Today, for #favethingsfriday, we’re talking about my favorite core exercise, the Dead Bug. Check out this video for four variations to try out.
I usually get a ton of sneers when I say that this is my go-to core move. Most people just sort of fly through it thinking “what’s so hard about this?” I’ll tell you what’s so hard about it … the idea is that the curve of your low back shouldn’t change (i.e. press into and lift away from the floor) at all thru the entire range of motion. Tougher than it sounds.
This is a MAJOR part of what your core was designed to do – support and stabilize the individual vertebral joints of your spine as you move.
Stabilization = no unwanted movements between the joints. Obvs, it’s important that your spine is mobile and allows you twist, bend & lean in a controlled way. BUT when you’re walking, running, carrying stuff, or lifting weights, your core muscles need to be strong enough and have enough endurance to brace your spine so that there isn’t a ton of bumping and grinding going on in the discs & bony junctions between each of your vertebrae.
Look, I love a plank as much as the next person but the demand our lives places on our core require us to be able to stabilize the spine not just while we’re holding still but also (and perhaps more importantly) as we move. Core exercises should mimic life so that we train our muscles to do what we need them to do.
If you experience low back pain in core moves, it’s a sign that your core is too weak to properly stabilize your spine so the low back muscles step in to do the job — a job they’re not designed to do on their own so they get angry and tense.
So if you’re one of those people that always has to tuck your hands behind your pelvis when doing core work on your back, it’s a red flag that you don’t have enough functional core support to perform the exercise without overworking your back. You may be able to plank for five straight minutes but if you can’t stabilize your spine while moving your legs, you’re lower back is gonna pay for it with every step you take.
Stop worrying about what your abs look like at the expense of your low back. Build yourself a functional core instead. This simple (not easy) move is a start.
If you’re local to the DC Metro area, I’m doing a Practical Core Work workshop at Yoga Bliss Studios in Gaithersburg, MD on October 21, 2018 at 1:30PM. Registration opens soon! Get on my email list for details once they’re released.
Alison… Great information thank you…. met you last year at Marine Corp Marathon.. Are you running it this year? Also, I know you were kind of local… how close are you to Reston, Va. (for personal training – my sister just moved from CT)
Hey Alison!! I remember you! I’m not running MCM this year. Are you?
I’m actually not that close to Reston, I’m in Clarksburg, MD. But I do online personal training/coaching. Almost all of my clients now are online. I only have a few corrective exercise clients that I see in person. Shoot me an email if that is interesting — firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy to chat more about that!