Do you want to have a strong core? If your answer is yes, focus on doing the bird dog exercise to strengthen your core. This includes the bird dog, a core strengthening exercise that focuses on the abdominal area and the back muscles. Here is what you need to know for bird dog exercise – how to perform. We call this exercise the bird dog because you resemble a bird dog pointing at its prey when you perform it correctly. Also, some people call the exercise the quadruped.
The fitness benefits of bird dog exercise
Having a strong core is important, as it provides you with a firm foundation for doing other workouts. It also helps to reduce back pain and to improve your range of motion. The focus of this workout is to build your stability and not to help you burn calories. Once you have mastered this workout, it will help you do your cardiovascular activities, such as running, climbing, and swimming, more efficiently and effectively. The bird dog exercise also helps improve the range of motion of your arms and legs, as it supports the movement of your limbs.
How to do the bird dog exercise
You do this workout when you are on all fours, and you extend one arm out front and the opposite leg straight back. You then return to the center and repeat on the opposite arm and leg. Again, it would be best if you did it slowly and with precision. Also, try to be steady. The best way to achieve this is to imagine trying to balance a glass of water on your back when you are doing the workout.
People of all fitness levels, from beginners to advanced levels, can do this workout.
- What You Need
- A hard, flat surface
- A mat
The good thing about this workout is that you do not need any equipment. You can easily do it even with little room. You can do it alone or before starting your workout. Doing this workout at the beginning of your exercises helps to wampum your muscles for the other exercises that you will do later on. When you do not properly warm your muscles, it can lead to an incorrect form of exercising. This leads to injury.
You can do the bird dog exercise every day.
Step 1 – Get in the Start Position
Get on all fours. Your hands should go directly under your shoulders. Your knees should not be wider than your hips. Keep your spine as straight as you can.
Step 2- Lift Your Right Arm and Left Leg
While exhaling, extend your right arm straight in front of you and extend out your left leg straight back. Next, return your arm and leg to starting position. Then switch to the alternate side, extend your left arm out straight in front of you and kick back your right leg. Finally, return to the start position to complete one rep.
You can do 3 sets and 10 reps and focus on steadying and controlling your limbs when starting. Then, as you get better and build your endurance, focus on holding your limbs out for three seconds during each rep. Do this for 30 seconds.
Incorrect form for the bird dog exercise
An incorrect way of doing these workouts is by letting your back sag and your shoulders dip. Also, do not let your hips move. Your torso should be still and stable as you do the bird dog exercise, even if this means that you do not lift your arms and legs too far off the ground. It is better that you do a couple of reps correctly rather than doing many reps incorrectly.
Substitute exercises for the bird dog
Between each rep, you can do fat cow. Round and arch your back alternately while rotating your hips. Then get into the child’s pose by sitting your hips back and extend your arms in front of you. You can also rest your hands along your sides to stretch the muscles you have just worked out.
Different bird dog exercises
There are different modifications to this exercise. These can be substitute exercises for people who find the original bird dog too difficult.
For this workout, keep your hands in place while only moving one leg at a time. First, kick back one leg straight out, slowly but steadily. Then bring back your leg to the start position. Then alternate to the other leg.
Arms only bird dog Exercise
You will keep your legs in their original position for this modified workout when you are on all fours and only move your arms. Start by extending out one arm in front of you, parallel to the floor. Then return to the start position and then extend out the alternate hand. If the workout is too easy for you, consider holding a pair of one-pound dumbbells as you workout.
To avoid injuries,
- use correct form
- slowly perform movements
- Don’t overdo it
- listen to your body
- stop if you feel pain
Tips on how to perform the bird dog exercise correctly
You can start with the arms-only workout or the donkey kicks until you master them before moving on to the arm and leg combination. You can do this for a couple of weeks first. This will enable you to work at the strength level that you are comfortable with.
To see noticeable results, combine workouts with proper nutrition and rest in your program. Consider resting for 1-2 days between workouts sessions. This allows your muscles sufficient time to recover.
Conclusion of how to perform the bird dog exercise correctly and safely
The bird dog exercise is great for building strength in your lower back. You can do it if you have experienced back injuries or surgery. It builds muscles that support your stability and your spine.
You can do the bird dog exercise anywhere, as you do not need a lot of space. You also do not need any special equipment. Physical therapists and athlete trainers often recommend and use this workout.