Do you know the bird dog? While, at first glance, this bodyweight exercise may not seem very challenging, its magic is definitely in the quality of the execution!
Want to know why and how you should add this exercise to your own repertoire? Read on!
The bird dog’s benefits are numerous, and the exercise can be used to do any or all of the following, depending how it’s used in the workout (more on that later):
One of the best things about the bird dog is that it can essentially be performed anywhere, as it requires no equipment, and minimal space.
The bird dog is accessible to all, from absolute beginners to advanced exercisers. Beginners who struggle with balance and core stability can begin by performing only the arms or the legs component of the exercise, or by keeping their arms and legs lower to the ground to start. Once you can perform 10 reps of the exercise with good form, you can move on to more challenging versions of the exercise.
Intermediate and advanced exercisers can challenge themselves by holding the position longer and integrating dynamic breathing, or adding resistance to the exercise with bands. See the video below for a description of the dynamic bird dog, which is another more challenging variation.
Bird dogs can be used several ways in a workout, including:
No matter where and how you choose to use the bird dog, remember that proper technique is paramount to get all the benefits of this exercise.
As mentioned above, to get the most out of the bird dog, strengthen your core and challenge your stability, you want to pay close attention to how you execute the exercise.
When you are performing this exercise, you want to aim for a more neutral spinal alignment, and resist rotation in the spine and hips. The main purpose of this exercise is to train your body to resist extension and rotation.
A cue I love to use with clients is to picture a cup of their favorite beverage balance on their lower back and to prevent it from falling off. While I don't recommend putting a cup of hot coffee on your client's back, you can place a dowel on your (or your client's) back and practice keeping it steady.
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