The famous bird dog exercise, commonly prescribed in the world of rehab, is a great tool to strengthen the back and core. It is also used to improve motor control, stability and coordination. This exercise requires no equipment and can be done from home!
Due to the variability in anatomical differences, mobility restrictions, and muscle flexibility, this exercise may look different from person to person. For that reason, you may use this resource as a general guide and show your form to your favourite physiotherapist to receive feedback on your technique!
The birddog is great for individuals with non acute lumbar dysfunction, with decreased coordination and core instability. This exercise should be avoided or modified if you have acute lumbar, hip or shoulder injury as well as difficulty weight bearing on wrist or knees
How to do the exercise
- Starting position:
- Position yourself on all fours. Ensure that your back and neck are aligned in a straight line. Contract your abdominals, pelvic floor and glute muscles to ensure there is no torsion
- Level 1: While maintaining your back aligned, lift one hand off the ground by 1 inch
- Level 2: Lift one arm off the ground so it aligns with your back
- Level 3: While maintaining your back aligned, lift one knee 1 inch off the ground
- Level 4: Lift leg behind so it aligns with your back
- Advanced level
- Level 5: Lift opposite hand and leg, still aligning them with your back
Give it a try ! If ever you are unsure of the technique, please refer to your physiotherapist.