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Stretching & Strength: Dead Bugs September 21, 2009

Posted by Richard Lowe in Training.
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When I started running 14 months ago, I didn’t realize that running is as much a full-body sport as anything else. I thought all you needed was a strong lower body and you were set. And even if you had a weak lower body, running constantly would help that. The reality, though, is that from head to toe, a runner’s body must be strong enough to withstand the impact of a long distance run.

I found this out when I told my friend and physical therapist Katie W. that I was running a marathon. She quickly looked concerned and I was not reassured. She told me that many of her clients who are marathoners come in with bad back and knee injuries and she didn’t want to see the same happen to me. Like any good physical therapist, she immediately gave me some strength and conditioning tips.

I now have a routine of six exercises that I do three times a week in my home office when I can’t make it to the gym. The one I’ll discuss today is dead bugs, a core-strengthening exercise. Despite it’s weird name—and even weirder movement—it’s deceptively difficult.

To do dead bugs, you lie on your back and raise your arms. You then raise your legs in a “table” position—that is, bent at the hips and knees, forming a 90-degree angle. Keeping your abs tight and your back flat with the ground, you extend an opposite arm and leg. So if you extend your right leg, you’ll extend your left arm.

What makes dead bugs so effective is that it strengthens your obliques and not just your abs, like regular sit ups or crunches. When you’re running, you’re twisting your upper body from your core, so having strong obliques helps you maintain strengthen and consistency on a distance run. I absolutely love dead bugs and since having started them, can feel a difference in my running. I highly recommend adding them to any training program.

Watch Kirk Vickers demonstrate dead bugs on YouTube:

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Comments»

1. Chelsee Lowe - September 22, 2009

It’s always funny to see you do dead bugs. Just one more things I can laugh at you about honey.


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