Matt Furey's Royal Court???

I have been doing Matt Furey's Royal court for the last 4 months or so. This consists of Hindu Squats, Hindu Pushups and Back Bridging. I'm up to 120X3 suqts, 34, 32, 30 Pushups and Bridging rocking back and fourth 20 times. I started at 75 squats and 20 pushups. I enjoy the work out as it is pretty intense 30 min workout. I also enjoy the simplicity of it. My cardio has definitely went up. I do it about every second day.

My question is whether or not the bridging is good? I know Furey says that Bridging is the most important exercise, but I guess I'm looking for second opinions. Would it make more sense to replace the bridging with say crunches?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Peter P

bridging is a full body exercise, replacing it with crunches won't cut it.

If there is concern about the neck then you can do it on your hands instead

One person is telling me that it's dangerous and one is telling me that it is a full body exercise which is basically what Matt Furey says. I'm leaning towards stopping to do it just because I want to be sure that it is safe.

Peter P

Neck bridging is dangerous and can seriously mess your neck up. Also, as Scott Sonnon's Article states, this is a position that is held only momentarily and should NOT be considered an "exercise". Furey used to say this was a "back stretch" which should make it obvious to the average layman that he has no idea what the hell he is talking about (for those that seem to side with what he says, please explain how contraction of your entire back constitutes a "back stretch"). Anyway, if you're looking to develop lower back strength in this position, stick with the gymnasts bridge which is done on your hands and not your damn head. Use the drill demonstrated in Scott's article to develop neck flexibility. Train hard, SCRAP

Thanks Scrapper. You just confirmed it for me. Bridging is definitely out for me. I'm glad I came on here and asked for a second opinion.

Now, I enjoy the other two excercises as I feel I get a lot out of them . With the exception of my bridging, what do you think of the rest of my workout (120X3 Hindu Squats and 34, 32, 30 Hindu Pushupss) Right now my workout has been about 30 min long which is what I want. What would be a good exercise to replace the bridging with. How about crunches to work my abdominals? If so, how many reps? As I mentioned earlier my cardio has went way up, but I still have love handles that I would love to get rid of. I wouldn't mind a 6 pack for the summer. Thanks again for any advice.

Peter P

What does Sonnon bade his anti-bridging opinion on?

I think it would be a matter of simple common sense but he explains it with nice big words (for those that need them) in the article linked above. I know from personal experience that bridging makes my neck crack and pop like crazy and whatever benefits I can supposedly get from doing them on my head, I can get from doing them in the gymnastics version on my hands. I also trained with a Shootfighter out here that thought performing a bench press with 315 while neck bridging was a MUST DO for grappling. Unfortunately for this guy, his neck gave out during a training session and that ended his grappling/training career. PETER, Check out the neck roll in Scott's article. If you utilize your abdominals to bring your legs up, I'd be willing to bet that you'll get more than enough ab work as well as condition your body to operate more efficiently. You should also check out my website for more exercises that can punish your legs and upper body like few other things can. There's also plenty of workouts on there that might shake things up for you quite a bit. ;)Train hard and keep me posted, SCRAPPER

Thanks a lot scrap and nowaydo

Scrapper's Mod 1 is the best thing Ive ever bought. PT for convicts is still kicking my ass.

I used to do the Furey bridge. Nose to the mat and hold for time. Never made it to the three minute mark though. I still bridge but I do the Bas Rutten bridge, rocking back and forth on top of your head. Not nose to mat, and no holds for time. I think its safer. I do think bridging makes your neck stronger, alot of wrestlers and MMA guys do it. But if I ever got injured doing it I would stop, of course. But I have a goal of fighting in the Toughman contest and I think having a stronger neck helps you take a better punch. I guess it just matters what your trying to accomplish. If I had no plans of fighting, I wouldnt do it. Probably not worth the risk.

The act of bridging is not dangerous. It's an exercise thats been around forever and can be done many different ways, some more advanced/specific than others.

NECK bridging can be harmful if you are trying too hard and you're not ready for it ie. nose to mat for time-which seems like more of a gimmick, don't see the point in it - the averqge trainer does not need that ability. Regular neck bridging like Swifty26 describes is right on. I prefer bridging on the shoulder/neck at 45 degree angle and the gymnastics bridge.

