Bird Dogs

bird dogs

Bird dogs are a versatile core exercise that enhances stability, balance, and coordination by engaging the lower back, glutes, and abdominal muscles. Performed on all fours with one arm reaching forward and the opposite leg extending back, this movement promotes proper spinal alignment and strengthens the muscles that support posture and functional movement.

Ideal for athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike, bird dogs are particularly beneficial for improving core stability and lower back health, reducing the risk of injuries. The exercise also promotes balanced strength between the left and right sides of the body, which is crucial for sports requiring rotational movements like golf, tennis, and running.

Bird dogs can be adapted to different fitness levels by adjusting the tempo, range of motion, and repetitions. Incorporating this exercise into your routine will help you develop a strong core, enhance hip stability, and improve overall movement quality for peak performance in daily activities and sports.

Equipment Needed:

Yoga mat or open floor

Bird dog Instructions:

  1. On all fours, being with a neutral (slightly arched) spine
  2. Without losing your spinal position reach one arm overhead and kick the opposite leg straight back
  3. Hold for a 2+ count
  4. Return to the starting position and perform on opposite limbs

Common Errors:

Spinal position is the #1 problem with this exercise. Most people arch their backs too much as they extend their limbs outwards. If this keeps happening to you try balancing something on your lower back, a foam roller works well for this. The foam roller will cue you to stabilize by rolling off as your spine moves.

bird dog Progressions / Regressions:

If this is too challenging:

  • Try moving one limb at a time while stabilizing your spine

If you want more of a challenge:

  • Balance a foam roller on your low back to improve stability
  • Add resistance by looping a band around your foot and holding it in the opposite hand
  • Try starting from all 4s but with your knees slightly elevated from the ground (about 1 inch). This dramatically increases the need to stabilize.

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