Dead bug; a great core exercise

The spine and especially the lower or lumbar spine, has a challenging job. It must alternate between being agile as when running or dancing but on the other hand being able to “lock” into a stable position when doing something like a deadlift or squat. If the spine can’t move in a relaxed way, it slows us down and reduces our athleticism and general physical performance. If the lower spine can’t stiffen up and stabilize when called for, we lose strength in our big lifts and we become venerable to injuries. 

The dead bug is a challenging, yet well supported core stabilization exercise, where you learn how to maintain a stable/braced spinal posture while at the same time moving your arms and legs. This ability can be useful in day-to-day activities like doing a single leg bending action to reach down and pick something up from the ground or putting a small box on the top shelf with one hand. To do both these activities safely requires you to brace your core while moving your limbs in relation to your torso. 

Lie flat on your back and bend your hips and knees each to 90 degrees. 

From there, push the small of your lower back into the ground and tuck your tailbone under so that there is no gap between your lower back and the floor. 

Then tuck your chin down towards your chest, reach your arms toward the ceiling then curl upwards with your upper torso so that your shoulder blades start to lift off the ground and your lower ribcage moves towards the pelvis. 

Then simultaneously move your right arm and left leg diagonally away from each other while maintain a stiff/stable core. Start with a small movement of your arm and leg, to less than 45 degrees. As you get stronger you can make the arm and leg movements reach out further. Then repeat the same procedure on the other side.

Repeat 6 to 18 times per side for 2 to 5 rounds. If you fatigue and struggle to maintain a stable core position and/or the small of your back starts to lift of the ground, then stop or reduce how far out you are reaching with your arm and leg. 

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