How good is your impression of a Dead Bug?!
Why would you ever want to act like a DEAD BUG? Because it's an essential skill to master for improving CORE STABILITY.
What is your Core?
Your “core” is a group of muscles that coordinate to stabilize your spine, pelvis and shoulders. Most people think only of their "abs" - the front of their abdomen. In fact, the core muscles include the front and side of our abdominal wall, as well as our back muscles, pelvic floor and diaphragm. Together, these muscles form a cylinder of support that we call our core.
Why should it be stable?
A functioning core is necessary to provide a solid foundation for all movement of your arms and legs. This includes standing upright and walking on two feet. If you think about it, an ant has the perfect core strategy - just have a hard shell to keep everything aligned and supported!
The biggest benefit of core training is to develop functional fitness - fitness that is essential to daily living, regular activities, as well as athletic pursuits. This includes tasks like retrieving something from a shelf overhead, pouring a cup of tea, climbing stairs, house chores, yard work, enjoying a hike in the woods, winning a race or scoring a goal.
Core Strength and Back Pain
A strong, balanced core distributes the stresses of weight-bearing. Research demonstrates that weak and unbalanced core muscles are linked to low back pain. It is necessary to train your core muscles correctly, which, particularly for newbies, can require guidance and feedback from a qualified health or fitness practitioner.
Where to begin?
1. Refer back our previous blog on Crocodile Breathing.
2. Transfer your breathing skills to Umbrella Breathing, which is essentially Crocodile Breathing while standing up. Breathe low and deep into your ribs, thinking of your lower rib cage as an umbrella opening up. When you breath in do your ribs move? Can you expand your ribs on the front, side and back? Do you breathe into your shoulders and neck or do you breathe low and into your side body and back with a relaxed belly, neck and shoulders? You can use your hands to check your rib expansion.
3. Once you've mastered the above, you are ready to show us your best impression of a Dead Bug!!
There are MANY variations of the dead bug exercise that may be appropriate depending on your abilities, and to get it right, it's important to be familiar with the finer points.
You can start by lying on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms down by your sides. Tighten your upper abdomen to secure your lower ribs in place. Lift one knee up toward 90 degrees and hold it for 2-3 seconds, then return it to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite leg, and continue by alternating legs. Throughout the exercise, it is important not to let your lower ribs lift (don’t let your back arch), and to keep your neck and shoulders relaxed!
It is essential not to move to more challenging variations of the dead bug until you have mastered your current level. If this exercise is new to you, or if you are unsure of whether you are practicing the right form, ask us for help!
If you would like to be assessed for how well you are doing your core stability exercises, or to find out what other exercises would be appropriate for you, schedule an appointment to see one of our healthcare professionals.
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