The first time I saw the deadbug performed live by noted performance coach Eric Cressey, it blew my little strength and conditioning mind. How can such a seemly simple exercise in which you lie on your back and move your arms and legs have such an impact? The magic lies in this necessity called core stability.
Your core has many essential roles, but the most vital is resisting unwanted movement. The lower back doesn’t like to flex and extend much because it’s not designed for it like the thoracic (upper back) spine. Before some get their nickers in a knot, the lower back will not explode when moved; it just prefers not to.
Excellent core stability allows the smooth transfer of power from the lower to the upper body, better technique with the big three and Olympic lifts, and better movement on the sporting field. Such a seemly simple exercise with a silly name that will garner some strange looks but will do this and more.
Here we’ll get into the benefits of the deadbug, what good form looks like, and four common deadbug mistakes that may kill your progress.
When you do it right, here is what the deadbug can do for you.
- Reinforces contralateral limb movement: This is the basis of most human movement; moving your opposite arm and leg in a coordinated fashion is vital.
- Improves lumbopelvic stability: Fancy way of saying the deadbug strengthens the lower back and hip region. You know, core stability.
- Reinforces better breathing patterns: Breathing down into your diaphragm (belly) is how you are meant to breathe most of the time.
- Better posture: Because your spine is on the floor, you better understand what a neutral spine feels like.
Good Deadbug Form
There is always a little wiggle room for proper form because you are all put together differently, but these following points are deadbug non-negotiables.
- Knees must be above your hips, hands above your shoulders, and your head on the ground.
- Your spine is on the floor in neutral at all times.
- Take a deep breath before you start the rep.
- Moving your opposite arm and opposite leg.
- Breathing out at the end of the rep.
Have you got it? Good, let’s get into some common deadbug mistakes that stop people from getting the best out of this excellent exercise.
4 Deadbug Mistakes
This could be short by saying don’t do the opposite of what was said, but here we’ll go into fixes if you or your lifting friends are making these deadbug mistakes.