Ultimately each trainer is responsible for their own bodies, just because Guru X says do this exercise because it's better/good for you doesn't mean it is. USE YOUR HEAD(no pun intended). If that advanced body flow exercise strains your neck and/or lower back are you going to continue to do it?

I don't get the logic in Sonnon's article ( It basically tells you, in fancy words, to not compress your neck (which is part of your spine) since it is bad for you. With the same logic squatting would be bad for you since it compresses the spine.

There are many ways to bridge, the nose to floor variation is just one. I personally don't know of anyone who has used bridging in their routine for a long time having any neck problems. I would like to see research on this however, if anyone has any pop it on here, or a link. Wrestlers would be a prime victim of any such injuries related to bridging so if anyone has any experiences let us know.

The neck can be effectively strengthened using other methods, isometrics being one, wall walking to gain endurance flexibility in the back area is great without the risk of compression in the cervical area. Reverse pushups are also a viable option to work the whole back area without the neck risks.

Swifty26: Neck strength is important to a boxer, but
I used to do weight movements for my neck and
never had a problem.

I don't get the logic in Sonnon's article ( It basically tells you, in fancy words, to not compress your neck (which is part of your spine) since it is bad for you. With the same logic squatting would be bad for you since it compresses the spine.The logic in Scott's article CAN be applied to squatting if you think about how dangerous it is when a rookie attempts box/bench squats and simply slams down without control. Direct pressure ONTO the spine with a barbell isn't the same as pressure with torsion. I know this can jack you up from personal experience. SCRAP

Scrapper - point taken.

Bad form is bad for you no matter if it is squats or neck bridges :-)

A while ago I talked to a chiro about neck rolling while bridging (rock back and fourth from side to side) and he said it was a really bad idea. The spine is not constructed to move like that and that has been known for about 20 years. Same applies to rolling your head or torso in circles while standing (Sonnon's torso rotation in the article only does a half circle btw). He also said that a chiro friend of his who is also a junior wrestling coach is using neck rolling while bridging. He couldn't understand why he was doing this to the kids :-)

So... one chiro says no, another has his junior wrestlers do it.

"about neck rolling while bridging (rock back and fourth from side to side) and he said it was a really bad idea. The spine is not constructed to move like that and that has been known for about 20 years"

Can you explain this more? I don't understand how flexing/extending the neck is bad for you - that's what the spine does. Torsion I understand but if thats the case then you are guilty of terrible form.

I also talked to my Chiro when I first started bridging. He told me that the #1 problem he sees with people bridging is that they don't have the strength and endurance in the muscles of the neck and traps to support the activity. He felt that athletes switch to no hands too soon. The neck tires leaving the connective tissue of the vertebre to take the brunt of the weight and movment instead of the muscles.

damion - I guess my description was not very good. Extending and flexing the spine is indeed what the spine is about. According to my chiro the problem begins when you start doing circular movements (no matter if you are bridging, standing or whatever). The spine can move in all those directions but is better off doing only one direction at a time, not constantly changing direction as in a circular movement.

Now, how does this idea translate to back bridging? If you do it the normal way you only do one direction at a time so you would be safe (provided you have the strength and don't overdo it). If you do it in a circular fashion that wouldn't be safe but that would be "terrible form" in the first place :-)

I didn't go into any detail when I asked my chiro about back-bridging so don't take my conclusion as the ultimate truth on the subject. Ask a chiro yourself if you're planning on doing back-bridges. I don't do them myself as I have no use for them.

"you only do one direction at a time so you would be safe"

Not if you believe that the bridge, done "safely" or otherwise, squeezes out the vital fluid in the cervical area simply due to the amount of pressure on the neck in the bridge position, static OR rocking.

This to me then begs the question if that act of neck bridging compresses the cervical vertebrae enough to squeeze out the synovial fluid, does the gymnastic bridge also do the same for the rest of the spine. It is after all bending over backwards and squeezing the vertebrae together?

Any opinions ...

I like Scrappers stuff, but I also like Stew Smith's stuff. He was a SEAL and actually made up the indoc course the Navy uses to prep canditates for BUD/S.

Check out "12 weeks to BUD/S" and "Maximum Fitness". It goes over routines encorporating BWE's, long runs, sprints, biking, swimming.

I know my neck feels a lot better when I bridge frequently.I have no pains and it feels stronger.I think it is in form.If you are arched up enough and on your forehead your neck is not compressed.It is actually stretched.