Bird-Dog Exercise for Back Pain and Core Stability with Clarice Cummins, PT (Beginner Version)


We’re going to go into the bird dog. Hands underneath the shoulders, knees right
underneath your hips, fist distance between your knees. Really important so you can activate your
core. This is a little different when you do this
exercise. I don’t want you to stretch your arms and
legs out. When you do that, you’re not able to stabilize
the muscles in the spine. So before we start this, we’re going to activate
the core. I want you to pretend that there’s a rope. Remember this core activation pulling at the
top of your head, stretching your spine and activating, tightening up all these muscles. You can also pretend there’s a rope at the
bottom of the spine, so the spine is being pulled and all those muscles around it. I’m going poke Ron a little bit and makes
sure that all his muscles are going nice and snug. Before he starts the exercise makes sure he’s
stable. Once you’re stable, let’s go ahead and have
you slide your right hand forward, thumb up. Don’t stretch it forward. Just bring it forward as if you’re going to
shake someone’s hand. Now take that the side of the right hand and
push it down into the mat or the bed. Wherever you’re doing the exercise, push it
down. Wait until you feel all the muscles in the
arm. Tighten up into the lats, the underneath the
armpit, down into the shoulder blade. Hold that tightness in the shoulder blade,
and then raise your arm up just an inch or two. Keep the tightness in the armpit in the shoulder
blade. If you lose it, don’t worry about it. Just pull the arm back into the socket. Then pull both shoulder blades down your back. Turn your head side to side and make sure
you’re not tightening up in the sides of the neck and your upper traps. Okay, bring the arm back down. Now let’s walk your hands and make sure that
most of the weight is on the back of the legs and then also push your tush back slightly. Push your glutes back. This allows for that natural curve in your
lower back, your neutral spine. Reactivate the core. Pretend that rope is pulling in both directions. Snugging up and slide the left hand forward. Thumb up. Press the arm into the mat. Tense up into the armpit, down into the shoulder
blade. Hold that tightness. Lift the arm up. If you’re really holding, you really can’t
lift the arm up more than an inch or two. If you get any pain in your shoulder joint,
please bring your arm out to the side slightly. That opens up any impingement in the shoulder
joint. Bring both shoulder blades down your back. Check your neck and bring the arm back down
to the mat. As you get stronger, you can hold it for longer. Let’s now work on your legs again. Walk your hands, reset your core retention. The string is pulling, tightening everything
up. And now let’s go ahead and slide your right
leg back, the straight back. Don’t stretch it too far back. Point your foot and try to press the top of
your foot into the floor. Tighten up the leg so it sticks straight as
straight as you can get it. And then when you feel it, tighten up in your
glutes, hold that tightness and lift the leg, just an inch or two. I don’t want you to rotating your spine, and
I also don’t want you to come over onto the left side. Try to keep it in the middle. Ron’s coming a little bit over, so I’m just
gonna bring him back over to the middle and take him out of rotation. So sometimes it’s good to do these in front
of a mirror. Pull your shoulder blades down your back to
pull yourself into the core. Check your neck and bring the leg back down. Make sure there’s a fist distance between
your knees. Walk your hands, reset your core, and slide
the left leg back precedent to the ground. Tighten it up. Feel like there’s a lightening rod going through
your leg, up into your glute. Hold that tightness, and then lift your leg
just an inch or two. Again, try to stay in the middle. Pull the shoulder blades down the back, hold
that, check your neck, and then bring your leg back down. Now as you get stronger with this, you might
want to try doing an arm and an opposite leg, but at first just do one arm and one leg at
a time, we’ll demonstrate for you an opposite arm and leg. But don’t rush this because you don’t want
to be falling all over the place when you do this. Okay, so let’s go ahead and stretch out the
left arm. Press it into the ground, feel the tightness,
lift the arm up, bring back the right leg press it into the ground. Feel the tightness, it takes a good three
seconds, and then let bring it up. Hold it. Pull the shoulder blades down, check the neck. And remember, if you can’t do these down on
a mat, you can do these in your bed on the couch. If you can’t kneel, you can do them over an
exercise ball or over a sturdy chair. Okay, so there’s lots of modifications. Bring your leg back down. Let’s repeat on the other side, but let’s
first walk your hands, get the weight on the leg, slide the right hand forward, press it
in, and lift. Slide the left leg back, press it in. That was nice. He brought his hip down, tightened up the
glutes. Bring the leg up just an inch. Pull the shoulder blades down. Hold it. Keep checking your neck. It’s not worth getting tight in your neck. Any pain in your shoulders. Just bring your arms out to the side slightly. Any pain in your back. Pull up through your belly button up to the
chest. Okay. Come on down and let’s move into our next
exercise.

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