In this article I am going to be discussing a favorite exercise of mine, namely the deadbugUnfortunately the exercise has got a bad rap for being a “woosy” exercise by a lot of people. We personally believe that this is a pretty unfair point of view and that the exercise is highly under rated, under valued and under utilized. It is an exercise that when performed correctly, strengthens the trunk (core) in a way that can be coined “functional” .

I should give credit where its due and thank Tony Gentilcore for this one. I hadn’t heard of this exercise until I read his blog. I have been using it with clients and athletes to great affect, ever since. In a day and age where people are more often than not stuck in excessive anterior pelvic tilt and thoracic spine flexion, mostly due to the technological age that we live in, the dead-bug is an exercise that can be used to solve the problem. It provides multiple benefits for our athletes and clients and really is a ‘bang for your buck’ exercise.

Benefits of performing deadbug’s:

  • 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.

Often when people see the exercise being performed, don’t be surprised if they scoff at it, because it looks so simple and easy to execute. However, that view changes very shortly after they give this exercise a try.

I have also found this exercise to be particularly useful in treating those that exhibit major extension through lower back (lumbar lordosis) and lower back pain. Often people 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.

How to deadbug:


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, it is fine, as long as they spine remains in a proper neutral alignment. It just means that the muscles in the surrounding areas are now doing a more efficient job and actually being recruited.

How we use the 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 or as part of a trunk circuit.

Okay so the deadbug isn’t a fancy move that is going to get you sweating, while rolling around screaming about how much pain you are in. However, it is a highly effective trunk exercise that when performed correctly can be hugely beneficial for us and our athletes.

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

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