Improving core strength has some real value, and a great inclusion in your core-strengthening program is the humble bridge. It’s great for teaching stability and endurance in neutral spine position.
When it comes to increasing difficulty, you can simply increase the amount of time held, or you could try adding some rotational instability. By lifting an arm or leg, or changing the position of that arm/leg, you manipulate your base of support or centre of mass respectively. In doing this, you’ll require greater contribution of many muscle groups (core included) in order to maintain position.
The YouTube video, below, shows you some options for both increasing and decreasing the difficulty of bridging variations. It is by no means an exhaustive list and other variations such as side or reverse bridges are also great to mix up in your program.
Keep in mind though; the main job of the core during everyday movement is to provide a strong, stable platform for transfer of power to limbs, or power generation by the limbs – more often than not, it’s a combination of these actions.
With that in mind, ANYTHING you do in the gym is working the core. It’s just that sitting/lying exercises and many machines tend to work it less than standing/weight-bearing type exercises. This means your order of exercises should be something like this:
- Exercises that require large amounts of core stabilisation i.e. squat, deadlift, heavy rowing and pressing (especially overhead).
- Exercises that require smaller amounts of core stabilisation i.e. sitting/machine/lying exercises
- Core specific work i.e. bridging, crunching.