Upgrading your Bird Dog

All October I have been sharing various upgrades on the Uplyft Fitness Facebook page. I’ve made videos on upgrading your habitsupgrading your walks, upgrading your commute or chores, and upgrading your recovery

Why am I encouraging you to upgrade these areas of your life? Often when we add something to our routine – whether it’s an exercise, or a self-care ritual – once it becomes part of our routine we tend to get a little sloppy with it over time. We don’t pay as much attention as we did in the beginning, and then we just don’t get as much out of the activity as we used to.

And you know that one of the things that I always talk about is that if you are going to invest your time, and do an exercise or activity – I want to make sure you are getting the most out of the time you’re putting into it. Often it takes just the same amount of time – but with some small tweaks you can make that exercise or activity so much more effective.

When it comes to exercise you may need to upgrade not because your positioning or technique has gotten sloppy – but maybe you have plateaued. The exercise was really hard at first, and you persevered and now it’s actually gotten a little easy for you. And maybe you’ve enjoyed that it’s gotten easier, and haven’t given yourself that little push to take the exercise to the next level.

Or maybe it’s not so much that you don’t want to push through to level up, but you don’t know how to. And that’s one of the benefits of working with a trainer. I am going to notice when you can do more – and I am going to give you exactly what you need to make those upgrades.

One thing I have learned as I’ve worked with my clients is that often fear of injury or lack of confidence in your abilities stops people from getting the most out of their workouts. But with all of my experience in rehabilitation, athletic training, and personal training, I can really help you do more than you think you can!

Now, one of the exercises that I am helping my clients Upgrade right now is the Bird Dog. No this is not a reference to our favorite bird dog, Kami.  And no we are not getting a new puppy (yet – wink, wink). The Bird Dog is an exercise that is just amazing for back rehab, hip rehab, core strengthening, and core stability. So it’s definitely one I use with a lot of clients. When I go to yoga, sometimes they call this a spinal balance. You may have also heard it called a quadruped exercise. This refers to the hands and knees position that you get into when you do this exercise.

Since this is one I use a lot, I made a video that I want to share with you here. Often I try to take different screenshots of the exercise and walk you through it in an article as well, but I think that you will really gain the most value out of this by watching the video, where I walk you through all the steps and show you best practices as well as what not to do! But to really drive home the main points, I’ve added a list of pointers below the video.

Tips for Upgrading Your Bird Dog

  1. Don’t rush this exercise! It’s better to take your time and go slowly than it is to rush through.
  2. Be sure that your shoulders are over your wrists. Line up your fingers nice and wide, and make sure there’s a little bend in those elbows, so they’re not locked out.
  3. Make sure your knees are right under your hips.
  4. Your head and neck should be in a neutral position.
  5. Start with your toe on the ground.
  6. Before you add movement, check that you are positioned correctly using the tips or video as your guide.
  7. As you lift your leg, make sure that your hip is level. It doesn’t matter how high your leg goes up – but it does matter that you keep your hip level!
  8. Before you extend your arm make sure you feel stable with your leg raised. If you feel stable, and your hips are level, you can walk out the fingers on the arm opposite the raised leg.
  9. Make sure your shoulder isn’t rotating as you walk your fingers out. You can imagine that if I put a couple drops of water right between your shoulders, that water shouldn’t be able to roll to one side of your back. Once you start to notice a little rotation, that’s as far as you should walk those hands out.
  10. Once you’re in position, with one arm extended, and the opposite leg extended, hold the position briefly before slowly bringing your arm and leg back in.

As always, be sure that you are listening to your body. If you aren’t sure about an exercise, get in touch and I can help you determine if it’s right for you.

Ready to Add More Upgrades to Your Life?

As mentioned, all month on the Uplyft Fitness Facebook Page, I have been sharing videos on how to upgrade your life. I’m going to save you from the hassle of scrolling up. Save your energy for your exercise. If you haven’t been following our Facebook page, here are some handy links to get your upgrade started:

Upgrading Your Habits

Upgrading Your Walks

Upgrading Your Commute or Chores

Upgrading Your Recovery

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