The bird dog plank is a bodyweight workout that will strengthen your core, glutes and erector spinae- the muscles next to your spine.
If you are looking to improve your posture and build up your lower back strength, consider giving this exercise a chance.
HOW TO DO BIRD DOG PLANK PROPERLY
For this exercise, you will need an exercise mat and a small workout space. Consider having a folded towel under your legs for extra cushioning and use a mirror to check your alignment.
- Begin in a full plank position, with your hands under your shoulders and your legs spaced at shoulder width.
- Maintain a neutral spine by engaging your abdominal muscles.
- Draw your shoulder blades together and raise your right arm and left leg.
- Remember to keep your shoulders and hips parallel to the floor.
- Lengthen the back of your neck and tuck your chin into your chest to gaze down at the floor.
- Hold this position for a few seconds then lower back to the starting position.
- Raise your left arm and right leg and hold in this position for a few seconds before going back to the starting position. This is one rep.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
PROPER BIRD DOG PLANK TECHNIQUE AND ALIGNMENT
In order to reap the maximum benefits of this exercise, you need to make sure you are using the right technique and are in the proper alignment.
The following tips will guide you, especially if you are new to the bird dog plank exercise.
Keep your hips levelled and do not rotate your hips.
Don’t lift your leg too high or allow your spine to curve past its natural position. To know if you are doing it right, you will feel a line of energy from your fingertips all along your body and out through your toes.
As mentioned earlier, aim to keep your spine neutral and engage your core to prevent your back from sagging. Don’t allow your chest to ink down towards the floor either.
Draw your shoulder blades back, down and away from your ears and maintain the back of your neck in line with your spine.
Maintain smooth and even breathing and move slowly with controlled motions.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES BIRD DOG PLANK WORK?
Below are the muscles worked by this exercise
TARGET MULTIPLE MUSCLES
Erector spinae, internal and external obliques and rectus abdominis.
Gluteus maximus, hamstrings, anterior deltoid, lateral deltoid, middle and lower trapezius.
Internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, iliopsoas, sartorius, tensor fasciae latae, quadriceps, pectoralis major, triceps brachii and serratus anterior.
This exercise will mainly work your erector spinae, internal and external obliques and rectus abdominis. By including all the other muscles, it allows for correct movement, control and stability of the whole body.
BENEFITS OF THE BIRD DOG PLANK
The bird dog plank is a simple exercise that comes with a lot of benefits. By doing it correctly, that is, using the right form and technique, you will squeeze the most value out of it without risking injuries.
IT IS GOOD FOR YOUR WHOLE BODY
Experts have certified this move to be a great rehabilitation exercise to balance your entire body. This is because it is not as tiring for the individual muscles but works a bunch of them.
IT PROTECTS YOUR LOWER BACK
If you are looking to protect your lower back by strengthening it or are recovering from a previous injury, the bird dog plank is a great exercise to safely get stronger once again. However, always make sure that you are using the proper form so you don’t end up causing more damage.
IT SUPPORTS GOOD POSTURE
Have you been engaging in exercises that see you bending most of the time? Do not worry about your now hunching back. This is because the bird dog plank exercise can help with that.
By targeting your erector spinae, it will help promote good posture.
BUILDING LOWER BACK STRENGTH
The bird dog plank exercise will not only protect your lower back but also help in strengthening it. It is a move you can do even after experiencing a back injury. This is because it will work on important muscles for building stability, like your abs and the muscles that support your spine.
BIRD DOG PLANK ALTERNATIVE EXERCISES
The following are alternative exercises that can target the same muscles as the bird dog plank. Feel free to do them in addition to or in place of the bird dog plank.
ROCKING BACKWARD LOW BACK STRETCH
Do this alternative exercise if you want to alleviate tightness and pain in the low back and your hips. Additionally, it will help to loosen your body even more before more difficult stretches.
This exercise will help to strengthen and mobilise your low back. Remember to keep your feet in line with your hips and your toes facing forward. After doing dynamic spinal rolls, place a book under your lower back and hold in this position for 3- 5 minutes for effectiveness.
This exercise will support your low back, glutes and abdominals. Feel free to place a cushion under your head or shoulder for extra support if you are having difficulties. Remember to keep your body relaxed and make use of this exercise to massage your back.
Donkey kicks exercise will help with your balance, stability and strengthen your glutes, abs and hips. Be keen to distribute your weight evenly and avoid lifting your leg higher than your hips.
COMMON BIRD DOG PLANK MISTAKES TO AVOID
LACK OF INTENTION
Know your purpose for doing this exercise. You are doing it for full spinal stability. If you are doing it simply because the doctor told you so, then you are better off not doing it at all.
LACK OF CORE AND GLUTE ENGAGEMENT
Engage your core fully! This exercise is performed specifically to teach proper core activation, Failure to engage your core will render it ineffective.
PELVIC AND TORSO ROTATION
Avoid unnecessary movements in your pelvic and torso as this might damage your spinal muscles instead.
The bird dog is an effective exercise that is suitable for most people. However, consider speaking to your doctor before starting it if you have any medical concerns or take any medications.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]