The dead bug exercise

The dead bug is a great exercise to improve control of the low back and pelvis as well as create stability between the upper body and lower body. I thought I would show the basic dead bug exercise along with a few progressions if you want to challenge yourself further.

This is the basic dead bug. Here you are lying flat on your back with your hands and knees pointing to the ceiling. Have your back as flat as possible and try to maintain this throughout the movement. From this position slowly lower the right arm and left leg while breathing as slowly and controlled as possible. Return to the start position and repeat on the other side.

The first variation is this one where we implement a resistance band to create the need for a bit more control and stability through the movement. Hold the band in the right hand and wrap around the left foot before completing the movement. You can only do one side at a time here so be sure to swap over after you have done your reps.

This variation challenges the upper body to resist the extension part of the movement though the shoulders by using a band to create a backwards pulling force. Alternate the legs as usual while maintaining a flat lower back and controlled breathing.

This final variation is a real challenge for the resisting rotation. Follow all the normal cues for a dead bug but lie side on to the band and resist against its pull to twist you side ways.

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Michael is and Osteopath, competitive powerlifter and aspiring strength and conditioning coach

the dead bug exercise