Think of a couple of exercises for the abs . Surely it’s the crunches and the plates . They are the best known and the most performed to strengthen the rectus abdominis. But the world does not end in these two movements. The dead bug , or dead bug, is one of the best alternatives to incorporate into the routine.

Behind this ridiculous name, but really well put, hides a very complete exercise that is not usually carried out. It’s basically a big unknown. And he doesn’t deserve it. If you take into account the benefits of practicing the dead bug for a season, it should be mandatory to dedicate a few minutes to it .

Why does it have this name?

‘The position to perform this exercise is with your back to the ground, arms extended and legs at an angle of 90 degrees. When the movement begins and the legs and arms are extended, it gives the sensation of seeing a cockroach – or the insect that is preferred – dead or about to enter the afterlife. 

One of the main differences between the dead bugs and other more popular exercises is that it has a big impact on the deeper core muscles . With other simpler exercises, the most visible muscles of the abdominals are worked; instead, the dead bug does an especially good job on those muscles that are essential in providing stability for the body. In this sense, if done with proper technique and breathing, the dead bug recruits the transversus abdominis, pelvic floor, and erector spinae muscle group.

The basis of this exercise is the contralateral movement . this means that the opposite limbs move at the same time. The clearest example is what happens when walking or running: the leg that moves forward is accompanied by the opposite arm. This movement is natural and is done without thinking; to make the dead bug you have to think. So it can be an exercise to improve coordination in general terms.

The dead bug is also a good way to introduce newbies to the complex world of sit-ups, which is much more than doing reps and reps waiting for the six pack to show up at some point. It is an exercise that is simple and without risk of injury , but has a degree of added difficulty by involving the limbs and one’s own weight. For this reason, the most veteran can also introduce it into their routine without problems. 

The correct way to make the dead bug

This exercise has its crumb. It’s simple, we won’t deny it, but you have to have good technique so that your back doesn’t move and is always in contact with the ground. 

  • Lie on your back on a mat with your arms by your sides and your palms facing your sides.
  • Squeeze your core and lift your feet off the ground, bringing your knees in toward your chest until they’re directly over your hips at a 90-degree angle.
  • Raise your arms so that your elbows are above your shoulders
  • Once you have the initial position, begin to lower your right arm and left leg towards the ground until they are an inch or two off the ground. Movement must be controlled
  • While both limbs go down, the other two remain in the starting position
  • Bring the right arm and left leg back to the starting position and repeat the lowering movement with the other two limbs.
  • repeat the movement

Some alternatives to add difficulty

In this exercise, as in any other, you progress over time. When you want a little more intensity you can do other versions of this movement. These are some of them: 

You can take a kettlebell: the shoulders and lats will be loaded

Ankle weights: the lower trunk will be loaded

A stability ball to gain stability: the goal is to place the ball between the extended arm and the knee without it falling off during the movement

Elastic bands: there will be greater tension when extending the legs and arms

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