Dead Bug Exercise – Use to Safely Strengthen Your Core

What is the dead bug exercise? Unfortunately, finding an effective abdominal workout that doesn’t place tremendous strain on your shoulders or neck and that actually engages your core muscles is challenging.

So if you’ve recently heard of the dead bug exercise – how to perform it safely and with maximum benefits is probably a concern. The good news is that this is a straightforward activity and one that’s guaranteed to produce impressive results.


With the tips below, you can establish perfect form, avoid injuries, and tone up your midsection fast.

We perform the dead bug exercise while lying prone. This is good news for anyone with sore hips, knees, or ankles. It is absolutely non-impact and entirely stress-free. To start, find a nice padded area to workout. This could be a carpeted floor or a hardwood floor with a yoga or exercise mat. Do not perform this activity while lying on a mattress or sofa. Although these surfaces are soft, they do not offer adequate support for the spine. You want a fairly firm, supportive surface and just enough cushioning for comfort.

Much like the name implies, you’ll be moving your body much like a dying insect will during its final throes of life.

Make sure that you have plenty of room to stretch out and move. If there are furnishings or other items in your way, these things could compromise your movements and prevent you from performing the workout correctly. Try to have at least three to four feet of clearance all around your body. When you do not worry about bumping into things, you can place your full focus on maintaining excellent form and engaging your core muscles.

The goal of the dead bug exercise is to promote core stabilization and build core strength to create a solid foundation that supports and protects the spine.

This will increase the ease of everyday activities and movements, and it can even improve athletic performance. With this exercise, you can gradually improve your ability to walk uphill, throw, move heavy objects, and more. This workout is also an excellent, natural way to ease back pain.

If you need additional neck support, consider laying a folded towel down behind your neck and at the top of your shoulders.

Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Your feet should be approximately 12 inches away from your hips, and your hands should rest comfortably by the sides of your body. Relax your lower back and shoulders so that these fall to the floor. Make sure that you aren’t hunching your shoulders up by your ears.

To begin, raise your hands with your fists pointing towards one another so that your elbows travel above your chest and are parallel with your shoulders. Next, raise your legs and bring your knees over your hips as you exhale; slowly lower one arm and the opposing leg until they are just several inches away from touching the floor. As you inhale, slowly return them to the starting position. When you repeat this activity, use the opposite arm and leg. This is one repetition.

Begin with just five repetitions of the dead bug exercise that include each side. Then, you can gradually work your way up to doing multiple sets.

As you build your core strength, try not to do more of the dead bug exercise than you can while maintaining excellent form. Also, make sure that your back is not arched and that your shoulders aren’t migrating up by your ears.

With exercises like the dead bug exercise, slow and controlled movements will always provide the best results. This is another thing to watch out for as you increase your sets and repetitions. If you find you are moving too fast to feel the challenge of the movements, take a break and try again after you’ve fully recovered. Whipping through the dead bug exercise will not provide optimum benefits, and it can also lead to neck and back pain. When you do the dead bug exercise well, it can improve your back health. When you do it poorly and incorrectly, it can cause discomfort.

If you find that you’re having a hard time controlling your movement, consider doing a light heel tap.

This will limit some of the strain on your lower abdominal muscles by allowing you to rest your foot on the floor, even if only for a very brief second. Another variation for beginners who want a slightly less intense workout is keeping the arms raised and only working the abdominal muscles by moving the legs. This variation of the dead bug exercise is perfect if you’re having a hard time coordinating opposite arm and leg movements. Ultimately, however, we call the exercise the “dead bug” because it mimics the flailing movements that bugs make just before they die. The goal is to achieve excellent form and control while completing the entire movement with both the legs and the arms.

When dropping your feet, make sure that your lower back isn’t arching. The best way to do this is by tightening the glutes and tipping your pelvis slightly forward.

When the spine arches, you support the movement with your back muscles rather than the abdominal muscles. This can lead to back pain. If your lower back arches as you move through your sets, return to your starting position, drop your shoulders and your hips, engage your glute muscles, tilt your pelvis, and try again.

Breathing is essential while doing the dead bug exercise. Breathing brings new oxygen to the muscles, even as they’re being challenged.

It will also help you focus on the movement and your form so that you aren’t making any mistakes that might cause injury or diminish your efforts’ overall efficacy. Unlike crunches and sit-ups, this abdominal workout doesn’t place a tremendous amount of strain on the neck, and there’s little risk of letting momentum carry the movement through rather than core muscle strength. Try to perform the dead bug exercise at least four to five times each week, with the goal of 5 full repetitions and up to 10 sets.

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