Strengthening your back with Bird-Dog

While it may have a silly name, this exercise is anything but.

Building strength into the back not only helps to alleviate back pain, it improves posture and helps to maintain the main support structure and stability of the body. Bird-Dog helps to find length through the limbs while working primarily into the erector spinae, glutes and rectus abdominis.

Start on all fours with knees positioned under hips and wrists under shoulders. As you exhale, sweep the right arm forward and left leg back until they are parallel to the ground and your weight is centered. Looking down to the mat, engage through the core and try to keep the back completely flat. Stretch out through the fingertips and toes to lengthen the limbs, ensuring the hips stay square to the mat.  Hold and return to your starting position, then swap sides and continue.

To increase difficulty, curl up, touching elbow to knee before extending arm and leg. Alternatively, try starting from a hover position (knees 1-2 cm off the mat) and extend arm and leg.

Move slowly through the transition to ensure you maintain correct alignment and form.