Are you ready to “Dead Bug” it up???
The ‘Dead Bug’ is a classic exercise for developing core stability and preventing things like lower back pain. Yet, most people don’t perform this exercise or think about performing it. Personally, I think that most people (average gym goer’s) are just ‘super’ brainwashed by the media and they continue to perform their weighted sit-ups or give their abdominal crunch machine’s a go! Everyone nowadays wants a six pack and they think that by doing millions of sit-ups or weighted crunches they are going to achieve this. Which, is actually somewhat true, they will probably get that six pack, but…. they don’t consider or know the implications that these sit-ups or weighted crunches will have on their lower backs! And this is part of the reason why we have so many people in the population ending up with serious or chronic lower back injuries!
Now, this post isn’t going to be about “Why You Should Avoid Sit-Ups or Crunches”, as I already covered that in this post here, which you can check out by clicking this link “Why You Should Consider Avoiding Sit-Ups”
The Dead Bug
So, we already know that the ‘Dead Bug’ is great for developing core stability and preventing things lower back pain but…..
How do you perform it? How does it really work? What are some common mistakes seen when performing the exercise? And why don’t more people perform it?
Well, the dead bug involves you lying on your back with your knees and hips in a flexed position. From here, your arms will be extended out in front of you, with your chin tucked. A few things to be aware of is to keep your feet dosriflexed and your core braced! You will then begin to lower your opposite arm (exhale forcefully) and opposite leg (inhale through nose), while focusing on breathing. For more of a visual perspective on how to perform the exercise, check out the video at the end of this post!
To answer question 2, the ‘Dead Bug’ is an isometric exercise, were you are holding a contraction without the muscle lengthening. By holding this isometric contraction, we are working many core muscles ranging from our transverse abdominis to our rectus abdominis. All of which are very important in providing spinal stability! Therefore, if you have a weak anterior-core, then performing the ‘Dead Bug’ would help develop that core and ultimately, prevent things like lower back pain!
As for question 3, I think the first biggest issue people have with performing the ‘Dead Bug’ is that they don’t keep their anterior core fully engaged. Rather, they just extend their opposite arm and leg without any forceful contraction. This will ultimately result in lower activation of the core and some potential lower back extension, which is not good! Therefore, keep the core tight by sucking your belly button into your stomach and forcefully squeeze the abdominals for maximal benefits!
A second common mistake that many people make is that they perform the exercise to quickly! Some people will just perform it so quickly, that they aren’t getting much activation or contraction when they lower their arms and legs. Rather, they should slowly lower their opposite arm and leg while holding the extended position for about 3-10 seconds. This will result in greater muscle activation and make the exercise more difficult 😉
As for a few others other mistakes or things to look out for as a coach is… Chin tucked? Feet dosriflexed? Are they extending only partially or cheating? If so, these are pretty easy fixes, which I’m assuming you would know how to correct!
Moving on to our last question… Why don’t more people perform the ‘Dead Bug”?
Well.. to be honest, the dead bug isn’t what I would call a ‘mainstream media’ exercise and therefore, people don’t really know about it or the benefits of it. Most of what ‘mainstream media’ presents us with is sit-ups, crunches, push-ups, bench press, etc. And therefore, your average gym goer doesn’t really have an educated mind for what’s a good exercise and what’s a bad exercise. However, this is where people like myself or other coaches/trainers come into play. Were responsible for educating our clients and athlete’s about good and bad exercise.
So, if your someone that lacks core stability or suffers from lower back pain, hopefully the ‘Dead Bug’ can help you out!
All the best to your ‘Dead Bug-ing” 😉
Watch This Video