Gecko Bridge

Writer’s Insights

I love doing bridges since I was little. As I have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of reps doing the bridge, I have mastered it. If I were to start training for one today, it would be a lot more different than how I learned it. I want to help the millions for whom this exercise is excruciatingly difficult. Its unique strength requirements make for thousands of ways to progress. This makes it difficult to progress faster. I have tried my best to include all the ways to progress and also a progression tree. 


This is an unfinished article. I don’t want it to be like that, I want it to have at least 10000 words, pictures, illustrations and video links. I want to compile all my knowledge of bridge training into a book which I would call, “The Art of Bridging.” For now, this article requires many iterations until I feel satisfied. As I am on the journey of mastery of the bridge exercise, I learn new things each day. Each new trick, adds to my jar of ideas and helps me solidify my approach towards learning the gecko bridge. It is a daunting task for the formidable Ishan. He must spend countless hours merging, organising, and adding each of his notes. He is busy. Till then, happy reading.

Gecko Bridge

The gecko bridge is such a variation that transcends human capabilities. Seeing a perfectly executed gecko bridge sends awe down the spine. It is as rare as the 4 - minute mile. These are the words that I tell to everyone who wants to learn the gecko bridge. Learning the gecko bridge can be defined as an art. This art is a lot different than a lot of people think. I am here to teach you just that. I will give you tips and tricks that would speed up your pace to learn the bridge. All I need is your commitment to learning and exploring.

Progressing the Bridge

Progressing in the bridge will neither be linear nor exponential. It will be one filled with bouts of tiny breakthroughs followed by plateaus of intense practice sessions. It took me months to learn the gecko bridge. But it was a rewarding journey. I used to practice for 5-7 minutes a day for days on end. There used to be days when I struggled but some days, I would find something new, apply it and add a few seconds instantly. Your journey is also going to be the same.

A true bridge master is one who can perform not only the dynamic but also the static bridge. The dynamic bridge variant is going to be harder than the static one as it requires holding the balance in a range of motion. As the body moves in space, different stabilization muscles get used, which in turn make the bridge harder. So, the learning of dynamic bridging should always be preceded by learning static bridging first. One should build strength in the static pose, to speed up the process of learning the dynamic pose. Static and dynamic bridging go hand in hand. One cannot be a substitute for the other. Each works the back differently and has its place in the training repertoire. I will go into more detail in a few chapters.

For example, the first step in learning the gecko bridge pushup can be learning the single-arm bridge hold and the single-leg bridge hold. The next step can be progressing to single-arm pushups and single-leg pushups. And the final step can be advancing to the single-arm single-leg bridge. Building strength for the gecko bridge pushups from such a solid foundation doesn't require much time. It requires one to incrementally increase the range of motion of the pushup before finally achieving it. As one reaches the pinnacle of human capabilities each stage will likely take more time than the previous one. This journey will be no different.

Asymmetry of the Body

I am not a robot, and so are you. If we divide our body from the middle along the sagittal plane. We find that no organ lies along the line of symmetry. Though each organ has its dedicated place in the body. Some are to the right, some are to the left. We aren’t symmetrical at all inside. Some of us are right-handed, some left. Each one of us has a dominant side. When learning the gecko bridge, this asymmetry comes into play. As one side is generally slightly stronger than the other. Though the difference in strength is minute, it adds up as you compile it with strength endurance. In my early days of learning the gecko bridge hold. I was able to hold a 30-second plus bridge on my right arm but struggled to hold a 5-second on my left arm. It was frustrating. I didn’t have a solution to it, at that time, but I have it now. Both sides can be made equally strong. All you require is patience, grit and a progressive bridge guide.


I like to have my training with as few tools as possible, and time and time again, I feel like throwing the yoga mat away to aid my ego. But it is one of those things which make a much stronger comeback to my list of equipment. Its simplicity, affordability and versatility throw any other fancy yoga equipment down the drain. If you could buy one do all equipment, it would be a “yoga mat.” I advise a cheap and not so thin yoga mat. Unlike traditional yoga, our main aim isn’t stretching, it is to increase friction between the points of contact. The thick yoga mats may provide more support, but they aren’t good as they allow your hands to sink down in them. They provide lopsided support. They increase the angle at the wrists and may cause wrist injuries. They also reduce the activation of the fingers.

