Categorized as: Adult Gymnastics

How to Get Your Bridges Faster With Less Pain

Holding a gymnastic bridge holds a number of benefits, from building a strong back for overhead squats and opening up doors for gymnastics moves like walkovers and back handsprings.

Doing these stretches in the wrong way though can put your back out so read through as it will have a big impact on your long term training health.

OK first a slight terminology detour. When people talk about bridges and cobra stretches they talk about having a flexible back – but in fact it’s your ABS that are being stretched. So our focus here is to increase the flexibility in the stomach area.

Which brings us onto our first point:

1. Realignment. Whenever you stretch your abs you put pressure on your spine. A slight pinch feeling in your back is normal especially when doing bridges, but it needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Follow every bridge with some form of forward bend. This can be bending down to touch your toes, doing the same while seated, or grabbing a fixed object and pulling away as pictured.


2. Next most important step is to keep some tension in your core. Squeeze lightly in your abs, obliques and back while doing the bridge and you will protect your spine from over compression. This holds true however far you progress your bridge, as you want your strength to hold you in position and not your anatomy.
3. Breathe and stay relaxed. Breathing will naturally help you relax which will reduce pain, discomfort and slow progress. Breathing isn’t so instinctive when you go into a bridge though. Breathe through your chest make a conscious effort to breathe to avoid holding your breath.
4. Know the right kind of pain. A burning sensation in your shoulders and stomach is normal but sharp pains are bad and it’s likely you’re pushing it too far or in the wrong position. Some sharp pain in your back is unavoidable but be sure to release it using 1.) above.


Follow these tips to progress your bridges and backward bending faster and more sustainably. You’ll achieve better results in the long term.

If you are ever unsure if you are doing these right or want expert guidance come to a flexibility class as we cover bridges every week.

Or, for quicker results and less injuries in your training join a free Get Flexible & Feel Fantastic 1-1 taster by booking here.

Felix Leech
Flexibility Coach
Crossfit London / Crossfit SE11

I’m too old for tumbling and gymnastics

To be a competitive gymnast, 2 years old is too late to start.

Actually, you probably need to be born into a gymnastics family and weened at the side of a tumble pit to be world class.

That obvious, but sucks for us normal people who fancy having a  back tuck, a handstand or a back handspring.

Why should being 20, 30, 40, 50 or 60, be a reason not to get loads of fun from a tumbling session.

Ok, let’s be honest! If you start late, you probably are not going to the Olympics. But stuff the Olympics, wouldn’t it be so cool to do a standing back tuck, a  handspring or a handstand.

Well, we have been teaching adults how to back tuck, handstand, bridge and do lots of cool stuff since 2008. We have invested in the specific equipment to make it safe, and we have the drills and skills to help you achieve these skills.

But you cannot just rock up to our level 2 tumbling classes and expect to throw a back tuck: you need to forward and back roll, handstand and learn how to jump. Really, so much of gymnastics and tumbling is about jumping.

That’s what we teach in our level 1 tumbling class, and starting next Sunday we have scheduled an extra level 1 class at 1 pm at railway Arch 3  Gales Gardens E2 0EJ, for the whole of June.

The aim of our level 1 classes is to get you basic skills and get you to our level 2 classes ASAP. Some will do 1 lesson, others 4 or 5. The teacher will guide you.

Stop dreaming, start living: book now

Click here

Try Something Over And Over But It Just Doesn’t Work?

Trying something new but it just hasn’t worked?


Chances are it isn’t entirely your fault.

Most of the things we do we do out of habit. We are, as one wise man once put it, a result of not what we do but of our habits.

Making a change therefore takes a change in are habits – and therefore getting a new PB or following a new training regime becomes easy.

Habits control our behaviours without us even knowing. Take for example what you eat for breakfast. Do you eat, the same thing more or less every day for breakfast?  Pretty much right? How long has that gone on for?

When most of us make our breakfast we don’t think about what we’re doing. Our brains go into autopilot, we boil the kettle, pour out the same amount of cereal or whatever that routine might be. Our subconscious mind kicks in, we switch off and let the habit do the work.

Now let’s say we want to learn something new like kicking into a handstand. We get into position, hands on the floor. But – we then switch off. Whenever we kick into a handstand, we get scared, tell ourselves it’s too hard, and our legs barely leave the floor. This continues long enough that a habit forms and left unchecked we do the same thing over and over.

To do something different we need to consciously THINK what we’re doing. Break it down, ask for advice and follow step by step until we learn the pattern.

After a while a new habit of the right technique forms and then – ONLY then – we can switch off.

So next time you face a challenge take a step back and focus on what you’re doing to avoid old patterns repeating. Before you know it, your habits will be working for you.

Build more good habit and make things easier in our flexibility class.

Or, for a speed boost in your flexibility and injury proofing book a free 1-1 taster session here:


By Felix Leech

Flexibility Coach

Crossfit London & Crossfit SE11