Have you ever experienced knee pain when exercising? Are squatting variations a staple of your trips to the gym?
Consider taking out your squatting exercises for a few weeks and replacing them with the Barbell Supine Bridge, an exercise more knee-friendly, to see if your knees improve.
Aside from being one of the more awkward looking exercises you could possibly do in the weight room, there’s actually a lot of merit to barbell supine bridges.
When compared to a squat, the supine bridge is more of a hip-dominant exercise as opposed to knee-dominant, shifting more of the stress to your posterior chain muscles, like the glutes and hamstrings.
Important note: If you don’t brace your core and breathe correctly, you’re putting your back at a huge risk. Breathe through your belly – not by shrugging your shoulders– and you’ll increase intra-abdominal pressure, which will protect your spine and allow you to lift heavier weight.
Barbell Supine Bridge protocol
Place a neck pad or other pad on the center of the bar to prevent pain at the hips
Set up with knees up and feet flat on the floor, holding the bar in your hands. Your knees and feet should stay around hip width the entire time.
Breathe in by pushing your belly up towards the ceiling – watch my belly in the video above to see how it should look. Your ribs and shoulders shouldn’t move. This is called diaphragmatic breathing.
Before exhaling, brace your core like you’re about to get punched
Think about lifting the weight up by driving your heels through the floor and squeezing your glutes towards the ceiling
Lower weight in a controlled manner until the bar hits the floor
This exercise is a great way to train the source of most athletic power – hip extension. Even better, it can be used with a fraction of the knee stress you might experience in a front squat or back squat.
Squatting variations can lead to knee issues in some individuals
The Barbell Supine Bridge is a great squatting substitute to give your knees a rest for a few weeks
Breathe diaphragmatically and protect your spine by pushing your belly away from you when you inhale