The benefits of a yoga mat are amplified in hotter climates. On my visit to Chennai, I found it hard to perform the gecko bridge on a tiled floor because of perspiration. By the time I was done with my warmup, I was already drenched in sweat. My palms and soles were getting slippery and the mat was the only thing that combated it.

On the topic of sweat. I am quite a sweaty guy. It is frustrating sometimes. So, I invested in chalk. Though it contradicts my idea of minimalism, it is a great investment. It takes the sweat off the palms and fingers and helps grip the ground better. It massively improves the feel of the hands on the ground. I am able to make better improvements with balance, which helps in the long run.

Though I want my students to perform a bridge on any surface, I am also concerned about their safety. I want each one to master the exercise on the mat before attempting it on wooden, tiled or marble floors. The mat increases the friction between the palms and the floor and between the sole and the floor. It reduces the intensity of balance and slippage.


The involvement of the legs is an overlooked factor in the bridge. Just like Olympic lifting, the major powerhouse of the bridge is the legs. All the muscles of the legs namely: the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, hips, calves, and hip flexors get their fair share of work. As the bridge is an extension exercise, the muscles in the front of the legs will generally be in a stretched but tensed state, whereas the muscles in the back of the legs will be in a flexed state. To make the technique understand better, I have further divided the legs into subcategories based on the muscles.

The Quadriceps:

The quadriceps are the muscles in the front of the leg. It consists of 4 sub muscles: Rectus femoris, Vastus lateralis, Vastus medialis, and Vastus intermedius. Out of all these muscles, the vastus medialis holds the most significance in learning the bridge. It is the muscle, just above the knees; it has a tear-drop shape. In a gecko bridge, you have to push hard into the ground with an extended leg position. Though this position might look miles different from the top position of a sissy squat, there isn’t much difference. Firstly, the feet remain planted with the upper body forming a long lever. Secondly, the hip flexors get stretched under tension, isolating the knees. Thirdly, the body needs to generate force in such an unideal condition. The long lever and isolation of the knee, put huge stress on the puny vastus medialis muscle. This is one of the reasons, you feel like your kneecaps might explode while holding a bridge for a long duration. It is natural. For me, it is generally the first muscle to give out during a long hold. But this shouldn’t be the case, with regular practice this muscle too can be made indefinitely stronger.

The Glutes

The glutes are the largest muscle in the human body. It is responsible for power generation and stability in a bridge. As the bridge is an extension exercise, the role of the glutes is amplified. They are needed to lock out at the top of the bridge. This can be done by a posterior pelvic tilt of the hip girdle. The pelvis must form a scooping motion. By tensing the glutes after a pelvic tilt, the tension gets transferred to the abs and helps to shift the stretch to the front of the legs, namely in the hip flexors. This cue also removes that compression feeling in the spine when performing a narrow bridge hold. This is one of the reasons it is always advised to lead with the hips and not the lower back. This may not look visually different, but it builds a strong foundation for heavy muscular contractions. Another function of the glutes is keeping the hands and the feet together. The glutes and the erector spinae work in conjunction to keep the arms and legs near each other. If it weren't for glutes, we would have a bridge as long as our length.

Most people who are not able to lock their hips when doing a bridge, can’t do it because of lack of flexibility, but because of lack of strength in the glutes muscles. It is one of the main reasons, I want you to start from the glute bridge and hammer down the technique well. Learn to contract the glutes when needed, i.e. at the top of the range of motion. Learn to contract individual sides of glutes, i.e., the left side during a right-hand left-leg glute bridge and vice versa. As you progress, your technique will improve and it will be a true hip leaded bridge. 

Here is a different way to improve the flexibility of the anterior body. Start in a normal bridge and lock the hips at the top. Now start to contract the glutes hard, harder than you think you can. Simultaneously push through the arms and legs and lock them. You would have suddenly gained a little more mobility. This isn’t anything new. In science, it is called proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. I am positive it will be useful when learning the gecko bridge.

