Fitness Friday: The One Ab Exercise You Should Be Doing (But Probably Arent)
Planks, Crunches, Curls, Twists; we all know the benefits of ab exercises for core strength, overall fitness, and looking cute in a crop top. But surprisingly when I introduce the 'Dead Bug', one of my all time favourite ab exercises to my clients, many have never performed it before.
The Dead Bug is an awesome core workout in so many ways - unlike Crunches and Sit Ups which require you to flex your trunk, the Dead Bug involves training the abdominals to resist extension which not only activates your deep core muscles. but helps protect your lower back.
I love to include the Dead Bug either as part of a client's warm up and mobility work, or at the end of a workout as a great accessory exercise. It is also a great exercise to add into your home workout, as all you need is a yoga mat or a thick towel to lie on.
To start, lie on your back with arms directly above your shoulders with your arms reaching up to the ceiling, and your knees directly above your hips, lower legs at right angles (think upside down tabletop, or Dead Bug!)!
Before moving take a deep inhale, and as you exhale feel your lower back flatten to the floor, and the sides of your rib cage draw together (you can place your hands on your rib cage and feel your fingertips come together as you exhale if this helps you with the movement).
Now inhale again, and as you exhale slowly extend your right leg out in front of you, lowering it so it is parallel to the mat (but not touching it). At the same time extend your left arm slowly so it is parallel to the mat (but not touching it). Slowly return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. This counts as one rep. The goal is to keep your lower back against the floor throughout. If it starts to arch then do not lower your legs as far, and continue to work towards full extension as you get stronger.
I like to use a rep range of 10-12 Dead Bugs with my clients, ensuring slow controlled movements throughout. To progress this exercise try holding a dumbell, or pulling against a resistance band as you move.
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