Exercise Demo: The Dead Bug

What is the Dead Bug?

It’s all about the core. Good for beginners, all the way to advanced gym rats, everyone can benefit from having this in your program, whether it’s in your warm up or in your training session.

Here are two versions for you: dead bug legs only and the full dead bug


Dead Bug - Legs Only

Lie down on your back, knees bent and flat feet. Arms by your side, palms down. First thing is to take a few deep inhales and exhales, really trying to empty yourself of air on the exhale. Tilt the pelvis so that your lower back is planted on the ground - in full contact.

When you feel like your stomach is empty of air and activated, lift one foot off the ground, then the second foot off the ground, making sure your knees are above your hips and knees are at 90 degrees. Arms remain by your side.

When you’re ready, in the exhale, extend one leg, straightening it out parallel to the floor, then bring it back in and repeat on the other side. When you extend the leg, focus on planting your lower back into the ground, try to avoid bulging in the stomach area and create tension throughout the leg that is extended.

Modification: If you feel you’re losing connection with the floor with your lower back or you’re not able to keep the tension on the core, try not to lower your leg too low - extend it slightly upwards, always keeping tension in the leg during the movement.


Full Dead Bug

Same as the above!

But this time, instead of arms by your sides, the arms will be raised straight up with your wrists straight above your shoulders and your fingers pointing straight u,.

When you extend the right leg, move the left arm back behind your head, come back to centre and alternate.


Reps and sets

Do 3 sets of 4-6 reps on each side. Either in your warm up or in the session.

If you can do more than that, you’re probably not doing it properly, keeping the quality of the movement high. If you’re finding it easy, re-evaluate your position, break the movement down into its parts and check your form at each step. It should be creating a lot of tension!

What do people get wrong?

  • Remember to exhale as you start the movement, even exaggerate it, it’s so important.

  • Keeping the lower back in contact with the floor and tension in your stomach throughout.

  • A lot of people put their extended leg too low, in order to make it harder, but then quickly lose quality as they go through the reps and sets. Rather, start with your leg a bit higher than you think at first.

Quality over quantity!


Videos and Images by Christy White Photography