Core Exercise: Bird Dog

Body health is boosted by stability, core strength, and mobility awareness. Bird dogs are an easy exercise that can be integrated into any workout to assist with strength, stability, and pain relief. Bird dogs assist with low back pain, posture, and body control.

At Elite Chiropractic & Sport, we recommend bird dogs to our patients as an easy exercise that can be done daily or a few times a week to assist with mobility and back pain. Our easy walkthrough demonstrates how to do bird dogs, how many reps of bird dogs to do, and how bird dogs can improve your overall health and wellness. 

What are Bird Dogs

Bird dogs are a type of exercise that helps strengthen your core, hips, and back muscles. They’re based on the tabletop position and use a combination of stability, strength, and movement control to improve body health. 

Beginners will find the instructions for how to do bird dogs clear and easy to follow. Experienced athletes can use bird dogs to supplement their training to improve overall body control. 

How To Do Bird Dog Exercise

To do a bird dog, start out in the tabletop position: on hands and knees with a flat, neutral back with the core lightly engaged. Your hips will be in line with your knees and your shoulders will be over your wrists.

From this position, you will raise your left leg straight out behind you. Do not arch your leg very high, lift it level off of the ground, do not go past your hip. You will then raise and extend your right arm out in front of you. Gently, you will lower both back in place. Repeat with your opposite leg and arm. 

You will always lift an opposite leg and arm, never both right or both left. Think extension, a light core, and balance as you move through these reps. 

Benefits of Bird Dog Workout

Our chiropractors and physical therapists recommend bird dog exercises because they offer many benefits for a simple, easy to do exercise. They are great for mobility and balance, as you focus on moving multiple limbs at once. They help improve back pain by keeping a neutral back during the exercise. 

Bird dogs improve core strength, as your trunk is activated through each movement to keep your body stable. Bird dogs are also easy to do in any sized space: your home, living room, office during your lunch break, or at the gym.

We recommend bird dogs for:

  • Body Control
  • Stability
  • Mobility
  • Low Back Pain
  • Posture
  • Back muscles
  • Hip strength 

How Often Should I Do Bird Dogs

If you are new to your workout routine, begin with two to four sets a week to begin. Bird dogs are very forgiving as far as sore muscles go and can be ramped up to a daily exercise as you become more familiar with the motions and workout.

Recommended beginner sets are two to three sets with six to ten reps each set. Inbetween sets, focus on realigning your positioning, assessing any soreness in the body, and your breath. Take the motions slow to begin to get the movements correct. This will help long-term with posture, mobility, and strength as you progress. 

Are Bird Dogs Yoga

Bird dogs are often used in yoga as a stability pose but bird dogs are also used in warm-ups and workouts in cardio settings. Bird dogs offer many benefits done either as a cardio repetition or as a stable yoga pose.

You can use bird dogs in your yoga practice, cardio workout, or exercise warm-up. These do not greatly increase your heart rate and therefore can also be done as part of your cool-down routine if you focus on stability, holding control, and breathing through the position. 

Tips for Bird Dog Repetitions

When moving through the bird dog pose and repetitions, be sure your core stays engaged to help you keep a level spine. Do not slouch or curve your back during the workout. Keep your head and neck in line with your spine during your movements – avoiding craning to look at your positioning or looking down at the ground. 

Keep your torso straight and do not curve it or arch to the side. If raising your arm or leg pulls your back out of a neutral position, reduce the height you are raising each limb to get the proper workout and alignment.