We’ve seen about a hundred different instructional videos on how to correctly perform the Dead Bug and most of them have missed a few key components that we like to use when coaching the Dead Bug. I mean if you are going to do an exercise, you might as well do it correctly, am I right?
The Dead Bug is a incredible way to teach the body what neutral spine feels like. Rib cage over the pelvis, all with proper breathing patterns is a must if you are interested in getting strong and staying healthy.
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 breath 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 degree 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 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 time spent in 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.
3 sets of 5-6 repetitions per leg should give you the best bang for your buck. These are also great during a warm up.