Bird Dog Exercise – Instructions, Guide, Tips & Video

Bird Dog Exercise

The bird-dog is a classic bodyweight exercise that recruits the abdominal & back muscles at the same time. It improves your core stability and strengthens abdominal muscles, lower back, butt & thighs.

This exercise requires no equipment because your own body works as resistance. If you’ve never performed it before, you will need a little practice to improve your balance in order to do this great exercise in its correct form.

Learn here how to do Bird Dog Exercise properly & its benefits. Watch VIDEO at end of the article demonstrating this exercise perfect technique, start position & movements.

Bird Dog Exercise Benefits

(i) It targets both the core & back muscles simultaneously, so improves both abs & lower back muscles. It is considered as a safe exercise to facilitate recovery from back injury & can decrease lower back pain.

(ii) Strengthens core and improves spinal stability, which in turn helps in performing everyday tasks involving bends or twists.

(iii) While raising the leg, this movement engages & works on the gluteus maximus muscle of the buttocks. And as you raise the arm, you involve trapezius muscles of the upper back & the deltoids of the shoulder.

(iv) You need no equipment and can do this exercise easily anywhere.

(v) With different variations, you can make it easier or more challenging.

How To Do Bird Dog Exercise? (Instructions)

Start Position:  Kneel with knees, under your hips, at hip-width apart. Place your hands firmly on the ground, directly underneath your shoulders, at about shoulder-width apart. Keep your head, neck & back straight. Tighten your core. This is your starting position.

Movement: Pull your belly button toward spine. Slowly raise your right arm, pointing it straight in front in line with your torso. Simultaneously raise your left leg backward until it reaches straight & is in line with your torso. At the top position, do not raise your head upward. Remember to maintain your head in a neutral position to minimize pressure on your neck. Hold for 1-2 second. Return to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite arm & leg to complete one rep. Do the desired number of reps.

Tips:

(i) In the beginning you may need to practice raising one hand & the opposite knee just a few inches off the floor and maintaining your balance on the other hand & knee while keeping your weight centered.

Or you can begin by raising one leg without raising your arm. When you are able to do this with good balance then progress to raising the opposite arm as well simultaneously.

(ii) You need to follow the correct form. Don’t let your chest or back to drop or sag down. If your chest sags, your shoulders will get too close to your ears. You should avoid this.

(iii) To test your stability & whether you have correct form, ask someone to place a cup on your pelvis. If the cup falls off, you need to work on engaging your lower abs more to  improve stability.

Safety and Precaution: You should not do the bird-dog if you have shoulder pain. If you have had a back injury, check with your doctor or physical therapist about whether this exercise will be beneficial.

Watch this Bird Dog Exercise Demo Video:

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