Although it might have a funny name, the dead bug exercise is actually an extremely useful way to strength your abs without putting any stress or strain on your lower back.
Essentially, the exercise is extremely similar to when you see an ant or beetle that’s been rolled over and can’t get back upright. Whilst they flail their limbs in the air in panic, this replicated exercise is much more controlled and has the aim of trying to strengthen your core opposed to getting you back up to standing.
How Do I Do It?
Start by lying flat on your back on top of a mat in a comfortable position. Next, hold your arms out in front of you so that they’re aiming at the sky in a 90-9egree angle to your torso. Finally, bring your legs up with your knees bent to put you in the starting position.
In order to prevent yourself from putting stress on your back, make sure that it’s as flat as possible. Imagine if someone was trying to slide their hand or arm underneath you and you’re trying to prevent that. Keep this rigidity in your spine throughout the entire exercise.
The first movement starts by lowering one of your arms and the opposing leg at the same time. So, if you lower your right arm, then your left leg would lower, too, and vice-versa. Your limbs should lower until they’re hovering just above the ground before raising them back up into the starting position. Repeat on the other side for one rep.
At first, you might be thinking that it’s pretty easy, but the dead bug isn’t supposed to be strenuous from the get go. What it does is train your endurance and volume capabilities which means that it’s supposed to become hard after a high number of repetitions. The benefit of this is that it trains you how to use your core properly and efficiently whilst maintaining proper form throughout the exercise. As soon as you feel your form start to slip, then that’s when you should stop.
If you find the original exercise to be too easy, then you can slowly progress to lowering more limbs at a time. Start with the standard two opposing limbs and then slowly progress to one arm and two legs and then both arms and both legs. If your back begins to arch, then you’re not engaging your abs enough and should drop back down to the easier variation