Liven-up the results of your core training with this expert how-to from Third Space elite trainer, Tom Hall
There are plenty of benefits to a strong core beyond six-pack abs. Equally, there are plenty of more effective and beneficial moves to strengthen your core than crunches.
The deadbug strengthens everything that supports your pelvis and spine and its benefits come from resisting, not creating, movement. It forms the anti-flexion or anti-extension part of core training. In addition to strengthening your core, the slow, controlled movements of the deadbug also help to enhance motor control and to encourage the stabiliser muscles around your pelvis to do their job.
Plenty of people like to separate their core training from other exercises, but deadbugs work excellently in conjunction with your big lifts. It sits best as a supplementary exercise in your workout, so after your deadlifts or a set of pull ups they would be perfect. Not only will it strengthen your core to work towards new abs, but it’ll also activate the muscle fibres of your core to improve the performance of those big lifts.
And so to the how-to:
Firstly, lie on your back with your back flat against the floor, then take your arms and legs up perpendicular to the floor. Allow your knees to bend down to 90 degrees and hold.
Leg position is really important. Try to have your thigh exactly perpendicular to the floor. Let your thighs rock towards your chest and you’ll lose tension, minimising benefit. Let them fall away from you and your back will arch away from the ground, your ribs will flare, and you’ll be more at risk of injury.
With your position now mastered, take a HUGE inhale right here and check you are super strong and rigid. The last thing you want is floppy arms and legs. Think, if your trainer went to move one of your limbs, it shouldn’t budge.
From there, whilst forcefully exhaling, lower alternate upper and lower limb, (this is where the motor control comes in) – so the left arm and the right leg will go, as the other limbs stay locked still.
Many won’t think about this, but with all the air exhaled out, you now have nothing to help stabilize your spine except the muscles themselves.
From there we take our inhale and our limbs come back up to the starting position.
That’s one rep. Now (slowly!) finish a set.