You may have noticed that we do some “corrective” exercise in the beginning of class in order to mobilize and activate your joints and muscles. Many of us spend a majority of our day seated that we inevitably have weakened gluteus, tight hip flexors and rounded posture. This leads to a slough of other problems, including weak core musculature, and is a common precursor to low back pain.
Bird dog is an exercise that requires stability and strength and its great for your spine. When applied correctly, it can help correct postural imbalances while promoting strength in the core and gluteus. Bird dog can be done with resistance, and for an added challenge you can always try it in High Plank!
All corrective exercise should be done slowly and mindfully so that the body can learn the new and often challenging position. Contraction of the muscles in both the eccentric and concentric phases of this exercise will give you the most payback for your effort.
For purposes of this article I will cover basic bird dog, but all of the same elements apply as you advance toward resistance and high plank with resistance.
- Begin on your hands and knees. Spreading your finger bones out wide, align your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Both wrists and knees should be at hip width apart. Remember, how you start will be a big part of how you finish, so take your time setting up properly. Engage your core so that the curve of the low back is natural. To find your natural curve, go through a few sets of cat cow and find middle ground. Throughout the rest of the moment, keep working that core engagement
- Extend your right leg back with your right toe on the ground as it would be in a push up while keeping your pelvis neutral. (Pretend you are balancing a glass of water on your sacrum and when your leg lifts don’t spill!) Contract your right gluteus muscle and lift your leg so that at the top of the lift, the leg is parallel to the ground. Continue to extend through the heel of your foot and contract your entire lifted leg so that its both straight and sturdy.
- Place gentle pressure into the right hand – be sure to push out of your right shoulder, no sinking! Lift your left arm and reach forward with the thumb extending upward and the palm facing your midline. Make your body as long as you can from tip of middle finger to tip of heel. Hold this position for 5 breaths and then relax. Repeat 3 rounds on each side.
Bird Dog Resistance Variations:
Bird dog with resistance band
Hi Plank Bird Dog with Resistance Band
5:30AM Sunrise Danville Womens only class – Coach Karen – Core & Base HIIT
6AM Sunup Moraga Womens only Class – Coach Briana – Core & Base HIIT
8:15AM Sunshine Moraga Womens only Class – Coach Michelle & Coach Kristen – Core & Base HIIT
9AM Sunshine Walnut Creek Womens only class – Coach Jentry – Chip It Humpday
9:30AM Sunshine Orinda Sleepy Hollow Co Ed PRIVATE Class – Coach Piper – Chip it Humpday!
11:00AM Cytosport In Trinity In Meditation – Coach Michelle (private class)
12:00PM Cytosport Next Level In Trinity – Coach Michelle (private class)
2PM Cytosport Hatha Yoga – Coach Jentry (private class)