DEADBUGS: THEY ARE THE SHIT!

It has been a pretty busy week and a great weekend! Our athletes competed in the London indoor games and ran some great times, loads of PB’s and best of all no injuries. We also had our young tennis player Katherine Barnes (13yo) go 3rd in the Nation for her age group by getting to a national standard final of a u16 tournament after knocking the number 1 seed out. So Happy days and a happy Coach.

In this article I am going to be discussing a favourite of mine… the deadbug.

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Okay. Yeah I just put a picture of a deadbug. No I don’t literally mean a deadbug but… I just couldn’t help myself.

Unfortunately this exercise has got a bad rap for being a “woosy” exercise by all the bros, athletes and trainees. I personally believe that is a pretty unfair view and the exercise is highly under rated, under valued and under utilised in the strength and conditioning profession.

The dead bug is an exercise that, when performed correctly, strengthens the trunk (core) in a way that can be coined “functional” .

I have to thank Tony Gentilcore for this one. I hadn’t really heard of this exercise until I read his blog. He is one cool cat. Ever since learning abut this exercise I have been using it with clients and athletes to great affect.

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If you want to be bullet proof… Dead bug , just don’t drink coffee with butter (hope some one gets that joke).

So In a day and age where athletes are more often than not stuck in excessive anterior pelvic tilt, the dead-bug is an exercise that can be used as part of a solution to this problem by putting the athlete in more of a posterior pelvic tilt.

However it isn’t the only benefit that it provides our athletes and clients with. It gives you real bang for your buck.

Benefits of performing deadbugs:

  • Puts the athlete in more of a posterior pelvic tilt
  • Allows the athlete to feel what neutral feels like by using the ground as feed back.
  • Gets the athlete thinking about rib position while bracing the trunk and breathing.
  • Allows for the athlete contract and use the usually dormant deep intra abdominal muscles (the wee wee muscles).
  • Gets the athlete to think about their breathing patterns and how it affects the spine/trunk.
  • Does all the above while moving the extremities of the upper and lower body in a coordinated way.

When athletes and clients see the exercise being performed, don’t be surprised if they scoff at it at first, because it looks so simple and easy. Oh but how quickly that view changes after they give this exercise a go and do it properly.

I have also found this exercise to be particularly useful in treating those that have major lumbar lordosis and lower back pain. They just cant believe how much better their back feels after a few weeks of performing this exercise alongside some other trunk exercises, which you can read about it hear.

So if you have lumbar lordosis or lower back pain… try this exercise!

How to deadbug:

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Key Points:

  • Don’t rush the exercise-Slow down
  • Keep back flat against the ground
  • Inhale through the nose slowly on up-Fill the balloon
  • Exhale forcefully through mouth on the down until all air is out-Resist extension

If your athletes start shaking as they get towards the end of each set, don’t worry, it is fine as long as they spine remains in proper alignment. It just means the muscle in the surrounding areas are now doing a more efficient job.

When should I deadbug?

I would recommend 2-3 sets of 4-5 reps building up 8 reps per side. I have used them as part of the warm up, as a accessory exercise and as part of a trunk circuit. So use it as you like.

Okay so the deadbug isn’t a fancy shmancy move that is going to get you sweating while rolling around screaming about how much pain you are in because you just bust out a 1000 reps. However it is a highly effective trunk exercise that when performed correctly can be hugely beneficial for your client or athlete.

I hope you enjoyed the article. Until next time, stay safe. #deadbuglife

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