If you’ve ever seen a beetle desperately trying to right itself after ending up on its back, you’ll have some idea of the challenge of the dead bug exercise. Those insects with a strong core survive; those who’ve skipped one too many workouts are food for the crows.
No matter how much you struggle with the dead bug it’s unlikely a bird will swoop down and eat you, so there’s really no reason at all not to give it a try.
The dead bug is a great way to strengthen your abs and core without putting strain on your lower back, which can be a concern with sit ups and many other common ab exercises.
How To Do It
Lie flat on your back with your arms held out in front of you pointing to the ceiling. Then bring your legs up so your knees are bent at 90-degree angles. This is your starting position, and it’s vital to get your back as flat against the floor as possible. You shouldn’t be able to get a hand in between your back and the floor, and you need to maintain this position.
Slowly lower your right arm and left leg at the same time, exhaling as you go. Keep going until your arm and leg are just above the floor, being careful not to raise your back off the ground. Then slowly return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite limbs.
The dead bug might seem quite easy for the first couple of reps, but if you keep your core engaged, move slowly and avoid raising your back off the ground, you’ll be surprised how hard it is. Aim for three sets of five to 10 reps on each side, or just keep going until the shaking in your abs gets too much.
Dead Bug Variations
It’s very easy to vary the dead bug according to your level of fitness – you simply lower a different amount of limbs. Ranging from easiest to hardest: one arm, both arms, one leg, one arm and one leg (the classic dead bug), two legs, both your arms and legs. If you’re unable to complete any of the exercises without arching your back, it’s a good indication that you might need to take a step back.