At-Home Core Exercise Progressions

By Dr. Krystyna Bellisario, DC

Posted in News & Updates

Last month, Dr. Krystyna (one of DHP's chiropractors!) provided us with a few great core exercises, including plank variations. This month, she is bringing us more core strengthening exercises, showing a progression through dead bugs.

Dead bugs are a core stability exercise involving upper and lower limb coordination. Don't give up if you cannot coordinate the movements on the first try, it can be tricky!

The key with doing a dead bug is engaging your core throughout the movement. Before even lifting your legs to hover, begin to brace your core. You can do this by pulling your ribcage down towards your belly button, and bracing as if someone were to punch you in the stomach. 

Core stability exercises are a great complement to any exercise program, as strong core control will translate to many activities. So, check out these 5 core exercise progressions to include in your next exercise session! 

Single-Leg Marches

- Lying face up on a yoga mat.

- Hands placed at side, palms can be lightly pushing into the ground for support.

- Engage core muscles: Rather than pulling in your bellybutton really tight, aim to create tension all around your core, think front and sides. 

- March one knee up to right above your hip, extend your leg straight out so it hovers over the ground, pull back in, and lower down slowly with control.

- Repeat on the other side. Alternate for 5-10 reps each side. 2-3 sets.

Tip: You should be able to breathe through the movement. Inhale as you extend your leg, and exhale as you bring it back in.

Leg-Only Dead Bug

- Arms straight up above you and remain still

- Extend one leg out at a time, alternating sides

- Leg should just hover above the ground

Tip: Progress to a full dead bug once you successfully avoid arching your lower back as you extend your leg out!

Arm-Only Dead Bug

- Knees stay bent hovering over hips (avoid letting your knees drift in towards your chest to maintain tension)

- Reach one arm at a time behind you, slow and controlled, while keeping core braced.

Tip: Progress to a full dead bug if you do not feel your ribs flaring out as you extend your arm behind you!

Dead Bug

- Just like the above movements, but now opposite arm and leg extend out at the same time, then switch

- Try to avoid swaying your body, for instance, avoid rocking hips side-to-side as you switch limbs

Aim for 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions each side. However, break it down into smaller amounts if you feel your your back extending or hip flexors kicking in as you become fatigued.

Weighted Dead Bug

- Holding a dumbbell in both hands straight above head

- Medium weight appropriate for you

- Same exercise as above, but arms keep still

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