This exercise adds instability to the classic pilates shoulder bridge, which requires additional strength in the hamstrings, pelvic floor, and lower abdominals.
To do this exercise you will need a mat and a foam roller. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet placed on the foam roller. Lift one leg straight into the air so that your toes are pointing to the ceiling. Inhale as you rock your pelvis toward your tailbone and then exhale as you hollow the abdominals and rock your pelvis to your belly button. Continue exhaling as you begin to lift the pelvis into the air vertebra by vertebra. When you are resting with one foot pressing into the foam roller and the rest of the weight of your body resting evenly on your head, neck, and shoulders, inhale as you lower your leg that is in the air toward the foam roller and exhale as you lift it. Repeat this movement 3-5 times. Then inhale into the back of your ribs one more time and exhale as you allow the spine to descend sequentially to the ground. Then repeat with the other leg in the air.
Things to think about
This exercise is so complex and requires great strength. It should not be the first exercise you do in the morning, and it should not be the first bridge that you try. There are many ways that you can progress to such a great exercise. Start with the bridge, then try a single leg bridge, then check in with adding a foam roller.
Pelvic stability is key. Be sure in the single leg position that your hips are level and not dropping from one side to the other.
If you have any hamstring injuries be aware that this exercise requires great strength, and if you are nursing an injury you might prefer to ease into this exercise with a small double leg bridge.