Saturday, January 28, 2012

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Dead Bug Moving

Dead Bug Moving sounds like a title for a science fiction story, not a name for an abdominal exercise. A nuclear blast wiped out all living things on earth except for one tall, gangly man and three kids who he finds hiding in the remnants of a blown out house. As the four starving soles search for something edible to fill their bellies, they find a mountainous pile of what looks like peppercorns. "What are they?" squeal the kids. The man moves closer to inspect. He sees what looks like insects; the legs sticking straight up and twitching. "They're alive!" he squeals. -- Now, use your imagination and come up with the rest of the story. I don't write science fiction, barely watch or read it, either.

Dead Bug Moving is my name for an exercise that I created while studying for my Medical Exercise Specialist certification.  I was taught the Dead Bug position to evaluate a client's abdominal strength and thought, why not make it an exercise to strengthen the muscle group? It's a great deal safer than crunches, which at the time was the standard abdominal exercise in fitness classes. Unlike crunches, Dead Bug Moving keeps your cervical spine on the floor, free from potential injury. Plus, it strengthens the deepest abdominal muscles, the transverse, rarely achieved by sit-ups and crunches and of utmost importance in supporting your spine. It also strengthens the other two abdominal groups, the obliques and rectus (for those of you who like to have the correct terminology). To put it simply, Dead Bug Moving gets all the abdominals in one exercise.

Starting position:

Lie on the floor (on a mat or rug)   
Lift and bend your legs in a 90 degree angle.
Lift your arms straight up in the air  


Now, keeping your lower back flat on the mat:
Extend one leg and the opposite arm 


Return to starting position and repeat with the opposite leg and arm

Notice my leg is a little higher in this picture - that's to show you can have your leg high toward the ceiling

The higher the leg, the easier the exercise - But don't cheat
 Decide where you need your leg to be, higher or lower, and proceed with the exercise


Repeat the above as many times as you comfortably can. Remember, the back must be on the floor!! I know, I've repeated that several times,but that's because it is important. Stop when you have fatigued your abdominals, or feel your back arching, or your legs tiring (they're getting strengthened, too). You might do 5 repetitions, 10, 50 - whatever - do what you can do. Make it a comfortable challenge.  And smile!

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