The calves, feet, and ankle

One of the major reasons for pain in the knees can be traced to the positioning of the ankles. If the ankles are positioned outwards, they apply unwanted pressure on the knees. Performing this exercise with such a poor form exacerbates the pain in the hips, lower back and knees. Though this position can help reduce the demands of flexibility and strength, it makes it difficult to exert great amounts of strength needed for harder variations like the gecko bridge. This duck feet position also looks ungainly. I suggest every pupil spend time learning the bridge with the foot inlined with the knees. The strength can be built using squats. People with flat feet or low arches will benefit from a form with slightly rotated feet. It will diminish the inward collapsing of the knees.

In an ideal bridge hold; the feet should be planted flat on the ground and the weight of the body should be spread along the entire soles of the foot. The toes should be splayed. This cue increases the area of contact with the ground and thus helps with the balance in the bridge. The toes should be crimped and gripping the floor. This also increases friction. The friction between the legs and hands with the ground plays a greater role than we assume. So, as suggested earlier, it is advised to use a mat.

This cue also helps to increase the activation of the little muscles of the foot and ankles. Having a solid base also helps in exerting great force. This form cue helps in the gecko bridge, where the weight is held only on two contact points. 

One way to reduce the flexibility demands is by holding the bridge on the balls of the foot. It is used by amateurs but it is a vulnerable position. It can be used as an intermediate step but it should be avoided as it increases the chances of losing balance. It also looks ugly when viewed from afar. Having weight on the heels is an advanced technique which should be put to implementation by experts. It can be later used as a way to isolate individual muscles of the body. As one progresses to the thoracic bridge or the wheel bridge, the weight is naturally shifted to the heels.

As mentioned earlier, the limiting factor in the full bridge is the flexibility of the hip flexors. They are the muscles on the top of the legs, in front of the body. As one progresses the bridge tree, the hip flexors will get strengthened and mobile on their own. But an extra exercise to improve the flexibility of the hip flexors will speed up the process of learning the bridge. Stretching the hip flexors with the help of a wall is one such exercise. 

Lower back

When practising the bridge daily, one might find their lower back tight and tensed all the time. Neglecting this will exacerbate the situation and ruin one's posture. One may even develop anterior pelvic tilt. This should be a matter of concern. It is one of the first signs of injury and overuse. One should lower the intensity or stop the practice altogether. It is quite common and repetitive in nature. It will continue if one doesn't practice counter-stretching. Another common pain is the sharp pain at the start of the biceps, just above the elbow. Firstly, it is a sign of overuse of the pushing muscles, this can be easily combated with the exercises such as dead hangs, pull-ups, rows etc. Secondly, just after completing the bridge practice, a counter stretch such as the child's pose or toe touching should be used as a cooldown. The hollow body hold can also be used as a counter-stretch. 

After every intense bridge hold, I like to hold the legs and rock back and forth on the mat. It was something I did naturally. I got to know about this after watching a video on YouTube mentioning this exercise. It is a unique way to remove the excess tension built up in the back. While doing this exercise, try to engage the abs to pull the legs and not the arms to support the weight of the legs.

Hands and Arms

The hands and arms are the powerhouses of the bridge. They play a tremendous role in balance and control. The arm has a ball and socket joint on one end and a gliding joint on the other. These two joints make it the most versatile of any other joint. It can do anything from performing intricate surgeries to lifting heavy weights. It is used extensively in day-to-day tasks. But they still require a proper warmup. A general wrist and shoulder warmup should include am rotations, fist claws, wrist rotations and wrist pushups. The warmup lubricates the joints, increases flexibility and prepares the wrists for heavy poundages. It sets the mind in the mood of exercise and instigates a feeling of stability and calmness. An improper warmup is always to blame for any unnecessary pain in the body just after an exercise session. If you get pain in any part of the body, please stop exercising. In my exercise journey, the wrist, shoulders and elbows are the easiest to injure. Being proactive in understanding and dealing with pain helps to stay injury free in the long run. It reduces stress related to injuries and downtime. If you are injury free, you can spend more time training. A win situation in my books. 

Keeping the warm-up and injury prevention aside. The wrists should always be in line with the body. There should be no outward or inward rotation in them. Though there are some exceptions, like the position of the wrists during the thoracic bridge. In thoracic bridges, the wrist needs to be twisted outwards to facilitate a deeper stretch. For people with weak wrists, holding the bridge on the fists can also be one option. Apart from this, the fingers should be splayed to increase the surface area to aid in balance. They should be gripping the floor in a crimped position. Cupping of the hands should be avoided. It places tension in the outer region of the hand. This reduces stability and increases the chances of injury. Rings, bracelets and wristwatches should be kept aside during a bridging workout. Rings pinch on the skin and watch obstruct blood flow.

