Bird dogs do the work of sniffing out then flushing out birds so that hunters can find them. The Bird Dog exercise sniffs out lower back health so that you can find it.
This floor exercise uses your own bodyweight to improve and tone lower back muscles, glutes, and thighs. It’s a great move because you can do it anywhere, whether you’re in the gym or traveling and have to work out in your hotel room. It takes a little bit of practice to master it, but once you do, it’s a move that can help you move the belly fat out of your way for good.
Pointing to Health
The Bird Dog is used by personal trainers and physical therapists alike to help improve lower back strength. Based on yoga techniques, it builds strong core muscles to help stabilize the spine and improve the quality of life.
The extension of this exercise means that the stretch and strength builds all the way down the erector spinae, the long muscle that goes from the base of the skull all the way down to the top of the hips. When you do the Bird Dog, that muscle lengthens, releasing tension. It feels good! The increased circulation that comes with doing this exercise is another bonus.
Improving the strength and flexibility of muscles like the erector spinae helps to improve quality of life as well, as these muscles are functional. The body constantly bends and twists in everyday life for a wide variety of tasks. That’s why this muscle is so important! The Bird Dog helps to improve it.
How to Bird Dog
Here’s how to perform the Bird Dog exercise.
- Kneel on a mat or other soft surface, ensuring you have enough room to extend your arm and leg simultaneously.
- Place your knees hips’ distance apart, hands grounded at shoulder width with the fingers pointing forward.
- Engage the core.
- Lift one hand and the opposite leg slowly while balancing on the grounded knee and hand. Keep the weight centered and the core engaged.
- Slowly point the arm out straight while extending the leg through the toes. Keep the hips square and the line between the hand and the foot straight.
- Raise the leg only as high as you can lift it while keeping the back straight. Never arch the back in this exercise.
- Hold for a count of five, then slowly reverse to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
Better Canine Form
There are several variations on the Bird Dog form that increase or decrease the level of difficulty. Here are a few.
- Quick Point – Instead of switching sides, repeat the lift and lower motion in rapid succession. This adds a cardio component.
- Exercise Ball – Place an exercise ball under your torso to give a tougher variation on this exercise. This makes for a much more challenging exercise for stability.
- Single Sided – Extend the arm and leg on the same side of the body. This is an advanced move that’s worth the challenge!
The Bird Dog and its variations are incredible exercises for the lower back and core, as well as dramatically challenging and improving the balance. Great for even beginners, this yoga move is a wonderful addition to any exercise routine.