In our last entry, we discussed the importance of scooping, an abdominal movement with multiple benefits that can be performed anywhere, anytime. Another important question surrounding the core involves the concepts of articulating and hinging as they relate to the bodyweight bridge exercise. Some clients ask me which of these two options is “better”, while most people are unaware these two different modalities of movement even exist.
The posterior chain - specifically its proper isolated muscle activation and movement sequencing - tends to get neglected. As with most things, the answer to whether articulating or hinging is preferable while preforming a bodyweight bridge depends on a person’s special needs and goals.
Let’s start with the short bodyweight bridge and hinging. Hingeing involves moving the hips without involving the spine, where the glutes act as the movement driver.
This often overlooked flexibility and strength exercise also utilizes the hamstring and core stabilizer muscles, including but not limited to the erector spinae and rectus abdominus. Practicing short bridges can help reduce knee and back pain and improve posture.
Performing a bodyweight bridge using articulation instead of hinging refers to moving the hips by articulating one vertebrae at a time. The spine functions optimally when all 24 of its moveable vertebrae can articulate “fluidly”, allowing load to be transferred safely up and down the body. Spine immobility can lead to overloads causing back pain and injury. Practicing articulation and elongation of the spine leads to improved control and strengthening of the paraspinal muscles, leading over time to improved daily activities of living and reduced chronic pain.
Some other take away points:
To articulate or hinge, that is the question. Both answers are right; the best answer lies in what you’re trying to achieve.
Author: Julia Anthony
B.S. Exercise Specialist, CSCS, NASM CPT