The flaring of the elbows should be discouraged. One should aim to lock out the arms. Keeping elbows locked out helps in balance and provides a greater stretch. Keeping them flared reduces the stability of the arms and little force is generated. This also reduces the involvement of the shoulders and triceps thereby reducing the energy demands. Holding any bridge variation requires high amounts of energy, and this little form cue will play a huge role as one reaches mastery. 

One way to increase the activation of the middle back is by adding an element of rotation. When performing the bridge, try to bring your armpits forward. This may feel foreign but it will increase the activation of the back many folds. It will also force the anterior body into a deeper stretch. This is an advanced technique, which requires flexibility. One way to make it easier is to increase the distance between the hands. This greatly reduces the flexibility demands and can be progressed easily by reducing the distance between the two arms. 

The distance between the arms can greatly influence the bridge. Ideally, it should be performed with the arms at about a shoulder-width gap. This position makes it the easiest to balance and exert great force. But as one progresses, shoulder width should not be the only position one feels comfortable in. We should experiment with bringing arms closer, bringing them further etc.

In every bridge variant, the arms and the palm should be at a 90 degrees angle. If it is lower than 90 degrees, the form is greatly compromised. It puts unnecessary pressure on the wrists and the palms thereby causing injuries. In this case, it is better to scale back and build flexibility first. One should follow the steps and slowly build flexibility. 

Once you can hit the perfect form of a full bridge, experiment. Widen the hands a little and push into the bridge. Then try to push past the regular 90 degrees to something like 100 or 120 degrees. This will change the location of the centre of gravity from its usual position of the navel to somewhere along the chest. You will require to tuck your chin into the body to meet the excessive demands of the body's flexibility. It will challenge the body's proprioception. This position puts the elbows at an extended angle, so it is best to avoid it if one has hypermobility.  

I draw a lot of inspiration on bridges from a video by Fitness Faqs on YouTube. The video mainly talks about the stretches required to achieve the full bridge. A lot of the concepts remain the same for most bridge variants. In it, Daniel mentions the idea of keeping the arms straight. I also consider this non-negotiable. Keeping the elbows locked out helps generate more amounts of strength. It stretches the triceps to a greater degree and helps in keeping balance. 

Novice learners who lack upper body flexibility, especially in the latissimus dorsi will find it difficult to extend the arms overhead in a locked-out position. It is one of the reasons there are a lot of videos on the internet with a poor form like this. It is accompanied by poor thoracic flexibility which exacerbates the poor technique. One way to build thoracic flexibility and lockout aspect of the elbow is by elevating the legs. Keeping the legs on a higher surface like a stool and performing the bridge will help to form a straighter angle at the shoulder. It will help us to open the shoulders and the thoracic region. Though it is a productive exercise, it is not the easiest to set up. It is best to perform this on a staircase or by keeping the stool resting against a wall. During the exercise, the legs not only push the stool downwards but also forward which makes the stool rock. Try to start at the bottom, stretch one leg and work your way upwards. Once both legs are at the top, push downwards at an angle not letting the stool topple. Using a staircase is a better alternative as it ensures a linear progression in the difficulty of the exercise.

Power of the Fists

I found out about this idea while reading "The Naked Warrior" book by Pavel Tsatsoline. In his book, he mentions the idea of the power of fists. He says that by clenching the fists one can fire up the muscles around the arms to a higher degree. He also talks about the accidental discharge of strength. It means by cleaning the fist of one arm the other will also imitate and cause it to clench. This causes a sudden increase in strength. This concept can be implemented in the gecko bridges too. While performing the gecko bridge, one can experiment with clenching the fists of the non-working arm. I have experienced increased focus, which aids me in balance. But at times, it can be uncomfortable. The nails and fingers start to dig into the palms prohibiting one to clench harder. This can be combated by holding a tennis ball in hand.


