Band-Resisted Dead Bugs (Video)

Last week, we talked about how important it was to exhale effectively and get our air out.

This week, we’re going to talk about how we can use that exhale to facilitate better core training and abdominal function!

The dead bug is an exercise I used to coach on an almost daily basis. For some reason, I simply forgot about and/or moved away from it.

However, I think I now have  a better understanding of not only how to coach this exercise for maximum effectiveness, but how we can use a band to get even more out of it than ever before!

Coaching Points:

  • Grasp the band with an overhand grip and exhale fully. Get all your air out and keep your ribs down.
  • In the ribs-down position, pull the bands down to really crank up the core contraction.
  • From the ribs-down/band-down position, extend one leg fully. Take a big breath into the belly and chest, and then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the opposite leg.

You can either pull the band down between reps, or keep it down the entire time. The latter is simply going to create more time under tension for the core and abdominals.

Random Thoughts:

  • EXHALE! If you don’t get all your air out and keep the ribs down, this exercise will not give you optimal results.
  • Breathe into the back. In the leg-extended position, focus on keeping the back flat to the floor and taking a breath without losing this position. You should feel air moving into your belly and chest, as well as into your your back.
  • Use your “neck abs.” Finally, think about keeping the neck long and tucking the chin throughout. I use the term “neck abs” for this one – trademark pending. 🙂

This exercise may look simple, but I guarantee you it’s going to hit your abs hard. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

Stay strong,



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  1. Mike,
    Just added 3 sets x 10 per side with a Gray Cook Orange Band and my core is feeling it. Definitely loving the resistance assistance to keep core contraction while being able to focus on breathing with ribs down. Great work on this one Mike!


  2. I swear you read my mind regarding training! Confirmation bias I suppose, but you are my number one resource for training my clients effectively.

    I use to use almost exactly this same exercise myself, the difference being that I used a straight leg hip hinge, but for some reason got away from it.

    Thank you for reminding me of this gem!

  3. I have been playing around with this exercise for a couple of days and I must say I am a fan. I have only tried these on myself thus far, but I have some ideas on tweaks.

    I have noticed greater core pre-activation when starting from a point of greater tension and pulling the band down to somewhere between perpendicular with the ground slightly above waist height. I found this was slightly fatiguing to keep my shoulders and t-spine in good position, which wasn’t the point of the exercise, but may be beneficial depending on the situation. To combat this fatigue I placed both handles of the tubing into the door and pulled down on the padding using it as a makeshift cable bar.

    I’m far too new to this idea to say if one way is better than another or just different, but I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts.

    Matt Danziger

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