“Dead bug” may make some of you laugh for it’s such a cute nickname for your friend who just lays around all day long like a lazy bug. Some of you even may find this phrase very weird and strange. But it is more than just a cute nickname or a weird phrase!
The dead bug is a popular exercise that will help you strengthen and stabilize your core, both front and back, if only you do it consistently. It is a simple exercise that you do while laying on your back. This exercise will not only strengthen and stabilize your core but also your back muscles and spine. This exercise will help you improve your balance, coordination, and posture and also prevent and relieve lower back pain. It is an excellent exercise for improving total core stability.
Some of you may procrastinate but you definitely should try out this exercise if you want those abs that you have been wanting for so long now. So just start already doing this dead bug exercise.
Here is the breakdown of the dead bug exercise that you were waiting for or didn’t actually know that you needed it.
How to do the dead bug exercise? (step by step)
This exercise is performed on the ground so you will need a comfortable yoga mat to start with. To support your neck, grab a flat pillow or a folded towel and place it under your shoulders.
Now you are ready to start the training, let’s jump right in!
- Start with laying on your back with a neutral spine. Let your arms rest comfortably at the side.
- Lift your arms and make sure your elbows and wrists are above your shoulders.
- Lift up your legs so that your knees are over your hips.
- Take slow counts when you are going as low as you can.
- Exhale and now slowly, lower both your left arm and right leg at the same time. Stop before they touch the surface.
- Now, inhale and return to your starting position.
- Before repeating this on the opposite side first complete 10 reps and then switch to the next side.
Dead bug exercise progression
When you have just started doing the dead bug exercise, start by doing 2-4 sets of 5-10 repetitions on each side.
Once you have gained expertise in doing the exercise you can always add up some challenges to make it advanced with variations. You can add weight to the movement by holding a kettlebell or dumbbell in your hands. The dead bug exercise is also a good precursor of any plank variations as it targets the same stabilizing muscles as the plank exercise.
You can even squeeze a yoga block between your thighs or hands to promote stability. To make it even more challenging, do straighten your legs or incorporate some types of equipment like resistance bands or free weights. Hold it over your head with both hands then steadily lower it behind you.
Also Read: What Are Hip Dips? Learn How To Reduce Them Using 5 Simple Exercises
Variations in the Dead Bug Exercise
There are many modifications and variations of the dead bug exercise that you can add to make it either more or less challenging.
Few variations are mentioned below:-
Leg Raises– Straight your legs up, so that they are facing the ceiling then lower down slowly, one leg at a time.
Heel Taps– Keep your knee bent. Slowly, low your feet one at a time and tap the floor with your heel.
Palm Against The Wall– This is a great variety for beginners. Here, you have to bring your arms overhead and press your palms into the wall while your knees are above your hips.
Leg extensions– To straighten your legs, press one foot away from your body, hovering it above the floor.
Dead Bug Overhead Raise-
- Take a resistance band and wrap it around your lower thighs for stability.
- Lie on your back and keep your knees above your hips.
- Hold a weighted ball with both your hands, above your shoulder.
- Keep the rest of your body stabilized. Now lower the ball over your head. Take a pause here.
- Now, slowly return to your starting position.
- After doing it consistently for a short period, air for 1-3 reps of 10-12 reps.
Stability Ball Dead Bug-
Adding a stability ball helps you increase spinal and core stability. The only changed movement in this exercise will be in your arms and legs.
- Lay on your back and hold a stability ball between your knees. Don’t allow the balk to touch your thighs, chest, or forearms.
- Press down your lower back into the floor and start extending your right arm and left leg down on the floor.
- Now, hold the ball in place. Press in with your left knee and down away from your right hand.
- Hold onto this position for 15-30 seconds, then return to the starting position.
- Do this on the opposite side as well.
- Aim at doing 1-3 sets of 7-12 reps.
Dead Bug Heal Tap-
This exercise is though quite simple, its core engagement stands out.
- Lay on your back in a dead bug starting position, as you have done before.
- Keeping one knee bent, slowly stretch out the opposite leg.
- Low down one foot at a time and then tap the floor with your heel.
- Repeat the same on the opposite side.
- After a while, aim for doing 1–2 sets of 12 reps.
Straight Leg Dead Bug-
- Lay on your back and stretch out your legs so that your feet are facing the ceiling.
- Lift your arms, as you have done before.
- Slowly lower down one leg and let it hover above the floor. While also lower down the opposite arm.
- Lift your leg back up.
- Repeat the same on the other side.
- Aim at doing 1-2 sets of 12 reps.
Do You Need A Trainer To Do Dead Bug Exercise?
Well, if you are a beginner to fitness or this is the first time you are trying out the dead bug exercise then it is recommended that you should definitely take the help of a professional trainer for you do not want to get yourself hurt.
