How to do bird dogs exercise

The bird dog is a bodyweight exercise that strengthens the core – specifically the abdominal muscles, lower back, buttocks, and thighs. Learn how to do bird dogs exercise.

The bird-dog can be easily integrated into almost any strength training routine.

How to do the bird-dog exercise

Find a place with enough space to stretch an arm and a leg simultaneously. Kneel on an exercise mat or other padded surface with your knees hip-width apart and your hands firmly on the ground, approximately shoulder-width apart. Tighten your core.

  • Point one arm straight out in front and stretch the opposite leg behind you, forming a straight line from the outstretched hand to the extended foot. Keep your hips straight against the ground. If your lower back begins to sink, lift your leg only as high as possible while keeping your back straight.
  • Hold, then return to your hands and knees. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged throughout the exercise and work to minimize any extra movement in the hips during the weight shift.
  • Switch to the other side.

Other varieties of bird dog

No arm extension

If you have problems with the double arm-leg movement, start by only stretching one leg at a time and not stretching the arms—time as the leg.


Bend your elbow and bring the opposite knee forward until they touch under your body. This touch in the middle of the workout increases the tension on your core as you work to maintain balance.

Bird dog on a bench

You can use a bench to add an extra challenge. Kneel with your feet hanging from the end of the bench.

Bird dog on a exercise ball

Place a ball under your hips to make the bird dog. You will not get your knees on the ground, so you balance your toes on your feet instead, which makes this variation even more of a stability challenge.

Bird dog from a push-up position

Sit in a push-up position and balance your toes on your feet and hands, similar to making bird dogs on the training ball but even more challenging.

One-sided bird dog

One-sided bird dog is a variant of the next-level bird dog that you should only master the regular training. To do this, stretch your arm and leg on the same side of your body at the same time.

Related articles:

Best core exercise for runners

Core exercise while pregnant


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