The dead bug is a trunk and core stability exercise that can be done at beginner to more advanced levels. As long as you can safely lay flat on your back on the floor, you can do it. Read below and watch the videos to learn how to do the dead bug and its variations.
Begin with the easiest version, described below. Once you have mastered that, you can progress to the tougher versions by using a foam roller, or performing the 4-way dead bug. Videos are below.
How to Do The Dead Bug
- lay on your back with arms and legs extended into the air
- squeeze your abs to press your back into the ground
- maintain this abdominal squeeze
- extend your right arm and left leg toward the floor in a controlled manner
- shorten your range of motion if your low back pops off the ground
- return to your start position, and repeat with your opposite arm and leg
Practice, practice. You’ll get it- this one’s a thinker!
Performing the dead bug on a foam roller provides an extra stability challenge.
The 4 way dead bug is the toughest. Keep your abs very engaged and low back pressed into the ground. This is a tough variation. I’d ideally like your reps to be better than my first rep in the video. Watch the reps to see if you can spot what I could have done better.
How To Incorporate The Dead Bug In Your Program
Add this exercise in last, or with your ab/core work. You typically don’t want to exhaust your trunk musculature and then go do an exercise that requires core stability for safety, like the barbell squat. For this reason, you’ll often see more focused ab and core work at the end of a session.
Start with 5 well executed reps per side. If that’s easy, add more reps up to 10. At 10 high quality reps, you can start incorporating the harder versions. The goal is always quality over quantity, so you can drop back to 5 reps again when trying a more challenging version.
Happy training! Let me know how you incorporate the dead bug into your program! As always, feel free to email me with questions! Kathryn@kathrynalexander.com.
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About the author
Kathryn Alexander is a strength coach and personal trainer in Austin, Texas. She loves hiking, college football, and the feel of a perfectly knurled barbell. Read more about Kathryn here.