The bird dog exercise is a bodyweight workout that strengthens your core, glutes, and erector spinae (the muscles next to your spine). It’s great for improving your posture and building up your lower back strength.
You can be the best dog in show by following these steps:
- Start on hands and knees, keeping your back flat.
- Tighten your core and raise left arm until it’s pointing directly in front of your shoulders. At the same time, raise right leg up and extend it straight behind your hips, flexing your toe.
- Slowly return hand and foot to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
Try to complete 3 sets of 10 reps, but feel free to adjust that count to whatever your body needs.
Tips for peak bird dog form
Watch for these elements of your workout:
- Don’t look up. Keep your spine in line by relaxing your neck and gazing softly down.
- Don’t arch your back. Instead, keep a neutral spine.
- Let it flow. Try to move your arm and leg together in one motion.
It’s also helpful to reach out to a certified personal trainer for one-on-one attention to ensure you’re doing this exercise safely and effectively.
The bird dog exercise is a simple workout with lots of benefits. By doing it correctly (that means with good form — no shortcuts), you can squeeze the most value out of it without risking injury.
It’s good for your whole body
A small 2016 study suggests that the bird dog is a good rehabilitation exercise to balance your entire body. That’s because it’s not as tiring for individual muscles but works a bunch of them.
It supports good posture
Have a hunch that you’ve been hunching over too much lately? The bird dog exercise can help with that! By targeting your erector spinae (the muscles around your spine), it helps promote good posture.
It protects your lower back
If you’re looking to protect your lower back by strengthening it, or you’re recovering from a back injury, the bird dog exercise is a great way to safely get stronger. But always make sure you’re using proper form so you don’t do more damage than good.