Cafe au feet?

There are some exercises I could say the same of to the same person for 6 weeks, and they wouldn’t remember what I’m talking about.

The deadbug however, is not one of those exercises. Although, I feel like it’s kind of a misnomer.

A client of mine decidedly re-named it the “dying bird” which I actually think is a much better name. A dead bug wouldn’t be doing much of anything except… be dead. The dying bird, however, is a play off of the bird-dog exercise. It’s essentially the same movement except you’re on your back instead of on all fours.

So now that you know that completely useless piece of information, let’s get to the meat and potatoes.

This topic came to light because one of my clients consistently “throws her back out” every couple months. This translates to a muscle spasm that causes soreness for a few days but no permanent damage or spinal issues. Frustrated, she sought out a PT who diagnosed her with a hyperflexible low back.

“Flexibility is good though!” you might say. Well maybe not…

There’s a fine balance between the perfect amount of mobility and stability, and your low back should be Stable Sally.

Any of your standard strength training regimes that include deadlifting, squatting (specifically front squats), and upper body pushes and pulls, will all stabilize the spine when done correctly. Secondly, direct anterior core work is a must. These two things I know. But, one question came to mind…

Seeking some answers myself, I sought out someone a lot smarter and a lot more experienced than me, Tony Gentilcore, asking… “is it ever appropriate to train the low back exclusively?”

His answer? Well, probably not (yet).

It’s more important to attain and maintain a neutral spine.

Tony also noted that this is important not just in the gym, but all day every day. If you’re hypermobile, you have to be cognizant of keeping things stable at all times. You can’t just jump all nimbly-bimbly from tree to tree.

Name That Movie!

Anyway, getting back to my spiel about the deadbug…

It’s an exercise that’s up there with planks and bird dogs as far as core stabilization goes. Arguably even better for 2 reasons:

1. Since you’re on your back instead of all 4’s, you have no chance to ‘hang’ on your lumbar spine. The floor gives you a built-in external feedback mechanism that forces you to do it correctly. One of the cues is to eliminate the space between the floor and your low back by pushing down and squeezing your abs.

2. It allows you to stabilize your lumbar while mobilizing your hips. It is very important to be able to disassociate the two. (Thank you Tony)

Plus, you can feel it in your abz almost immediately and people seem to enjoy that. No 6-pack guaranteed though.. sorry.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you don’t have core stability, you need to get it… if you already have it you need to keep it! And if you have a hypermobile low back, it’s absolutely vital to practice this daily. The deadbug exercise is not “too easy” for anybody. So make it part of your warm up, ok bro? There are also many variations but that’s a post for another day.

Now go get some anterior core!

-L