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Bird Dog (Pointer)

There is always a right way and a wrong way to do anything. The risk of doing an exercise in the wrong way is injury.  At the very least it is a waste of time because it is ineffective at strengthening the body part(s) that it’s targeting. While I do believe that any movement is good, I also believe that it’s better to do some exercises well. One great example is the Pointer. It’s also known as the Bird Dog.

During my early morning dog walks I would often see Boot Camp classes where the participants were doing this exercise and no offence, but it looked more like an attempt at ballet on all fours than it did the exercise it was meant to be. The pointer is meant to strengthen the core muscles specifically those of the back. Just a reminder, that the core starts from the top of your shoulders and runs to the base of your buttocks. So with that in mind give this a try:

  • Get down on the floor on all fours. Your hands are positioned directly under your shoulders and your knees are right below your hips. This is called the Table position (be sure to look like a table). Imagine there is are big red dots on the floor under each hand and each knee.  After each movement your goal is to have your hands and knees come back to that exact location.
  • In that position, imagine that your favourite beverage is in a glass and it’s sitting on your the hollow part of your back. It is precariously balancing there. If you move it will spill and the glass will tumble to the floor leaving you with a mess to clean up. See how easy it is to tighten your abs and back. You’ve accomplished the most important of this exercise…stabilization.
  • Extend your right leg back by slowing sliding your big toe along the floor until your leg is completely straight. The next step is to slowly lift that leg no more than 2 – 3 inches off of the floor (remember the full glass). Hold that position.
  • Next, slowly lift your left arm up until it is parallel with the floor. 
  • Slowly return your arm and leg to the starting position (remember the full glass). That is half a repetition. Repeat on the other side. 

It is way more beneficial do a few reps perfectly than many reps imperfectly. Practicing stabilizing the core muscles in this way will result in the type of strength that protects the back from injury and it helps to prevent falls when we slip. 

For kicks, put something on your back. A yoga block is great because there is no mess to clean up when it falls off.

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