But on the other hand, if you are already familiar with the very basics of fitness or you are into working out then in that case, you do not really need a trainer, following up the instructions properly or checking up some tutorials on the internet would do. However, if you still feel that you need the guidance of a trainer then you are welcome to do so.
Who Should Not Do Dead Bug Exercise?
Firstly, let us see who should not try out this exercise. Often people do not have any such difficulties while doing this exercise but there are some people who should not do this exercise.
- People who have gone through surgery in the near past, should not try out this exercise until they consult a doctor.
- Also, anyone having medical concerns should talk to a doctor before doing the exercise.
- A person who is just beginning to do exercises should only start with the basic dead bug exercise and then move ahead with the modifications and variations.
Who Should Do Dead Bug Exercise?
For some people, it will not be a problem to do this exercise.
- People who have no medical concerns or are familiar with fitness or working out can do the dead bug exercise.
- Those who have arthritis or Parkinson’s disease should also do this exercise.
- And to all those aspirers who want to have abs should straightaway try this exercise.
Benefits Of Doing Dead Bug Exercise
After doing this exercise consistently for a while with maintaining a proper diet, you will see improvements in your balance, posture, core strength, and coordination. The benefits of dead bug exercise are recognized by many people who have expertise in core training and fitness enthusiasts.
Some of the benefits are mentioned below:-
- This exercise is beneficial for people suffering from arthritis pain.
- It helps people with chronic pain such as lower back pain or headaches.
- This will also help swimmers to build and also improve their core strength and endurability.
- Professional or beginners in the dancing field who look to strengthen their core, balance, and posture will find this exercise really helpful.
- Individuals suffering from Parkinson’s disease will be benefited from this exercise for it will help them make their daily activities easy-going and also prevent further injuries.
- It helps prevent back pain and also strengthens your arm and leg muscles.
- It prepares your body for a higher form of exercise.
- Lastly, it will encourage your body coordination and awareness.
Common mistakes in Dead Bug Exercise
- Moving Too Fast– This is the most common mistake people do when they confuse the dead bug exercise with bicycle crunch, trying to speed up the momentum. Do not move too fast. If you are finding yourself move too fast, then slow down a bit (remember, slow and steady wins the race). The focal point of this exercise is to complete the movement without twisting or arching. The fix: try squeezing a stability ball with your opposite limbs. By holding it in a place steadily you will eventually be forced to slow down.
- Arching Away From the Floor– If you find your lower back arching away from the floor, then try diminishing the range of motion of your extensions. Only extend your opposite arm and leg as far as you can without letting your back beginning to arch. Once again, if you feel your low back arching, bring your arm and leg back to center before repeating to the opposite side. This will help your keep your lower back from arching off the floor.
- Lifting Your Head– One of the main goals of the dead bug exercise is to maintain a neutral spine and athletes often when trying to complete a movement around their cervical spine and crank their neck. The fix: Before starting the movement, try looking straight up, and pick up a spot on the ceiling behind you. During the movement, focus seeing on that spot you picked, as you lower each extremity. This will help you from not lifting up your head.
- Drifting your Arm– The dead bug exercise requires the activation of both your truck muscles and abdominal and also the ability to coordinate the movement of your limbs. A common mistake people do when doing the dead bug exercise is that they lower their arm as their leg drops to the ground. The solution to this mistake is to modify the exercise to some extent. Start holding a med ball on your palms, if your arm starts to drift the ball will fall. Hence, this modification will slow down the speed of your movement.
Safety And Precautions for Dead Bug Exercise
Anybody can do the dead bug exercise because is totally safe. The only thing you need to keep in mind is to know your limits and do not forget to engage your core, and practice slow and controlled movements.
Just make sure that if you are a beginner, you take some guidance from a professional health expert who will help you demonstrate a proper form. Pay attention to your form. Make sure that your lower back is not arching. If you have a back injury, do not overdo things or push yourself for doing the movement if it causes constant pain.
Also, it may seem quite evident but do not forget to breathe. Especially when you are doing dead bug exercises, it is important to breathe to brace your core properly. If you have an existing lower body injury then avoid doing this exercise, or first consult a doctor and then do it. If the dead bug exercise is not working for you after weeks of consistently trying, then you must be doing something incorrectly. Thus, take a help of a professional trainer for different options.
The dead bug is an engaging exercise that will very much help you boost your core stability and strength. It can also be done as a part of a core strengthening routine. This can be done anywhere, just that you need to lie down on the floor to do it. As you gain some expertise you can move on to the different advanced as well as easy variations.
Folks who are suffering from Parkinson’s disease or arthritis, after doing this exercise will see improvements in their lower body pain and prevent any further injuries. Also, if you have any medical concerns or you are a beginner to fitness, consult a doctor.