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What Are Deadbugs?

How to do deadbugs

Deadbugs are an anti-core exercise that challenges the core to remain stable as the opposite arm and leg are moved simultaneously. Working the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, obliques, and erector spinae muscles, deadbugs are great for building a strong and stable core which can minimise injury risks, improve posture, and contribute to heavier lifts.

Deadbugs require the person to coordinate their movement, which often means they move slowly and with more control. This is helpful if you find it difficult to engage or challenge the core in other core exercises.

Check out some of our other ab exercises: Swiss ball circles, Pallof presses, Decline sit ups, Ab wheel rolloutsPlanks

Most Commonly Asked Questions About Deadbugs

Which Muscles Do Deadbugs Work?

Deadbugs work multiple core muscles, challenging the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis and obliques. In addition to strengthening the core, this exercise also challenges coordination and balance!

What Are The Benefits Of Deadbugs?

Deadbugs improve core strength and stability and can help with poor posture, reduce injury risk, and improve strength in compound lifts like squats. Deadbugs are performed with control and do not train the core through spinal flexion (for example, like ab crunches) which make them very safe and suitable for those prone to back pain.

Do Deadbugs Give You Abs?

Deadbugs strengthen the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis which are the muscles which create a six pack look. However, to achieve visible abs you will need a low level of body fat in order to see ab definition. Most people find they need to lose some body fat to achieve visible abs. This isn’t always feasible or sustainable. 

Are Deadbugs Better Than Planks?

Deadbugs and planks are both great core exercises that train the core to resist movement. Planks are more challenging and work more muscle groups, however deadbugs may be more suitable for those who have issue with lower back pain or have a weaker core. Including both exercises in your routine will help to improve strength and stability.

Tips for Deadbugs

Deadbugs can help performers to understand how to create a neutral spine and embrace the core to protect the lower back, which can help with form in other core exercises as well as compound lifts.

Brace your core by bringing the ribs and pelvis closer together and pulling your belly button towards the spine in order to press your lower back into the ground.

If you are unable to keep your lower back flat to the floor, reduce the reps or range of motion of the arms and legs and slowly increase as you build strength.

How To Do Deadbugs

  1. Lay down with your back flat on the floor. Extend your arms straight up above your chest and bend your legs to form a 90 degree angle so your knees are pointing towards the ceiling with shins parallel to the floor.

  2. Brace your core by pulling your belly button towards your spine then slowly lower your right arm backwards towards the floor while simultaneously extending your left leg towards the floor.

  3. Take a short pause before slowly bringing both limbs back to the starting position.

  4. Repeat on the other side.

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.