Flatten Your Belly with the "Dead Bug" Exercise!

This week on the Dr. Radio Show, we were talking about exercises to flatten the belly and one caller asked for more details about how to perform a core exercise called the Dead Bug (anyone who lives in NYC will understand the name once they see the exercise performed!) The Dead Bug is one of my favorite exercises for targeting the deepest abdominal muscle, the transverse abdominis (TVA), which is a flat, horizontal band of muscle that encircles the midsection from front to back.  When it is toned, the TVA acts as a natural corset to flatten the belly, narrow the waist and support the low back.

The TVA plays a significant role in core strength.  It functions to stabilize the pelvis and maintain the small curve in the lower back, which affects your posture and alignment in all positions against gravity, whether you are stationary or moving.   In this exercise, the obliques work with the TVA to hold the pelvis in neutral position while the moving limbs provide resistance.

 Proper form for "Dead Bug":    Lie on your back with your knees bent over your hips, calves parallel to the floor; both arms extended to the ceiling, palms forward.  Pull your abs in tight, belly button to spine, allowing the small natural curve in the low back.   Lower an opposite arm and leg toward the floor, lengthening through the limbs, and bring the other knee in over your chest.  Switch sides for 10 repetitions (1 rep = both sides).  To make it more difficult, hold the lowered position for a count of 5-10 seconds.  Be careful not to arch your lower back or rock your pelvis from side to side!