How to do the bird dog exercise

The bird dog is an exercise that targets the deep stabilization muscle mass of your core. It additionally referred to as the horse stance or quadruped alternating arm and leg extension. Bird canine construct power in the belly muscle mass, backbone, again (higher, mid and decrease), hip flexors, hip extensors, and glutes. In addition they assist with lowering your danger of damage to these areas.

The bird dog is a useful exercise for individuals who have been instructed they’ve a “weak core.” It is going to additionally profit anybody who performs leisure or aggressive athletics. For athletes, the bird dog will enhance your expertise in golf, tennis, lacrosse and some other sports activities that contain rotation by means of the backbone. For weekend warriors, bird canine will assist to strengthen core muscle mass which have been weakened over time by intensive sitting.

To Carry out Bird Canines

    1. How to do the bird dog exerciseHow To Carry out The Bird Dog Exercise

    Start by inserting your arms and knees on the ground.

  1. Brace your abdominals (pull your stomach button in in the direction of your backbone).
  2. Place your wrists instantly beneath the shoulders and your knees instantly beneath the hips.
  3. Preserve your again straight and flat along with your eyes targeted on the ground. Visualize balancing a broomstick alongside your backbone (lengthwise). For a tactile cue, you may place a stick alongside your backbone. The aim is to preserve your again and hips straight whilst you do the exercise in order that the stick doesn’t fall to the ground.
  4. Your legs ought to be parallel and elbows ought to stay turned again towards your thighs. Direct your fingers ahead.
  5. From this place, inhale and lift your proper arm up and out to a 45 diploma angle (with thumb pointing up (see picture) whilst you elevate your left leg concurrently as excessive as you may and into full extension. When doing this, do not let your pelvis sway to both facet.
  6. Maintain this place for 2-5 seconds.
  7. Throughout this extension, proceed to preserve your again flat. Don’t let the broomstick fall to the ground.
  8. Exhale and tuck your elbow and knee in below your torso in order that the elbow goes previous the knee. Use your abdominals to pull you to the finish of the motion.
  9. Carry out a set on one facet, relaxation briefly and repeat the bird dog exercise on the different facet.
  10. Full 8-16 repetitions slowly for 1-2 units.


  • To help with type, place a yardstick or broomstick alongside the size of your backbone.
  • Keep in mind to brace your belly muscle mass all through the total exercise.
  • Keep in mind to breathe slowly all through the exercise. By no means maintain your breath.
  • To make this exercise tougher, carry out whereas balancing on a half of foam curler, dyna-disc (disc pillow) or BOSU steadiness coach.


  • What do you consider the bird dog exercise?
  • Do you incorporate bird canine into your core routine?

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The Bird Dog exercise is a traditional core exercise that emphasizes decrease again power and steadiness. Should you’ve by no means accomplished it earlier than, the first few reps make appear awkward and tough to steadiness, however when you get the type down, you’ll need to make it a staple in your exercise program.

Under are Four variations of the bird dog exercise which can be so as of problem from best to hardest.

Bird Dog Exercise Directions & Method

How to do the bird dog exercise

1. Begin with in your arms below your shoulders and knees below your hips, whereas maintaining your head, neck, and again straight

2. Elevate your proper arm and attain it ahead till it’s in step with your torso

3. As you deliver your arm ahead, kick your left leg backwards till it’s straight and in step with your torso, maintain for 1 second

4. Slowly deliver your arm and leg again to the floor and repeat with the reverse arm and leg

Bird Dog Exercise Advantages

Bird Dog Exercise #1 | Fundamental Bird Dog

For the fundamental bird dog, begin out along with your arms instantly beneath your shoulders and knees below your hips, forming a field with 90 diploma angles. Even in the resting place, it’s best to attempt to tighten your core, whereas maintaining your shoulders down and again away out of your ears (they need to drift upwards). At the high place, preserve your arm and leg in line and make sure not to increase your head upward. As an alternative, preserve your head in a impartial place to decrease strain in your neck.

How to do the bird dog exercise

Bird Dog Exercise #2 | The Zipper

This exercise is comparable to the fundamental bird dog, however as a substitute of alternating legs and arms, you’ll full the exercise with one leg/arm, then repeat with the different facet. As well as, as you may see from the picture beneath, you’re going to crunch your elbow and your knee in order that they meet beneath your physique. In case you have tight hips, or lack higher again flexibility, you is probably not ready to contact your elbow to your knee. An much more superior model in case you are versatile is touching your nostril to your knee, as is proven in the video.

How to do the bird dog exercise

Bird Dog Exercise #3 | On Exercise Ball

To make the bird dog more difficult and check your stabilization, you should use a stability ball. Ensure to put your hips on the high of the ball to make it more difficult. The additional away you place your hips from the high of the ball, the much less you have to to stabilize your physique. Equally, in case your arms and toes are shut to the ball, the exercise turns into tougher, as opposed to maintaining them additional away from the ball. The exercise ball ought to be giant sufficient to make you want to stabilize your physique, however not so giant that you’ve hassle touching your arms and toes down at the similar time.

How to do the bird dog exercise

Bird Dog Exercise #4 | In Push-Up Place

Probably the most difficult variation of all is finishing the bird dog with out utilizing your knees, or elbows to assist you steadiness your physique. This variation takes numerous core power and much more importantly stabilization. Beginning out in the push up place, you lengthen your proper arm and left leg concurrently, whereas maintaining your hips regular in order that they don’t tip to one facet or the different.

The core exercise is straightforward, however for those who do not focus up you will lose out on its advantages.

The bird dog is a worthwhile addition to your coaching routine that may assist to strengthen your core, however are you positive you are even doing the exercise accurately?

For this motion, you should not accept something aside from excellent type—particularly as a result of it is such a killer exercise that may function a easy addition to your coaching plan. Let Males’s Well being health director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. and affiliate health editor Brett Williams information you thru the transfer’s subtleties, saving you from the dangerous habits which can be maintaining you from unlocking your health potential.

Earlier than get down on the floor to get your dog on, take notice that it is extraordinarily vital to listen the motion right here. Hitting the correct type is important to ensure you’re getting the most out of the exercise—notably due to the refined particulars with the place and what you want to do to ensure you’re truly getting work in. Let’s break down every part you want to know.

How to do the bird dog exercise

Be Intentional

Eb says: It isn’t arduous to do a bird dog: Get on all fours, increase reverse arm and leg, decrease, blah blah. However the bird dog is at its greatest if you’re intentional and really targeted on each motion. Concentrate on maintaining your torso absolutely parallel to the floor, hips and shoulders at all times sq..

Doing so would require full core engagement for the lifetime of the bird dog. Should you’re having hassle studying that, step by means of every limb’s motion in the bird dog earlier than doing the full transfer (and even for those who’ve accomplished the bird dog earlier than, this could be a good refresher course in how to fireplace up your core correctly).


Eb says: You are not simply lifting your arm and leg off the floor and tightening your core. The bird dog can also be a novel efficient approach to generate each shoulder and hip mobility—for those who stretch your arm and leg out. Elevate your arm up, then attain out so far as potential (whereas nonetheless maintaining your hips and shoulders sq.). Elevate your again leg up and lengthen it behind you, once more reaching again so far as potential. Reaching your leg behind you particularly has profit, gently stretching your again extensors.

Look Down

Eb says: You might be tempted to look straight forward when doing a bird dog, however do not do that. As an alternative, look instantly at your mat, maintaining your head (and neck) in a pleasant impartial place. This may forestall your again from arching, maintaining any stress off your decrease again.

Need to grasp much more strikes? Take a look at our total Type Examine collection.

Foolish title, critical advantages in your core and decrease again

How to do the bird dog exercise

The possibilities are you aren’t going to spend the weekend looking sport, however for those who have been, you’d desire a bird-dog by your facet. This isn’t a terrifying hybrid of the two animals, full with snarling enamel and highly effective wings (though that might in all probability be good for looking), however a canny canine that’s bred to sniff out prey. We’re speaking pointers, retrievers, setters and spaniels – all animals that boast a superlative capability to discover pheasants and, until you go overboard with the treats, in all probability a rock-solid core. And regardless of how a lot time you spend doing the bird-dog exercise you’re unlikely to enhance your capability to sniff out a pheasant’s roost at 50 paces, however you’ll achieve the core power.

It’s not solely your core power that the bird-dog improves, as a result of your steadiness and adaptability are each examined by the transfer too. The instability you’ve to accommodate when elevating opposing limbs can also be useful in your core and after a couple of weeks of bird-dogging (we haven’t checked, however in all probability not a phrase to Google at work) you must also end up extra cell in the hips and shoulders. As a remaining bonus, the motion additionally enlists the muscle mass that assist your backbone, which makes the bird-dog an amazing addition to the health club routine for anybody who spends lengthy hours slumped over a desk.

How To Do The Bird-Dog

How to do the bird dog exercise

Begin on all fours, very similar to a daily dog, though you have to be in your knees slightly than your toes. Stretch your proper arm out in entrance of you, maintain for a second to get your steadiness, then lengthen your left leg behind you. That is the bit if you resemble a bird-dog, stating the prey for the hunter.

Preserve your neck in step with your backbone, your hips stage and the prolonged limbs straight. All this is likely to be difficult the first time: you won’t have the flexibility in your hips and shoulders to straighten your legs and arms fully, however higher mobility will are available in time.

Out of your bird-dog place deliver your prolonged limbs again to the beginning place, then lengthen out once more and repeat, aiming for 5 reps in complete earlier than you turn to the reverse limbs. Intention for 3 units.

Bird-Dog Variations

Bird-dog crunch

It is a barely extra superior variation of the exercise, which will increase the problem to your core and in addition exams your steadiness to a higher extent. The exercise begins as regular, as you lengthen opposing limbs in entrance and behind, however as a substitute of taking them again to the ground afterwards, you deliver them collectively so your elbow and knee contact below your chest. Ensure the remainder of your physique stays nonetheless as you do this. Should you’re discovering that unattainable, swap again to the commonplace bird-dog exercise to full your set.

Resistance band bird-dog

Should you really need to enhance the problem of the bird-dog, seize a resistance band. Loop it round your proper hand and left foot so it’s taut in the beginning place for the exercise. Then increase and level as regular, working towards the resistance band as you lengthen your limbs and try to preserve your physique secure. Do all of your reps on one facet, then swap the band over. Relying on the power of the resistance band you’ve out there this could make the bird-dog very tough certainly, so ensure you are sustaining good type all through and discard the resistance band for those who’re not.

Cable machine bird-dog

Should you don’t have entry to a cable machine, you may do this superior variation of the bird-dog with a resistance band connected to a publish behind you. Should you do, hook one foot right into a low deal with after which get onto your arms and knees with the machine behind you so there’s stress in the cable or band connected to your foot.

Carry out your bird-dogs on that facet, resisting the pull of the cable, which can attempt to yank your hips off form particularly. When you’ve accomplished your reps on that facet, connect the cable to the different foot and repeat. Resisting the pull of the cable makes your core work even tougher throughout the transfer, in addition to strengthening your hip flexors.

Learn the way to correctly and effectively execute the bird-dog exercise. Create core stability, repair low again ache, and forestall accidents.

When it comes to studying how to correctly management and interact your core, you may’t beat the fundamentals. The bird-dog is one among Dr. Stuart McGill’s Large Three workout routines. These workout routines are the key to constructing a powerful, secure, and resilient core. The Large Three encompass the Bird dog, the facet bridge, and the modified curl-up. The Bird dog shouldn’t be solely a secure exercise for rehabbing decrease again accidents however can also be an effective way to prepare for spinal stability. Though easy, the bird-dog can later be modified after perfection is achieved. Progressing to single leg romanian deadlifts is the aim after mastering the Bird dog.

How to carry out the Bird-Dog

  • Begin in the kneeling place along with your arms on the ground beneath your shoulders and your knees on the ground beneath your hips. Your arms and knees ought to be shoulder-width aside.
  • Breathe in along with your diaphragm (diaphragmatic respiratory). Stiffen and interact your core as if bracing for a punch. Keep a impartial backbone to keep away from arching or sagging of the decrease again.
  • Concurrently increase your proper leg and left arm till they attain parallel positioning to the ground. Ensure to keep away from any rotation of the shoulder, backbone, hips, or pelvis. The hips and shoulders ought to keep a parallel and even place to one another. Should you discover rotation in the pelvis or higher torso, or the lack of capability to keep a impartial backbone, decrease the leg and arm till correct positioning could be achieved.
  • Gently decrease your arm and leg to the beginning place and repeat with the reverse limbs.

Widespread errors made throughout the bird-dog exercise:

  1. Lack of intention:
    • Know your goal for performing this exercise. Understand it and personal it. You’re working towards full spinal stability. In case you are simply going by means of the motions as a result of your physician instructed you to do so, you’d be higher off not doing the exercise in any respect.
  2. Lack of core and glute engagement
    • The exercise is carried out particularly to educate correct core activation in hopes to construct a resilient backbone and shield the decrease again. Have interaction the core!
  3. Pelvic and torso rotation:
    • Once more, we’re specializing in constructing stability and there’s nothing secure about unintentional spinal rotation, particularly below load.
  4. Lack of understanding:
    • Not solely in the core activation, but additionally in the positioning of the neck. Just because this can be a core exercise, folks will usually neglect about the place of their cervical backbone. You possibly can concentrate on strengthening the deep neck flexors and stabilizers whereas performing this exercise by retracting the chin. You possibly can add to the activation of those muscle mass by urgent your tongue to the roof of your mouth simply behind your enamel.

To check for true management, stability and to forestall rotation; place a pvc pipe or one thing related throughout your again to forestall it from falling off. Should you really feel actually motivated you may place a cup of water in your pelvis and between your shoulders, don’t let it fall!

I will probably be posting extra movies and articles on the McGill Large Three shortly, till then, Dr. Aaron Horschig does nice work in his article to elaborate. You possibly can click on this hyperlink to view his article. McGill Large 3

When it comes to studying how to use your core, nothing beats going again to fundamentals with the bird dog. This straightforward exercise, often known as quadruped, is a staple in each bodily therapist’s and private coach’s instrument bag for educating core stability by participating the abdominals and again muscle mass concurrently. It is simpler to really feel your abs engaged on all fours than mendacity in your again because you’re working the muscle mass towards gravity on this place. This exercise additionally tends to be secure in case you are recovering from a again damage.

How to do the bird dog exercise

Bird Dog

  • Start on all fours along with your arms instantly below your shoulders and your knees instantly below your hips.
  • Pull your abs in to your backbone. Conserving your again and pelvis nonetheless and secure, attain your proper arm ahead and left leg again. Do not permit the pelvis to rock facet to facet as you progress your leg behind you. Concentrate on not letting the rib cage sag towards the ground. Attain by means of your left heel to interact the muscle mass in the again of the leg and your butt.
  • Return to the beginning place, inserting your hand and knee on the ground. Repeat on the different facet to full one rep.
  • Do 5 to 10 reps.

There are a lot of variations of this exercise, however this model teaches fundamental stability. For high quality management, you may check your stability by inserting a small paper cup in your pelvis (my bodily therapist put water in the cup to actually inspire me), and if the cup falls you recognize your pelvis is wobbling and also you want to concentrate on participating your decrease abs extra.

Preserve that core engaged.

Do your legs begin wobbling every time you’ve to do bird dog? (Truthfully, similar.) However when accomplished accurately, this transfer is completely value it. Bird dog, often known as quadruped, targets 4 key areas of your physique whereas participating not less than seven totally different muscle mass. Belief me, you undoubtedly need to add this transfer to your exercise routine. In order a NASM-certified private coach and head coach at Tone Home—I am right here to assist you grasp bird dog as soon as and for all.

How To Do Bird Dog

How to: Begin on all fours (i.e tabletop place) with wrists below shoulders and knees below hips. Ensure to interact your pelvic ground muscle mass, then increase your left arm in entrance of you and proper leg behind, participating your glutes to type a straight line from left hand to proper foot. Maintain for a second, then return to begin. Repeat with reverse arm and leg.

Bird dog targets the core, hips, again, and shoulders

Units/reps for outcomes: The beauty of bird dog is that there are sooo some ways to incorporate it into your exercise. However I like to recommend utilizing it as a warm-up or get up. Strive finishing 30 seconds of labor, relaxation, then repeat for 10 reps. Doing this transfer three or 4 occasions per week will get you outcomes and you will actually begin to reap its advantages.

Type ideas: Most individuals will probably be in a cat (rounded again) or cow (sinking hips) place whereas on all fours, as a substitute of impartial. Ensure your again is flat and your core, particularly your pelvic ground muscle mass, are engaged. Assume: plank type. Additionally, just remember to’re not elevating your arm or leg approach too excessive. They need to be in step with one another and your again.

Advantages Of Bird Dog

How to do the bird dog exercise

How to do the bird dog exercise

How to do the bird dog exercise

Primarily, this transfer targets the core (rectus abdominis), hips (glutes), again (erector spinae, traps), and shoulders (deltoids). Loopy, proper?! And that is not all. Bird dog additionally places tons of different muscle mass to work that permit you to stabilize whereas transferring on this place, together with the hamstrings, obliques, piriformis (a deep butt muscle that connects your sacrum to the high of your femur), pelvic ground muscle mass, serratus (muscle mass that wrap from the sides of your rib cage again round your shoulder blades), pecs, and triceps.

The most effective half about bird dog is that anybody can do it. So if you would like to exercise along with your toddler and grandma at the similar time, this low-impact transfer is good. At the similar time, quadruped could be made tougher by with a couple of easy modifications. You possibly can progress this motion by altering your floor to one thing much less secure like a bosu ball or elevate your self by attempting it on a bench. You possibly can even add resistance through the use of weights, bands, or cables.

Not to point out, bird dog is ideal for athletes and to assist alleviate decrease again ache by strengthening your core. It teaches your physique how to interact the abdominals and concurrently stabilize the low again whereas transferring your extremities (legs and arms). This permits for stability, management, and correct alignment of the again of your physique (a.ok.a. posterior chain) whereas transferring.

Need to attempt an entire core exercise? This is a sequence to attempt:

Make Bird Dog Half Of Your Routine

Listed below are some straightforward methods to incorporate this motion into your present routine:

  • Do them in the morning: The bird-dog is a good transfer to get up to. Performing about three units of 8–12 reps will actually get the physique stepping into the morning.
  • Do them as a warm-up: Searching for a leg day starter? Strive opening your exercise with bird dog. I like to recommend three units of 8–12 reps.
  • Do them as a superset: Say as an example you begin leg day with squats, after every set of squats you’d instantly carry out one set of 8–12 reps of bird canine after which begin your subsequent set of squats.

How to do the bird dog exercise

Bird Dog is a core physique exercise that strengthens the decrease again and abdominals whereas serving to your physique study to steadiness and discover stability. Should you find out how to do Bird Dog, you should have an exercise that helps educate and prepare your physique to be stronger in the heart, offering you with extra power total.

The primary tip in working towards Bird Dog is to ensure you are on a mat or softer floor in your knees. Don’t choose one thing too thick or you should have hassle getting sufficient steadiness to carry out the exercise. Nevertheless, be sure it’s a gentle sufficient floor that you simply do not worsen your knee caps since you may be on all fours. One other tip for this exercise you probably have delicate wrists is to shut your arms and place your knuckles on the ground as a substitute of open arms or maintain onto some secure dumbbells that can preserve your wrists in impartial place.

Bird Dog is all about stablilization. Stabilization is an often-overlooked time period in health. It’s not as glamorous as six-pack abs or as attractive as sculpted thighs, nevertheless it’s extraordinarily vital to the well being and power of your total physique. By drawing in your low ab muscle mass – the transversus abdominus – you study to preserve you mid-section secure and your again robust it doesn’t matter what the remainder of your physique is doing. In Bird Dog, this can be a key consider performing the transfer accurately. Strive to preserve your self nonetheless whereas holding out your arm and leg. Fake there’s a glass of water in your again that you simply don’t need to spill. It’s arduous! All the while you’re contributing to flatter abs and a stronger again. This transfer it effectively value your time.

You possibly can observe Bird Dog 2-Three occasions per week. Strive it in our exercise 10 Finest Workout routines for Your Unhealthy Again.

Use the hyperlinks beneath to shortly navigate this information:

  • How To Do Bird Dog
  • What Muscle groups Does Bird Dog Work?
  • Advantages of Bird Dog
  • How Many Energy Does Bird Dog Burn?
  • Different Workout routines Related To Bird Dog
  • Incorporating Bird Dog Into Your Exercises

How To Do Bird Dog

Listed below are the steps to performing Bird Dog:

1) Kneel on the mat on all fours. Attain one arm lengthy, attract the abdominals, and lengthen the reverse leg lengthy behind you.

2) Repeat on the different facet.

See the video beneath to see Chris Freytag break down how to correctly carry out Bird Dog.

What Muscle groups Does Bird Dog Work?

Bird dog is an superior core power transfer that works your belly muscle mass, decrease again and stabilizers. Bird dog is an isometric transfer. Isometrics have you ever maintain nonetheless whereas the muscle mass contract to preserve your regular.

Advantages of Bird Dog

There are a lot of causes it’s best to incorporate bird dog into your exercises. Listed below are just some:

Stronger Low Again

The bird dog is a transfer that focuses on stability, power and total well being of your core and low again. Strikes like the bird dog will assist you keep away from low again ache and damage by maintaining the muscle mass that encompass your backbone robust and succesful.

Sculpt Your Abs

There are such a lot of workout routines out there for getting tight abs. Bird dog is totally different than most as a result of it doesn’t depend on flexing your backbone or crunching actions. Bird dog depends on stability and power in an isometric approach. By holding your arm and leg out away from the center of your physique, your belly muscle mass are drawn in tighter and work arduous to preserve you secure.

Enhance Your Stability

A part of the problem one can find in working towards the bird dog is maintaining your steadiness. Extending one arm and the reverse leg poses a very good problem in your steadiness and stability. Stability comes by working towards. The fantastic thing about this transfer is you may actually really feel how your core muscle mass interact each time you begin to wobble. You possibly can observe this transfer little by little. Begin with simply extending your arm. Then put your hand again down and observe simply extending your leg. As soon as you may do every of those individually then put the two collectively.

How Many Energy Does a Bird Dog Burn?

Folks typically ask what number of energy they’re burning of their exercises. Most workout routines will usually burn about 100 energy for each 10 minutes you might be working at larger depth. Backside line – the tougher you’re employed, the extra energy you burn. The advantages of the bird dog far outweigh any calorie burn so keep targeted on the aim of this transfer slightly than the energy being burned.

Different Workout routines Related to Bird Dog

Should you like the bird dog and the outcomes you get from it, listed below are a couple of extra workout routines you may want to attempt.

Incorporating Bird Dog Into Your Exercises

Bird dog is an incredible core exercise all by itself! Nevertheless, you could possibly additionally incorporate bird dog into different exercises to combine them up. Listed below are some concepts to make that occur.

Use Bird Dog in a Core Energy Exercise

It solely takes Four or 5 good strikes to get an entire core exercise and canopy just about each muscle group in your center. Bird dog is included on this total core power problem.

Core Physique Blast

Bird Dog – 30 seconds all sides

Repeat if desired!

Use Bird Dog in Your Yoga Follow

Yoga is such a very good exercise not solely in your flexibility, but additionally in your total power and core coaching. Incorporating bird dog into your yoga observe provides steadiness and core power. Do this quick yoga collection at residence:

Yoga For Core Energy

Downward dog – Plank – Chaturanga – Upward Dog – (repeat collection 5 occasions)

Downward dog – Plank – Chaturanga – Upward Dog –Downward Dog

Downward dog – Plank – Chaturanga – Upward Dog –Downward Dog

Use Bird Dog in Your Full Physique Energy Exercise

Leg Day is nice. Higher physique day is incredible. However FULL BODY day is the greatest! Take one exercise and get all of it accomplished directly. This subsequent exercise will get all of it accomplished and consists of bird dog in addition to a bunch of different fundamental power strikes.

Full Physique Fundamental Transfer Energy Exercise: Heat up for about 2-Three minutes then:

Do between 10-15 of every of the following strikes:

Bird Dog – holding a couple of seconds, earlier than switching arm and leg. Change a complete of 10 occasions.

Repeat the sequence once more!

Listed below are Three extra exercises that incorporate bird dog.