High bird dog plank


Exercise details

  • Target muscles: Erector Spinae, Internal and External Obliques, Rectus Abdominis
  • Synergists: Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings, Anterior Deltoid, Lateral Deltoid, Middle and Lower Trapezius
  • Important stabilizers: Internal and External Obliques, Rectus Abdominis, Iliopsoas, Sartorius, Tensor Fasciae Latae, Quadriceps, Pectoralis major, Triceps Brachii, Serratus Anterior
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Get on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders.
  2. Extend your feet backwards, position them shoulder-width apart, and straighten your body.

Execution

  1. Raise one arm and the opposite leg off the floor and hold them straight for 5 to 10 seconds.
  2. Return your arm and leg to the starting position.
  3. Raise your other arm and opposite leg off the floor and hold them straight for 5 to 10 seconds.
  4. Return your arm and leg to the starting position.
  5. Keep repeating and alternating the limbs that you raise off the floor.
  6. Breathe naturally.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your core tight and your body straight and rigid. Don’t allow your back to sag or your bottom to rise.
  • Keep your neck neutral. Look down, not forward.
  • Keep your supporting hand directly under your shoulder.
  • Among the target muscles, the erector spinae are exercised dynamically (i.e. they contract and change shape), whereas the obliques and rectus abdominis are exercised isometrically (they contract but do not change shape).
  • The high bird dog plank is an excellent whole-body functional exercise for strengthening your core and improving your balance and coordination.
  • Instead of alternating the limbs that you raise off the floor throughout the set, you can hold one arm and leg off the floor for one set and then hold the opposite arm and leg off the floor for another set. In this instance, all muscles will be exercised mainly isometrically.
  • The “high” in the name high bird dog plank refers to the fact that your weight is supported on your hand instead of on your elbow.

High bird dog plank video


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