Installment 6 of our MOVE WELL TO MOVE OFTEN education series: Bird Dogs.
This is an ORANGE corrective movement for core stability and strength. The orange corrective movements are FOUNDATIONAL for all other exercise movements. The core of the body is more than the abdominal muscles. The core is made of up of the muscles around your pelvis, hips, low back and stomach.
Start in a quadruped (all fours) position with knees under hips and hands under shoulders. Head is in a neutral position aligned with the spine. The first thing you should do to start this exercise is BRACE THE MUSCLES OF YOUR CORE (stomach tightened toward the spine) which will naturally bring the pelvis into a slightly tucked position and engage the low back. Now, lift right hand and left knee. Bend the right arm so the elbow touches the left knee. Maintain the braced core. From this point, extend the right arm and left leg while maintaining a stable base and avoiding any twisting of the spine. The extended arm and leg should be in the same plane as the spine (like a table top). Continue to maintain the braced core. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other side.
To progress this move, slow down the tempo and hold the extended arm and opposite leg for a few seconds. The key for mastering this movement and strengthening the core is to brace it at the onset and maintain a tight core throughout the movement.