How to do DEAD BUG EXERCISE and which muscles worked?

by Dheeraj Prarthi
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The dead bug exercise is the ultimate way to build core strength and stabilization. It also helps prevent low back pain by protecting your lower back. It helps build a solid, stable base that protects the spine and allows for greater ease in everyday athletic movements, such as walking up and throwing a ball.

dead bug exercise and its benefits
#source: google images

It is a supination abdominal exercise, which means you do it lying on your back with your face up.


You’ll need just a mat to do this exercise. Hold your hips and low back still all through the activity. Play out the development gradually and with full control. Press your lower back to the floor and engage your core muscles.

Set up for the posture by lying on your back with your knees twisted and your feet level on the floor, about a foot away from your hips. Rest your arms alongside your body.

  1. Lie on the mat with your arms extended straight over your chest so they form a perpendicular angle with your torso.
  2. Lift your legs so your knees are directly over your hips.
  3. Slowly lower your right arm and left leg until they’re just above the floor.
  4. Bring them back to the starting position to complete 1 rep.
  5. Do the same process on each side with the same number of repetitions. When you complete a full set return your feet to the ground and sit up.

Also read our article on lower back pain from squats and deadlifts.


The dead bug is a popular core exercise for athletes and runners.

The dead bug is used to target the trunk muscles which are-

  • Erector Spinae– The erector spinae is a group of muscles and tendons which run more or less the length of the spine on the left and the right, from the sacrum.
  • Obliques– The obliques are two muscles: internal obliques and external obliques. They are located on the sides of the abdominals, running from the hips to the rib cage.
  • Erectus abdominis– The Erectus abdominis muscle, also known as the abdominal muscle. It is a combined muscle running upward on each side of the foremost mass of the human mid-region.
  • Transverse abdominis– It is a muscle layer of the anterior and lateral (front and side) abdominal wall which is deep to the internal obliques.

These are the abdominal muscles dead bug works on.


Once you’re started doing 3-4 sets of dead bugs with 15-20 reps in each set you’ve mastered it, now you can go for some different variations on your alternate days of dead bugs. These are a few alterations of the dead bug exercise to make it pretty much testing.

#source: youtube


  • LEG EXTENSION- Press one foot away from your body to straighten your leg, hovering it above the floor.
  • LEG RAISES- Straighten your legs so your feet are facing the ceiling, then slowly lower down one leg at a time.
  • HEEL TAPS- Keeping your knee bent, slowly lower one foot at a time, and taps the floor with your heel.
  • PALMS AGAINST THE WALL- Bring your arms overhead and press your palms into the wall with your knees above your hips. This exercise is great for beginners.

To make the dead bug more difficult

  • Use ankle weights, dumbbells, or kettlebells.
  • Lower both arms and legs at the same time.
  • Strengthen your pelvic floor by doing Kegel exercises during the exercise. Your pelvis is the territory between your hips that holds your conceptive organs, and the Kegel practices are straightforward grasp and delivery activities to make the muscles of your pelvic floor more grounded.


The dead bug practice is a protected and viable approach to construct and balance out your centre, spine, and back muscles strength. This exercise helps you improve your posture and helps relieve and prevent your low back pain.

You’ll also feel improved balance and coordination. You may discover you have the strength and security to move better during every day and athletic exercises.

The advantages of the dead bug are perceived by specialists the nation over. It’s one of the suggested practices for:

  • Peoples with arthritis
  • People with chronic pain
  • Older people working on improving muscle function
  • People with Parkinson’s disease to make everyday activities easier and prevent injuries and accidents
  • Swimmers who want to improve their body position or posture
  • People who have a weak core
  • People who want to improve their athletic performance

Also read our article on fire hydrant exercises and its benefits.


Moving too fast

Hands down, the most common mistake with the dead bug exercise is when people confuse it with a bicycle crunch and try to use speed and momentum to power themselves through. Slow way, way down. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to stability. If you think you’re moving too fast try slowing down more. As soon as your start picking up speed, that’s when your torse starts shifting and you stop maintaining the perfect stabilization of your core. So, instead of moving fast try to move slower then you’ll feel the difference in your core stabilization.

Low back arching away from the floor

This mistake is so common for beginners because they have weak core stabilizers (transverse abdominis and spinal erectors, in particular) are a primary reason why their back might automatically arch up and away from the floor whenever a person doing supine abdominal exercises if they have weak core stabilizers. If you notice your back arching, try to correct the mistake by slowing down. If slowing down also doesn’t work, reduce the range of motion of your extensions. Only extend your leg and your arm only as far as you can without arching your back. When you feel your low back arching stop right there and bring your arm and leg back to center before repeating to the opposite side.

Use the information in this article to do the dead bugs in proper form without any mistakes.


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