Everyone Loves a Dead Bug

Any successful program that we put together at Warhorse has a fair amount of things in common. One of those major commonalities is that we dedicate a significant amount of time to building a brutally strong core, which encompasses everything both posterior and anterior between the shoulders and the hips.

Variations of rows, planks, carries, crawls, breathing (super fun) and LOADS of anti-work, and by “anti-work” we mean anti-extension, anti-lateral flexion, and anti-rotation. Since we generally start workouts from the ground up, we figured that we would kick things off with one of our favorite exercises. The Dead Bug.

This video includes a few variations that we have successfully used with our clients. We generally start with Palms Against Wall with Heel Taps or Palms Against Wall Dead Bug and progress accordingly.


1) Palms Against Wall W/ Heel Taps

2) Palms Against Wall Dead Bug

3) Dead Bug W/ Reach

4) Straight Arm Straight Leg Dead Bug

5) Dead Bug W/  Foam Roller

6) Dead Bug W/ Dowel Rod

7) Alternating Dead Bug W/ Swiss Pall

8) Dead Bug W/ Anti-Rotation

9) Dead Bug + R. Crunch


A few tips on how to perform the Dead Bug are below. Feel free to shoot us any questions or comments and please share if you found this video helpful!

1) Breathing – While in the starting position, legs at a 90-degree position, suck every bit of air out of the room, think about expanding your torso 360-degrees. We like to tell people to breathe into the floor (Your back, sides, belly, and chest should fill up). Next slowly begin to exhale and purposefully drive one leg forward until your heel hovers over the ground, provided your low back is staying flush with the floor. Once you can no longer exhale, slowly begin to inhale and return your leg back to its 90 degrees starting position. Repeat with the other leg. Basically, the inhale and exhale should be coordinated with the lowering and raising of your leg/arm.


2) Toes flexed towards your knees – Toe extension kicks on dorsiflexors…kicks on hip flexors…kicks on the low back, and good things happen. Not to mention, I find that having people do this really encourages individuals to move more deliberately.


3) Drive low back into the ground. Anyone who is decently strong spends a large portion of spent in an anterior pelvic tilt. This exercise will help promote posterior pelvic tilt and help you obtain a more neutral position.


4) Crush the roller –  Adding a foam roller into the mix will turn a seemingly easy exercise (even though it’s not easy at all if you do it right) into a more challenging exercise by encouraging the athlete to create more tension throughout the movement, rather than just going through the motions.

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About the Author : Jaclyn Moran

Jaclyn Moran, aka J-Zilla, is the Co-Founder of Warhorse Barbell Club. Since graduating from Syracuse University in 2005, she’s worked for the New York State Assembly as well as a private investment management firm but growing up with entrepreneur parents, she always knew she was destined to follow her own path. Since Jaclyn was a child she has always had a passion for athletics. Whether it was playing volleyball, running track or bowling (yes, bowling is a sport), she’s consistently been active and eager to learn new skills. It wasn’t until meeting Chris that Jaclyn’s world got turned upside down and she fell in love with not only him but lifting weights. She can be seen and heard throughout the gym whether she’s coaching or training. Outside of the gym Jaclyn enjoys spending time with Chris and their two dogs, Cam and Emmett, vacationing in Encinitas, CA, and taking some time for peace and quiet.