonstrate how to perform this exercise properly. He shows 3 ways to do including a modified version performed on the knees and elbows, the normal way to do it on the feet and elbow, and a more difficult way that includes log rolling into a plank and into a side bridge on the other side.
When doing this exercise it is important to note that you must keep your back straight and core stable the whole time. That way you can properly strengthen your core but also so you avoid any positions that may aggravate your lower back or sciatica pain.
Start first by doing the modified side bridge. The modified bridge is performed with the base being your knees and elbows. When doing this exercise hold for 10 seconds then rest and then do another repetition for 10 seconds. Start by doing 4 reps and then switching to the other side. Once you have completed both sides do 2 less of the amount of repetitions you did in your first set in this case 2 making sure to do both sides.
f you are feeling good with the modified side bridge you can advance to the regular side bridge. This time instead of your base being the knees and elbow it will be your feet and elbow. Once again hold for 10 seconds for each rep making sure to keep a straight back and a stable core. Some instructions apply to the amount of reps and doing both sides.
The last step would be the side bridge log rolling into a plank. This is a great advancement as it challenges different area of your core and allows you to do it without a rest between. Only do this one when you are ready as if done improperly may aggravate your back pain or leg pain and symptoms. Start with the regular side bridge with your top foot in front of your bottom foot. When you hit 10 seconds you are going to log roll putting both elbows on the ground and both toes on the ground in a plank position. You can then hold this position for 10 seconds before log rolling to the opposite side bridge position from where you started holding once again for 10 seconds.
The side bridge is a fantastic exercise to help increase core stability especially for those with back pain, leg pain, sciatica symptoms, hip pain, or a weak core. It is also a great exercise to prevent pain in the future. Doing the side bridge exercise along with the other 2 McGill big 3 exercises (the modified sit up and quadruped) will be very effective in helping you with your pain.