How to Do the Dead Bug Exercise
Watching a bug struggle to turn itself over from its back may seem gross to some people. But did you know that that bug requires a considerable amount of strength to turn itself back over? You can use a similar technique to a struggling bug to strengthen your abs and core muscles without putting pressure on your lower back. You can do the dead bug exercise by performing it in its traditional way or trying variations based on your strength.
EditPerforming the Traditional Dead Bug
- Lie flat on your back. Sit down and then engage your abs by pulling them inward towards your back. However, keep in mind that some fitness experts see pulling your abs inward as counterproductive and instead recommend that you brace your abs. You can try both options and see which one feels like it is working better. Then, use your abs to gently lower yourself onto your back. Keep your back in its natural position without flattening it. This will help you do the dead bug in the most efficient and effective way.
- As you brace your abs, your back should be in its natural position with a slight curve in it. You should be able to fit a few fingers under the curve in your back.
- Extend your arms. Raise your arms toward the ceiling. They should be in a straight line, with your wrists and hands directly above your shoulders. This will allow you to perform the dead bug correctly and minimize your risk of injury.
- Raise your feet, knees and hips. Bend your legs so that your knees are above your hips and thighs. Keep your abs and core engaged as you slowly lift your feet off the floor. Continue to use your abs and core to raise your bent legs so they are in a 90-degree angle. Your knees should be directly above your hips, forming a straight line with your thighs.
- Lower opposite arms and legs simultaneously. Choose an arm to lower first. Keeping your abs engaged, lower it and the opposite leg at the same time. Bring your arm and leg to just above the floor and return to the starting position. Move slowly to ensure that you engage the proper muscles and don’t use momentum. This also keeps you from raising your back off of the floor.
- Repeat with the other arm and leg. Once you’ve finished your first arm and leg, lift and lower the other side. This ensures that you develop both sides of your abs and core evenly.
- Complete three sets. Gradually work yourself up to three sets of five or ten reps of the dead bug. You may only be able to perform one to start or do reps until your abs start shaking because they’re tired. Build onto your current sets as you are able.
EditTrying Variations of the Dead Bug
- Lower different numbers of limbs. You may need to try easier or more difficult dead bugs depending on your fitness level. Maintain the core exercise, but try lowering combinations such as:
- Lowering one arm and no legs
- Lowering both arms and no legs
- Lowering one leg and no arms
- Lowering both legs and no arms
- Lowering both arms and legs
- Add arm or leg weights. Strap on a pair of light ankle weights or keep a pair of light dumbbells in each hand. The extra weight can challenge your muscles more and help strengthen your core and abs faster.
- Use resistance bands if you don’t want to add weights. The bands can offer similar benefits to weights.
- Extend your limbs in different directions. Prepare yourself by getting into the base dead bug posture. Instead of focusing on lowering and raising your limbs, move each in a different direction. This really challenges your abs and core and can build strength and coordination.
- Consult your doctor before doing any dead bug exercises to ensure you are healthy enough to perform them.
EditSources and Citations
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