The Dead Bug For a stable, strong core

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Your core is involved in many fitness exercises. Nevertheless, it is advisable to also do some targeted core exercises. There is one core exercise few have in their arsenal that is deadly effective: the dead bug.


Your core consists of your abs (straight/oblique and transverse abs), your erector spinae, hips and your glutes. These muscle groups are the foundation of your body, which is engaged in just about every fitness exercise.

A strong core is important for several reasons: preventing injuries, improving sports performance and a better posture, both standing and sitting.


Your core already comes into action with many exercises. However, you also need to do some targeted exercises for a strong core. The best known are the plank (preferably the RKC plank), ab-wheel rollout, crunches, sit-ups, Superman, woodchoppers, the bird dog, hip raises, hyperextensions, cable rotation, single leg dumbbell deadlifts and the floor bridge.


Not well known, but certainly no less effective, is the dead bug. A somewhat curious name for an excellent exercise to promote total core stability. This makes it a supporting exercise for the squat, for example .


You do the dead bug as follows.

  1. Lie on a mat with your arms extended straight across your chest so that they are perpendicular to your torso. Bend your hips and knees 90 degrees and lift your feet off the floor. Your torso and thighs should form a right angle, as should your thighs and shins. This is your starting position;
  2. Engage your core and maintain contact between your lower back and the mat. Ensure that your spine maintains this stable and neutral position throughout the exercise;
  3. Slowly reach your left arm back, over your head and toward the floor, simultaneously extending your right knee and hip and reaching your right heel toward the floor. Move slowly and steadily, breathing in as you stretch. Stop the movement just before your arm and leg touch the floor;
  4. Reverse the movement and return your left arm and right leg to their starting positions. Move slowly and steadily as you exhale;
  5. Do the same with your right arm and left leg;
  6. Perform the exercise slowly;
  7. Not quite clear yet? Check out this video.



  • Do 2 to 3 sets of 5 to 12 reps on each side.
  • You can make the exercise heavier by using ankle weights.
  • The dead bug has several variations – see for example this article.

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