I got the inspiration for this idea from Sondre Berg, a YouTuber and a hand balancer. He might have his name on the list of the strongest people on the earth. He can do one arm handstands, planches and whatnot. In his video about the one-arm handstand, he mentions the idea of balance from the elbows and not from hips, shoulders, or legs. This rang a bell. 

Looking at any elite-level hand balancer you can observe a few things. Firstly their upper body and legs stay rigid. Secondly, they balance using their elbows. Though they exert great force from the hands, the elbow stays loose. They constantly make micro-adjustments from their elbows to help them balance. They bend it when overbalanced and overextend when underbalanced. Their fingers and palms also constantly push the floor to maintain balance. It compels the smaller muscles of the body to work, this reduces the energy demand. This trilogy of elbows, fingers and palms helps in the balancing aspect of handstands.

This idea can also find its application in the gecko bridge. Though the gecko bridge contains two balancing points, the body has to maintain balance under a lot of weight. There are a lot of axes where the body can fall. Compensating for loss of balance this way is better as it looks cleaner. The out-stretched leg and arm can focus on being kept straight. It also strengthens the rotator cuffs as they twist and turn under weight. I urge you to try it. I was able to add seconds to my holds instantly. 

Form Difference

Though the body is symmetrical and can position itself well in space. It isn't always great. There will always be a few minor imperfections to the technique of the right-hand side and the left-hand side. To minimize this make sure to videotape each side. Videotaping once every few weeks will keep the technique in check. As you find disbalances try to work on bringing both sides comparable to one another. There is no one way that a gecko bridge should look. It depends more on the anatomy and physiology of a person. But one thing to keep in mind during this is the distance between the hands and the legs. The distance between opposite legs and hands should be the same for both sides. The distance between the legs and the hands from the centre line of the body should also be the same. Keeping both sides in check maintains the equilibrium of the body. It also prevents scoliosis as it doesn't rely too much on any single side. 


When learning the bridge, the wall is one's best friend. As one will spend time developing finesse, he will spend countless hours mastering the technique. This will require immeasurable practice and dedication. The wall is indomitable and ruthless in telling one's flaws in balance and form. The wall can be used in any bridge variation and provide feedback. It can be used as a means to improve thoracic flexibility. One way to implement it is by having the wrists touch the wall. This position blocks the wrists from splitting and splaying from the legs further. It forces the body to apply pressure vertically and not in a 'c' detour. One can then work on the flexibility of the torso by pushing the spinal muscles and opening up the chest. It is also a measurable method. One can keep track of flexibility by measuring the distance between the wall and the feet. It also helps at keeping the wrists at a 90-degree angle and improves form. Another way to gain benefit from the wall is by having the wall as a support for the outstretched leg in the gecko bridge. The wall can act as a guide and will reduce under-balance and over-balance. It should only be touched lightly only when out of balance. The wall can also be used for stand-to-stand bridge preparation. I have written more about it in that article. 


Breathing will not be a concern in most parts of people's bridging journey. But as you will start to get better with bridging and will increase the times. Breathing will become as important as the balance itself. It is best to breathe with the nose with long and deep breaths. This way you will facilitate the deep respiratory muscles to work. It also opens up the chest more further improving the form of the exercise. Haphazard breathing not only increases the energy demands but also throws one out of balance. As one exhales a deep breath, there is a slight loss in the tension of the body. It is then immediately compensated by inhaling a deep breath. It is in this phase that balance and focus are tested. To prevent one from collapsing to the ground. The breathing should be regular and deep.


The neck should neither be left loose nor it should be too tensed. You shouldn't tuck in the chin. It should be in line with the shoulders. This may feel weird the first time you try it, but it makes holding the position for longer durations easier. As demonstrated by the photos of weightlifters, the neck will have to be tucked in ever so slightly to increase the range of motion and make it easier to press overhead.

At the start of a bridge session, the neck is generally tighter and opts for an extended position as the shoulders and spine are stiff. But as one progresses through the workout, the shoulders open and allow for a more flexed position for the neck. In any overhead pushing movement, the neck moves forward to help open the shoulders. This phenomenon is also evident in Olympic weightlifting. Tracking a weightlifter when he lifts a weight overhead, we can see that the neck is pushed forward to make way for the arms to extend. This simple phenomenon can also be applied to thoracic bridges. By widening the arms and flexing the neck, the shoulders can be open further even with lesser flexibility. The neck is generally the weakest link in most people's bodies and shouldn't be forced. You should put the effort into opening the shoulders and the neck will follow. 

