Recently I was asked, “What’s your opinion on the wrestler’s bridge and neck problems?”
This person also pointed me to a video by someone named Jeff Cavaliere saying that bridging will “kill your neck”. Neck Exercises that KILL Your Neck (DO THESE INSTEAD!!)
I am very much pro-bridging.
Jeff makes a common mistake in his video. He talks about the compression that happens in the neck when bent backwards.
But you see, there’s a difference between a skeleton and a living person!
Imagine that, reducing it down to just the skeletal level, deletes information and thus misleads us.
When you have a real living person, rather than a skeletal model, you can use that musculature to keep the spine from compressing while bridging.
In fact, this is the key to doing bridging well. It even applies to both the wrestler’s bridge and hand bridge versions. In other words…
LENGTHEN YOUR SPINE
Not to mention that this exercise trains you opposite of all the “tech neck” that goes on these days.
Now, do some people get hurt bridging? Of course.
But people get hurt doing everything. People hurt their necks sleeping wrong or turning their heads to the side.
Just because some people hurt themselves doesn’t make a movement necessarily bad.
Is neck bridging something you should be extra careful with? Yes, it is a sensitive area.
You’d be stupid to throw caution to the wind here. Instead, you should be more cautious, aka progress more slowly and push the limits less, than with other exercises.
But that doesn’t mean it is not safe to do.
If I can support half a ton on top of me in a bridge, and not have any neck problems, you certainly can work up to handling part of your bodyweight.
Here’s a greater starter article on how to add the wrestler’s bridge to your routine and progress with it.