Back bridge twist—Seminar excerpt


There were some rainy days in Northeast Kingdom so I spent them reviewing and commenting video recording of my last seminar on combining strength and flexibility training. At the seminar I had the participants go through exercises that simultaneously stretch and strengthen the involved muscles, and even help with posture correction. One of these exercises is the back bridge twist.

I like this exercise because in one movement, all the muscles of the shoulder are both strengthened and stretched, while the glenohumeral joint is in the close-packed position. Of course this is not the only shoulder exercise in which that happens—there are special exercises with weights in which that happens too—but this exercise is very pleasant and requires no weights.

Excuse the poor form of my back bridge. I had a total shoulder dislocation and it will take me a while to do the back bridge well. That I can do a back bridge at all is a great achievement of all who helped me with my shoulder’s rehabilitation. How great the achievement? See the X-rays below.

My dislocated shoulder—muscles torn off, ligaments torn, joint cartilage surfaces dented

My shoulder after reduction—that is with its bones where they ought to be

Unbreakable Umbrella vs. Watermelon

14 Responses to “Back bridge twist—Seminar excerpt”

  1. 1 Eric Sutz

    Wonderful. Are their intermediary steps that someone with shoulder problems can take?

  2. Are their intermediary steps that someone with shoulder problems can take?

    Yes, many.

    The back bridge twist is for people with healthy shoulders. The seminar was for sports instructors, not patients.

  3. 3 Jeremy

    Wow! How did you get that injury? It looks rough…
    (sorry if this is a silly question, but) what’s that white spot the on the old injured X-Ray just to the left of the humeral head? Is it the labrum?

  4. That’s how:

    That’s the joint socket (glenoid).

  5. 5 DarrenPlatt

    I have also recovered from a shoulder supraspinatus injury which has left my right shoulder a little weak and inflexible however I do have most of my strength back. Is there any exercises that will help to increase the strength and flexibility of both my shoulders working up to the twisting back bridge (I own stretching scientifically – are there any isometric shoulder stretches that would help with my back bridge?) My back bridge is mostly like some of the men in your video post above and I seem to end up in a plank when I do the twist as I dont feel strong or flexible enough to complete the movement. Is there a way of progressing this or is it a case of practicing the exercise and developing the strength and flexibility from the practice? thanks.

  6. Is there a way of progressing this . . . ?

    Trunk stability, thoracic mobility, scapular control, rotator cuff strength.
    Read articles at
    Good luck!

  7. I very much want to gain the flexibility I had at one point. I have strained iliosacrial joint and strained rotator cuffs, both right and left, and a very precarious right knee. I know all of these problems are due to poor body mechanics, but I am 47 and as soon as I begin to stretch, my ligaments react in a very improper way and case me a great deal of pain. I bought the book on stretching and tried some of the agonist/antagonist work, but I cannot seem to release my hips, lower back and ever so tightening psoas. I will delve a bit more, but if you could so kindly post some solutions for a bit older female population i would be ever so grateful.


    becky hahn

  8. 9 elskbrev

    Here’s an article about quarterback Drew Brees’ comeback from his shoulder injury: .

    Though the article’s focus is on details of his current training regimen, it speaks of the “baby steps” he took at the outset of his injury (e.g. pass a football five yards) and of his limitless determination to rehabilitate and maintain his shoulder. That he can do all of this now is positively amazing and inspiring.
    From the article:
    On December 31, 2005, while playing for the San Diego Chargers, quarterback Drew Brees had the shoulder of his throwing arm ripped out of it’s socket when he “was driven into the ground by a questionable hit by a 325-pound defensive lineman. His throwing shoulder was severely dislocated, with considerable collateral damage—a virtual death sentence for an NFL QB.” It was “an injury so severe that it brought with it a 360-degree torn labrum, a partially torn rotator cuff and capsule damage. Basically, every piece of tissue that went into Drew’s crisp, powerful passes was damaged to some extent.

    He rebuilt that shoulder and led the New Orleans Saints to win Super Bowl XLIV in Miami on February 7, 2010. He also threw more passing yards than any other QB during the prior four seasons and was named Super Bowl MVP.
    It can be done. Start small, with “baby steps,” progressing steadily and carefully, and master your mind, as well.


  9. 10 elskbrev

    Mr. Kurz,
    Amazed and inspired with your achievement is what I felt upon seeing your x-rays, as well. Nice work.

  10. Cindy,

    Thank you for an inspiring article and for cheering me up.
    Now, my only reason for posting my X-rays was to show critics why I do such a lousy back bridge. I am working on my shoulder and it will get better.
    The post is about a typical exercise from the seminar. I have shown more such exercises, that accomplish many goals within one movement.

  11. 12 urboturbo

    All I see is “This video is private.” .


  12. Sorry. It is fixed (public) now.

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