Why you should add the bird dog exercise to your weekly core routine

bird dog exercise
How to do the bird dog exercise correctly

Tired of the same-old planks, sit-ups and bicycle crunches forming your weekly core strength routine?

Here's a new exercise to add to your armoury – the bird dog. Strange as it may sound, this is a great move for building strength in the upper back, glutes and muscles along the spine, which together with your abs, pelvis and hips all make up your 'core'. A strong core is essential for runners, as it has the critical role of stabilising every other part of the body. The stronger it is, the better your running posture will be.

'The bird dog exercise has been shown in scientific research to be one of the best exercises for spinal health, control and stability,' says explains Graeme Woodward, a UK Athletics Level 3 performance coach, UKSCA accredited S&C coach and We Run coach for West Yorkshire.

'During this exercise, the body must stabilise at the pelvis and shoulder, as it is only supported on one leg and one arm and must simultaneously extend the other limbs. This creates a challenge with extension and flexion at the same time.

'It’s a great low-intensity exercise that can be used to build core capacity and control, especially in those with lower back and postural issues.

'The bird dog is also an effective exercise to use in warm-ups, as it challenges the brain to maintain stability and recruit deep postural muscles which are needed for running economy and good posture.'

How to do the bird dog exercise correctly

bird dog exercise

  1. With your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips, extend your right leg behind you.

  2. At the same time, reach your left arm out in front, parallel to the ground.

  3. Hold for two seconds, then repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.

Sets/reps: Two sets of 10-15 reps

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