Who should do Bird Dog?
The best thing about the bird dog exercise is that it is safe for everyone! It builds a strong core to support your spine while keeping your low back stable and safe. It can also tell you a lot about where you are weak. For example, if lifting an arm is harder your upper back maybe need more work. If lifting a leg is harder, your lower back needs work. If you fall to the side when you try to lift both, your glutes will need to be strengthened. Everyone needs to maintain a strong core in order to protect their spine. However, crunches and sit ups are not always great for the low back. This exercise is the perfect solution- strong core, safe low back, impeccable balance.
How to do Bird Dog exercise
Begin on all fours with a neutral or straight spine. Brace your abdominals by squeezing them tight and creating a strong core. Raise one arm to make a straight line with your back. Keep your shoulder away from your ear and hold this for 30 seconds. Repeat with other arm up. Next, raise one leg to hip height making a straight line with your spine, keeping the front of both hips facing the floor. Brace your abdominals and do not let your back sink down. Your supporting knee should be directly under your hip socket, not leaning to one side. Hold for 30 seconds. To add more challenge, raise the opposite arm and leg at the same time and hold that position, remembering to always focus on a strong core. The most advanced version of this exercise involves touching the opposite knee and elbow in a very controlled motion.
This exercise should be done in 30 second- 1 minute holding increments. 3 minutes is the goal for total holding time, broken into increments. If you are touching elbow to knee, do 3 sets 10. You will have a strong core in no time!