What it does:
The Bird Dog is a great exercise to increase core strength and muscular endurance. It activates the entire core and especially the Quadratus Lumborum, the Transverse Abdominus and the Multifidus, which are crucial for low back stability.
Why We Love It:
The Bird Dog activates the spinal stabilizers without putting excessive load on the spine. (1) It is a relativity safe exercise to improve or prevent low back pain.
How you do it:
Begin on your hands and knees with your head and back in a straight position. Hands should be under your shoulders, hips directly above knees.
Activate core muscles. Raise one arm to shoulder level as opposite leg simultaneously lifts off floor, extending to hip height. Pause momentarily. Return to start position and alternate sides. Maintain a straight spine position, not allowing your hips to twist or rotate. Do not hyper-extend low back when extending leg. Repeat for prescribed repetitions and sets.
(1) McGill, S., et al. 1999. Endurance Times for Low Back Stabilization Exercises: Clinical Targets for Testing and Training From a Normal Database. Arch Phys Med Rehabilitation Vol 80.