I don’t consider myself a core exercise guy. I’m more of a pick things up, put them down guy. But even though core work isn’t sexy, neither is living life with our ribs and pelvis out of alignment.
This week, I’d like to share my new favorite exercise: the breathing dead bug. It’s part of my 2016 goal to share more actionable information. After all, there’s only so many deadlifts and positional breathing drills that any “normal” person can take.
My wife, Lindsay, is slowly nodding her head in agreement.
Anyway, I love this exercise for a variety of reasons and for a variety of people. And if it seems pretty easy, it's only because you haven't experienced it correctly.
As I've written before, most of us are in a degree of extension where we resemble a canister with an open lid. From lower back, knee, or shoulder pain, to having difficulty sleeping and relaxing, being in extension is something we want to be able to control.
And until now, I struggled to find the right version of a dead bug for many people. For example, some people can cheat their way through a dead bug without breathing but that's false advertising. Only when we get a full exhale, our ribs in a lower position, and resemble a closed canister, are we returning our core to an optimal position from which we can work.
OK, but why should you perform this exercise? Because many of us struggle with extending our leg on a dead bug without a popping sensation in our hip (myself included). We also may struggle with getting our arms overhead without compensating the position of our ribs, lower back, and hips. A couple sets of 5 breaths before you begin the meat of your workout will help bridge the gap to elimination of these issues.
It's also helpful to remember that not every exercise needs to be progressed every time you hit the gym. There's a ton of value in doing the basics, doing them flawlessly, and reminding your body how to move. Besides getting our body back to neutral, I'm living proof that it'll help you do other cool things....like press an upside down 40kg kettlebell (88 pounds) overhead.