After performing single arm, single leg or gecko bridge, you might have a slight headache. It is common. It is a sign that you are activating the muscles on the back of the body. It is also a sign that you are applying too much pressure and tensing each muscle of the head. It leads to unwanted tension that causes pain. If that is the case, it is advised to take longer rests to reduce the pain before starting with the next set. When starting with my gecko bridge journey, I too had headaches after each set of holds. I remained calm, lowered my hold times and gradually improved my time. It took an entire month of daily practice, after which I was able to control the tension in my head. Head massages can help if the tension is too much and doesn't dissipate on its own.

Bridge's High

The bridge is an inversion pose. In it, the heart lies above the head. It is a foreign position for the body. This is one of the reasons, one might feel the blood rush to the head. The rushing of the blood increases the pressure in the head and one might even feel a little light-headed. This is completely normal. I like this feeling, I call it the bridge's high. It is generally more common with novice practitioners.

This pressure may also cause the reddening of the eyes. It may even cause a feeling of distress and anxiety. All this can be frightening for new learners. The sudden reversal of gravity accompanied by the feeling of pressure in the head makes it the biggest reason for abandoning one's practice. There is one easy fix though, it is breathing. Taking long, slow and regular breaths calms the mind. It instigates a feeling of stability. 

Another reason for the sudden increase of the pressure in the head may be due to the blockage of the nasal passage by the locking of the neck. Tucking the chin tightly or even over-extending the chin forms a kink in the nasal passway. With increasing carbon dioxide in the head and a lack of oxygen. One might feel restless and confused. Along with this being upside down adds to the problem. To combat this, keep the neck in line with the body as already mentioned. Keeping the tongue resting on the upper jaw opens the air canal aiding in the progress.

Generally, there will be a slight redness in the eye at the beginning of the session. As one does the first inversion, the blood will rush into the head, but as one stays in that position. The body will stabilize itself. The blood flow will even out.

One way to develop tolerance to sudden reversal of gravity is by learning easier inversion exercises. Exercises like headstands, crow stands and handstands can be great for acclimatizing the body. An easy exercise such as supporting the legs on the stool or chair and leaning down can also be a great starter. 

I always suggest everyone perform the bridges before any formal workout. This ensures that the blood pressure remains normal. Blood pressure and heart rate play a key role in feeling great during a bridge. If a person has an elevated heart rate or blood pressure, he will feel restless and unstable. If you start a bridging workout and feel the same. Abandon the workout. Continuing with the workout will exaggerate this feeling. Moreover, the workout would not be a productive one. You should not feel regret or guilt, it happens, and the best thing to do is to let go. Give the body some time and try it another time.

Learning "Let Go"

As I achieve more and more skills in callisthenics, I have seemed to realise the importance of consistency. Tenacity seems to perpetually grasp me as I start to lose hope in the skills which take time. Most skills in callisthenics require a lot of practice. Mostly 100s of hours. It has taken me about 3-4 years in my handstand journey to get to the headstand. I have made a lot of mistakes and have had a lot of frustrating sessions where I got worsened rather than improved. But I have revered those days because I have learned the quality of letting go. "Let go" can be defined as the quality of mentally releasing attachment to something. Instead of fighting for someone to be in our lives or for something to turn out a certain way, we let go of that need or desire and instead accept what is or what needs to happen. On most days, I have a similar schedule, yet when I turn up to work out, I feel exhausted. Instead of feeling frustrated, I accept it; I help myself by performing a simpler and easier routine. In the long time that it takes to achieve even the most basic skills, the days spent in productive practice outweigh the unproductive cathartic days. Those days are ones, where letting go, helps. It reduces anxiety and calms the mind. It induces a feeling of satisfaction and reduces personal grudges.

I would not have given much light to it if it wasn't for my favourite book, convict conditioning. Upon rereading the book, in the last chapter, "Final lights out." Paul Wade mentions a prayer by neihbuhrs.

