Bird Dog Core Exercise – Benefits and Variations

bird dogs exercise

Bird dog, the classic core and spinal stabilization core exercise was made by famous low-back specialists and functional training experts Stuart McGill, Gray Cook and Mike Boyle. It works on the stabilizer muscles in the core to strengthen the lower back and improve the balance. Once you are comfortable with bird dogs exercise, you would surely want to make it a staple in your exercise program. Having said, this blog post is all about the benefits of bird dogs exercise and its variations. Take a look.

Bird Dog Exercise Benefits:

The bird dog, in addition to, strengthening muscles around the spine, also impacts the large muscle groups that extend from the hip across the butt, deep abdominal muscles, back of the thighs, large chest muscles, abs and shoulder girdle muscles. Here are some of the benefits of bird dogs exercise:

  • Improves coordination and muscle balance
  • Stimulates the activity of nerves in core muscles
  • Reduces pain in the lower back
  • Strengthens abdominal, shoulder and hip muscles
  • Helps keep the spine stable
  • Improves mobility of shoulders
  • Provides better posture control
  • Helps the body achieve more stability in everyday activities, be it running or walking

Types of Bird Dogs Exercise

Basic Bird Dog

Also known as Quadruped, basic bird dog works on abdominals and back muscles. This is a simple exercise recommended by almost every personal trainer. Bird dog workout work on the whole body to target and strengthen your hips and back muscles.


  • Take all fours position
  • Direct under shoulders and knees under hips
  • Slide one leg back and lift the opposite arm up parallel to the torso
  • Return to the starting position
  • Bring the leg and arm back to original position
  • Change the side and repeat

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Twisted Bird Dog

Twisted bird dog can help in toning and strengthening of back muscles, something that many of us don’t pay attention to. standing bird dog exercise & Bird dog workout helps in your whole body.


  • Take all fours position
  • Extend left leg straight and open the right shoulder for oblique and back twist
  • Reach out for the left leg and try to touch it with the elbow of the right shoulder
  • Return to the starting position
  • Change the side and repeat

Elbow to Knee Bird Dog

Elbow to knee bird dog is a great workout for abs, shoulders, glutes, traps, lower back, and hamstrings.


  • Take all fours position
  • Make sure that your arms are shoulder-width apart and hands are under the shoulders
  • Lift your right arm and left leg up at the same time till they are in line with the remaining body
  • Bring elbow of right arm in to touch the knee of the left leg
  • Change the side and repeat

Standing Bird Dog

Another effective exercise to strengthen your arms, legs, and torso. Also, it will help in improving your balance.


  • Bring your feet together and rest hands on hips
  • Shift weight to one leg and slide the other leg to the back (to hip height).
  • Turn the torso parallel to the floor position
  • Bring the leg up and raise the opposite arm to extend the line that is formed by the body
  • Come back to the original position
  • Change the side and repeat

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Classic Elevated Bird Dog

Probably the most challenging of all the variations, classic elevated bird dog helps in improving bore strength and stability.


  • Take all fours position
  • Spread the knees in a way that they should be wider than hips
  • Lift the knees off the floor and make sure that they are bent
  • Lift the opposite leg and opposite arm
  • Balance for a while and come back to the original position
  • Change the side and repeat

Adding Bird Dog to Your Routine

One of the primary reasons to make bird dog exercises a part of your routine is because you can do these core strengthening exercises without equipment. This frees you from the worries of going to a gym everyday and paying expensive memberships. Here’s our list of core exercises without equipment.

Wrap Up

Bird dogs exercise is all about stabilization, something that many of us overlook in fitness. It might not give sculpted thighs and six-packs, but is beneficial for the body from strengthening point of view. The core exercises are more challenging than they appear, especially during the initial attempts. Enough practice will, however, make it manageable after some time.

Disclaimer: The content on HealthTime is for educational and informational purposes only. Do not consider this as medical advice. Use the content in consultation with a certified healthcare professional.



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