Adding weights to your Shoulder Bridge on the Pilates Mat allows you to bring in some inspiration from Breathing on the Cadillac. While it doesn't give you the same instability and resistance that the Cadillac provides, it does allow you to feel your arms connect to your back. And, it helps you train your body to articulate your spine, connect to your seat and raise your arms or lower them at the same time. It's super easy to rush the arms or drag the hips. But, timing the two and staying connected to your center is a real skill.
Stand in all four corners of your feet and press your wights down.
Setting up the same way you would for Shoulder Bridge, lay on your back, knees bent and a fist distance apart. Feet parallel and stand on all four corners of your feet. Hold 1 or 2 lb. weights and lift your arms up to the sky while your hips are down on the mat. Find length in your neck. Maintain space between your mat and the back of your neck.
Inhale and press into your feet evenly and roll your hips up as you press your arms down. Hold your breath and your position for five counts. Then, exhale as you lower your hips and lift your arms. Repeat 2-5x. If you find this easy, you can straighten one leg out and do single leg breathing 3-5x each leg and repeat again on the weaker side. Focus on the chest staying away from your chin and vice versa as you lift your hips and lower them. Press your weights into the mat as you hold your breath and the position. As you exhale be mindful that you do not skip any of the vertebrae as you roll down. When your hips are up feel where the weight is distributed between both sides of your feet.
Be sure to check out more of my Pilates Mat exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Mat training!