Bird Dog

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by Judy Oberdorfer, Certified Personal Trainer

 

This exercise is not only beneficial for core strength, but also balance.  The exercise begins on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips.  Because balance can be a challenge with this exercise, start by sliding one leg back and lifting it off the floor.  After you have found your balance, lift the opposite arm.  As your balance becomes more stable, reach the arm and leg at the same time.  Hold the position for 5 seconds, then return to the starting position.

Be aware that your leg, when lifted, is in a parallel position to the floor, with your shoelaces and your knee facing the floor.  There is a tendency to lift the hip to achieve more range of motion, but keeping the leg a little lower and parallel to the floor will help strengthen the low back, abs and hips (as opposed to rotation in the torso).  Engage your core by squeezing your glutes and pulling your belly button up towards your spine.  Ideally, you should have your arm in line with your ear, but be aware that this can take awhile, so be patient! Be careful not to drop your forehead towards the floor as this can put too much strain on the neck.  Try to keep your head in line with your neck and spine.

 

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