The dead bug is a functional core movement that is used to help create spinal stability and take stress off the spine by allowing gravity to take pressure off the back. The change in orientation from long days of sitting causes compression in the spine. This is a great movement to decompress the spine and relax while also igniting the core.

Beginner Considerations

For those with back pain, it is a great idea to consult your physical therapist, chiropractor or medical doctor to determine whether this movement is right for you. With some small adjustments, this workout move can be made to suit your particular needs.

Best Practices

Make sure that your lower back is flat on the ground. Tilt your pelvis to ensure that your lower back touches the ground. In other words, imagine that if someone put a piece of paper underneath your lower back, they wouldn’t be able to pull it out.

Master This: Dead Bug

  • Lie on your back with your hands extended above you, arms straight and your wrist, elbow and shoulder stacked in one line.
  • Your knees will be at 90 degrees to your hips, and your shins will be presenting parallel to the ground. Make sure your feet are flexed at 90 degrees to your shins or perpendicular to the ground.
  • With your back flat on the ground, press your body into the ground. Extend your right arm straight back behind your head while simultaneously extending your left leg out to hover over the ground.
  • Return your arm and leg to start, then repeat with the opposite limbs, extending your left arm and right leg.

Make it easier: Lower your leg to tap your toes to the ground instead of extending.

Make it harder: Try to do this on a BOSU ball with the dome pointing up.

Photo credit: Tom Casey,
Model: Jiji Pollock, 24 Hour Fitness