Knowing When to Stop

Another quality to have which relates directly to skill training is knowing when to stop. Early on in my training career, more work meant better for me. It meant I could beat myself and shortchange the process of learning. But I am changed now. With the lifestyle I follow, I no longer have time to spare for long workouts. I don't have anything against long workouts, you do you. I now have no longer have long spans of time. I only have little pockets of time everywhere. So, I have moulded my practice according. But I am constantly plagued with the feeling of doing too little. However, you might not be in my condition. You may have time in hand, so learning when to stop is more important. If you have a good exercise session don't go and do too much that you tire yourself, and can't perform the next day. I got this inspiration from the "GMB" YouTube channel's guide on handstands.

Working on Endurance

In an ideal bridge, you require the body to be as stable as a rock. It means tensing each muscle of the body to form a rigid sculpture. Holding a bridge in such a way requires an ample amount of energy. But more often than not we are required to hold the bridge for longer. We need ways to conserve energy. I consider any bridge longer than a minute or two to be classified as an isometric exercise. There is a difference between the two. And approaching both variations require some key changes. The biggest benefit of learning to hold a bridge for a long is the show aspect of bridging. In performance, you require to hold a pose for 10-15 seconds, then move to the next one and then the next. You can't break form. In such cases, learning to tweak form and fire different muscles help. Once a master learns good mind-muscle connections, he can easily force different muscles to work to minimize energy expenditure and stamina.

Though the bridge is a chest opener, frequent long holds will cause the chest muscles to stiffen. One of the best stretches to reduce this is something I like to call the pigeon stretch. It isn't the usual yoga pose, it is done something like this. Extend both arms behind the back and clasp them, rotate them and open the shoulders. Then depress and protract the shoulders and extend the neck until you look to the sky. In this position, tilt and rotate the neck. You will feel a deep stretch in the front of the chest, right in the middle of the ribcage. You might even feel a pop. 

Serape Effect

I got to know about serape effect from “The Bioneer” YouTube Channel. There he relates the serape effect with anti rotation exercises. He gives the example of a one arm pushup. A one arm pushup requires excellent body control. It requires strong anti rotation obliques and rotator cuff. The gecko bridge is more of an anti-rotation exercise as is a pushup. It is a unique exercise as it requires the same muscles of the one arm and one leg pushup but in the opposite plane of the body. It works the obliques to a superlative degree. While performing a gecko bridge on the opposite side of the body has to work hard to maintain the position. This is the same strength that is required in a punch or a swimming stroke. This means that it will develop those lesser-worked muscles of the body. I am not sure whether this can be termed under the Serape effect. But I would add it there.

Serratus Anterior and the Trapezoid

Another unknown benefit of the gecko bridge is the involvement of the serratus anterior muscle. The serratus anterior muscle is involved in extending the arms overhand. It is exactly what is being done when performing the bridge. The trapezoidal muscles of the body also get their fair share of work in the bridge. As one moves to the more difficult exercises, he may find the trapezoidal muscles working more. The serratus anterior will also get worked with inward rotation of the elbows. The trapezoid muscles will be activated more by pressing into the ground harder.

Hawaiian Style

Another way to maximize progress is by using the Hawaiian style of folding legs. In it, you fold one leg and rest it in the crevice just above the knees. In doing so, you place most of the weight on the skeletal structure and not the muscular structure. It reduces the role of the stabilizing muscles and strength requirements. Once you feel comfortable, you can take the assistance of a wall and move to the straight-leg gecko bridge.


Like every other discipline of exercise, sleep plays a multidimensional role in the bridge. It might not come as a surprise, but a good night's sleep reflects on the performance during a bridge. Try performing a difficult bridge variation after a poor night's sleep, I am sure you would struggle. Though sleep may play more role in endurance than skill building. It can't be denied that sleep is useless either.


I hope I could summarise my knowledge of the bridge well. It has every bit of information I gained about the bridge over the years. Treat it as a template and not a bridge bible. It has its flaws, I am a human, I am unique. So, experiment and embark on your own journey in the art of bridging. It won’t be as easy as it looks. It would definitely take more than a couple of years. But it will be fun, exciting and highly rewarding. For some, it will be a breeze, for some, arduous. As Nike says, "Just do it." And if in your journey you find something new, don’t forget to write to me. I have a lot to add to my armamentarium of training ideas.