How to Do The Dead Bug Exercise

How to Do The Dead Bug Exercise

Dead Bug exercise is a sure way to strengthen your abs and is deceptively simple. While the name may sound nasty, Dead Bug exercise takes less than a minute to complete, you can do it at home, and requires no crazy equipment.

Many studies show that six-pack abs are made in the kitchen. What these studies mean is that what we put in our mouth counts toward how we look and feel. But you can definitely tighten, define your abs, and better your posture with core exercise.

Kill it at Dead Bug exercise with these simple steps.


What Is the Dead Bug Exercise?

So what exactly is the Dead Bug? “The Dead Bug exercise is one of the most effective ways to train the core,” says Tibbs.

While the Dead Bug may look easy, this simple move can truly challenge your core and build key abdominal muscle strength. It is also an excellent exercise to train you to properly extend through your spine and keep your pelvis neutralized. Train your body against an anterior pelvic tilt.

“[The Dead Bug] will fire up your abdominal muscles because you have to really stabilize through your core which is difficult for most people,” Tibbs explains.


How To Do the Dead Bug Exercise

man performing dead bug exercise

Doing the Dead Bug correctly requires slow, deliberate movements.

Follow Allison Tibbs‘, a NASM-certified personal trainer, healthy lifestyle coach, and creator of The Clean Eating Guide, step-by-step directions to do the Dead Bug.

  1. Lie on your back and seal the space between your back and the floor by pushing your back down. Bend your knees to 90 degrees and lift your feet from the floor. Reach your arms straight to the ceiling.
  2. Lower your right arm behind your head and, at the same time, extend your left leg long in front of you. Hover both your arm and your leg off the mat.
  3. Return back to the starting position. Aim to complete ten reps before switching to the left arm and right leg.

If you choose to modify the Dead Bug, do the above steps with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your arms halfway overhead. Draw one knee and the opposite arm toward one another at the same time.

Note: While performing this move, continue to press your rib cage toward the floor to focus on keeping your core engaged.


Muscles the Dead Bug Exercise Works

The Dead Bug may not look like a hardcore workout, but when you pay attention to each movement and engage the proper muscles, you bet you will build up a sweat.

Train your anterior core with Dead Bugs. Do the Dead Bug exercise right and your obliques (the ab muscles that help you twist), rectus abdominals (six-pack abs), and transverse abdominals (deep abs that help compress your other abs) should be firing!

“The Dead Bug exercise is one of my all-time favorite core exercises because it truly focuses on working those small abdominal muscles,” says Tibbs. “Think of it as combining a crunch with a plank.”


Dead Bug Benefits

Even if you are beginner, you can perform the dead bug because it is a low-impact core exercise and managed by all fitness levels.

“This is one of the best ab exercises for anyone with back pain or people who struggle with shoulder discomfort when doing planks or neck discomfort during crunches,” Tibbs explains.

According to Tibbs, Dead Bugs are a great move to help prepare the body for dynamic movements, which can include traditional compound lifts like weighted squats or deadlifts, but also movements like running, cycling, and skiing.


Dead Bug Variations

Amp up your Dead Bug exercise with these fun options.

  1. Alternate Switching Sides: As you progress with Dead Bugs, you can up the ante by alternating sides. Switch your arms and your legs as you curl forward. Tibbs mentions that, “as you progress, you can alternate sides [instead of multiple reps on the same side] to fire up your obliques even more.”
  2. Straight Legs: You can also perform this exercise with straight legs for a greater core challenge. Have the movement come from your hips rather than lifting your ribcage off the floor to keep your abs engaged.
  3. Wall Press: Build up core tension and utilize the wall for your Dead Bug exercise. Lie down and press your palms overhead into the wall until your palms are flat against the wall (your arms should make a 90 degree angle). Straighten your legs out in front of you. Press your ribs down and alternate your legs in the traditional Dead Bug style.
  4. Add Resistance: Ready to go beast mode? Option to add resistance bands (use resistance band above your knees) or a stability ball pass for more core resistance.

Dead Bug exercise will help you build strength and body awareness. Now, give them a go!