The bird dog is an incredible hip extension exercise that promotes balance and added strength throughout the core muscles and lower back area. Bird dog is also a lot easier on the back than doing crunches.
Bird Dog is a fairly easy exercise that is a favorite for many personal trainer's because it effectively works all of your core and back muscles at the same time.
If you haven't done this exercise before it may seem a little klutzy at first, but give it a chance -- it could end up being one of your favorites.
Bird Dog Exercise
Start by kneeling on the floor with your hands and knees directly underneath you. Slowly extend your right legs backward until it is in a straight line with your body. With your abs engaged extend your left arm out in front of you in a straight line.
Hold this pose for a count before returning to your starting position. Repeat the exercise with your other arm and leg.
Try and do 10-20 reps with each side.
Kim Demonstrating the Bird Dog Hip Extension
You can create a greater challenge for your core muscles by extending the period of time you hold your arm and leg extended. Try working up to a 5-10 count for each side, and make sure to hold your body steady to really benefit from the exercise.
This could take some time. Most of us don't exercise by taking away one arm and leg, so holding the position can be very difficult at first.
Hip Extension Exercise Benefits
Back Pain Relief - Strong core and back muscles can help soothe most types of back pain, and yet many of us never exercise them. When the core and back muscles are weak, additional stress is put on the spine as it's workload is increased supporting the body. This will typically result in back pain or injury. Core exercises like the bird dog should be a part of an exercise plan.
Calorie Burning - Since your butt and legs make up your largest muscle groups, exercising them takes a lot of energy. So an exercise that focuses on them will burn extra calories that can help you if you have weight loss goals.
Flexibility - Long-term this could be the most significant benefit. As we get older and more inactive the muscles in our hips and back of our legs tighten up and actually become shorter. Taking the time to do physical routines like the hip extension exercise can help you to keep your mobility.
Body Tone - Your lower body is one of the easier parts of your body to tone. The large muscles in your hips, glutes, and legs react well to exercise and they don't take long to provide noticeable slimming changes.
Any improvement in flexibility will make your joints and muscles more elastic, and elastic muscles are more resilient. It may take some time, but don't give up. Each time you practice a hip extension exercise like the bird dog, you are training your body to become more flexible, and eventually you will begin to see and feel better results.
I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or ideas you would like to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum