Bird Dog

Purpose: The Bird Dog integrates abdominal bracing, breathing and the opposing arm-leg function.  It mimics functional movement patterns in athletic movement (alternating opposing arm-leg)

Points of Interest: If you can not control your body during the leg movement, do not progress to the arm-leg movement.  This exercise is about movement quality, not quantity.

Instructions: Begin on your hands and knees with your hands directly below your shoulders and knees below hips. Maintain a neutral spine by engaging your core.  Reach your leg back toward the wall behind you.  Once the leg is fully extended, lift it up to the level of the hip, or as you can before you initiate lumbar spine extension.  Lower the leg back to the resting position and repeat with the opposite side.  Once you have mastered the single leg you should progress to the opposite arm-leg.  Ensure your low back remains neutral and does not rotate/twist as you reach your arm in front of you and your opposite leg behind you.  Lower the arm and leg simulataneously to the resting position and then begin with the other side.

Bracing with Leg Slide

Purpose: To activate the entire abdominal musculature and learn proper recruitment patterns for core stabilization.  This exercise challenges stability of the lumbopelvic region through the singl-leg or double-leg slide.

Points of Interest: Ensure that you are able to hold the "abdominal brace" or "pelvic tilt" and properly breathe before progressing to the leg slides.

Instructions: Lie on your back with your knees bent and arms at your side.  Brace your abdominal musculature or create a pelvic tilt based on your specific instructions.  Ensure that your head and shoulders do not lift or tense up.  Slowly slide out one heel out along the floor, while maintaining abdominal activation.  Ensure proper breathing throughout.

* Watch for an inability to keep your lower back tight to the floor.  This indicates the demands of the exercise or too great for the capacity of your core stabilizers.

Start Position

Single-Leg Slide

Double-Leg Slide

Bunkie Protocol

Purpose: To strengthen the core muscles while challenging the anterior, posterior, medial and lateral lines of the body

Points of Interest: The goal is to maintain all of the following positions without discomfort or pain.  Ensure proper breathing throughout.

This protocol is for advanced individuals that have high proficiency with:

1) Core stabilization

2) Sustaining the McGill Protocol with ease (> 90 sec)

With this protocol an individual must demonstrate:

1) Proper motor recruitment to achieve a neutral spine

2) Sustain greater than 30 seconds in a double contact position

3) Sustain greater than 15 seconds in a single contact position

Front Plank

Your elbows should be under your shoulders and feet hip width apart on a bench.  Maintain abdominal bracing and your head in line with your body throughout the exercise.

Back Plank

Your palms should be on the ground directly below your shoulders.  Your hands should be rotated so that your fingers are pointing toward your feet.  Rise up into a plank so that your body is a straight line from your head through your heels.  Dorsiflex your feet to pull your toes toward your shins.

Side Plank

Your elbow should be directly under your shoulder.  Your feet will be placed on a bench and stacked one on top of the other.  Dorsiflex your feet to pull your toes toward your shins.  As you hold the position, maintain a pelvic tilt/abdominal brace to ensure your body is a straight line from your head to your heels when viewed from the side and from above. 

Front Plank with Leg Lift

While in the front plank position lift one leg while maintaining your hips in the same position.  Repeat on the opposite side.

Back Plank with Leg Lift

While in a back plank position, lift one leg up off the bench. Other than that leg your body should not move.  Repeat on the opposite side.

Side Plank with Leg Lift - Lateral Line

While in the side plank position, lift the top leg up.  The rest of your body should not move as it is stabilizing in the side plank position  

Side Plank with Leg Lift - Medial Line

While in the side plank position, lift the bottom leg toward your chest.  The rest of your body should not move as it is stabilizing in the side plank position  

Deadbug

Purpose: Integration of abdominal bracing, breathing and opposing arm-leg function.

Points of Interest: Deadbugs mimic the functional movement patterns in athletic movement (opposing arm-leg).  

Instructions: Hold your arms shoulder width apart and reaching directly to the ceiling.  Your hips and knees should be bent 90 degrees.  Create a proper core position by creating a pelvic tilt/brace.  You should be able to maintain this position throughout the entire exercise.

Progressions:

1. Starting position

2. Alternating single arm lowering

3. Alternating single leg lowering

4. Alternating opposing arm-leg lowering

* This exercise should be performed for quality, not quantity.  

Starting Position

Alternating Single Leg Lowering

Alternating Single Arm Lowering

Alternating Opposing Arm-Leg Lowering

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Purpose: To encourage breathing with the diaphragm, instead of the muscles around the ribcage

Points of Interest: Diaphragmatic breathing refers to a deep breathing technique in which the diaphragm is used to direct the inhalation and exhalation of air.  Due to stress, tension, posture and learned habits many of us breathe primarily using the muscles around the ribcage (accessory breathing muscles).

Instructions: Lay on your back with your knees bent and neck supported with a pillow (if necessary).  Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.  Inhale slowly and completely.  You should feel your stomach inflate. Exhale slowly and completely. You should feel your stomach deflate and draw inward.

** Practice diaphragmatic breathing for 5-10 minutes per day

** Some movement of the chest can occur during this exercise, but it movement should predominantly occur at the abdomen.

Inhalation

Exhalation

Front Plank

Purpose: To increase endurance of the core stabilizing musculature.

Instructions: Press up onto your forearms and toes.  Your arms should be shoulder width apart.  You should appear as a straight line from head to heels when viewed from the side.  You should engage your abdominal and gluteal muscles so that your low back doesn't arch and hips don't hike up.  Your goal is to hold this position for as long as you can up to 2 minutes while maintaining good movement quality.  If you can't hold this for 2 minutes than work in sets of a shorter duration to build up the duration this can be held.  Focus on comfortable breathing while maintaining an abdominal brace.

Front Plank (Bench)

Purpose: To increase endurance of the core stabilizing musculature.  This modification is recommended for those who have difficulty with the full front plank.

Instructions: Press your forearms against a bench.  Your arms should be shoulder width apart.  You should appear as a straight line from head to heels when viewed from the side.  You should engage your abdominal and gluteal muscles so that your low back doesn't arch.  Aim to hold this position for 1 minute before progressing to more difficult positions.  Focus on comfortable breathing while maintaining an abdominal brace.

Front Plank from Knees

Purpose: To increase endurance of the core stabilizing musculature.  This modification is recommended for those who have difficulty with the full front plank.

Instructions: Press your forearms against the ground. Your arms should be shoulder width apart.  You should appear as a straight line from head to heels when viewed from the side.  You should engage your abdominal and gluteal muscles so that your low back doesn't arch.  Aim to hold this position for 1 minute before progressing to more difficult positions.  Focus on comfortable breathing while maintaining an abdominal brace.

Front Plank (Wall)

Purpose: To increase endurance of the core stabilizing musculature.  This modification is recommended for those who have difficulty with the full front plank.

Instructions: Press your forearms against the wall.  Your arms should be shoulder width apart.  You should appear as a straight line from head to heels when viewed from the side.  You should engage your abdominal and gluteal muscles so that your low back doesn't arch.  Aim to hold this position for 1 minute before progressing to more difficult positions.  Focus on comfortable breathing while maintaining an abdominal brace.

Glute Bridge Progression

Purpose: To increase activation in the glutes and teach proper motor firing for hip extension.  The bridging progression will increase awareness of core stabilization and the maintenance of a neutral spine.

Points of Interest: Feel (or sense) your hamstrings periodically to ensure they remain relaxed while the hamstrings are engaged.  If you are finding that your hamstrings are overactive, try pushing your feet away (i.e straightening your knees).  This will create activation of the quadriceps and reciprocal inhibitation of the hamstrings.

Instructions: Begin lying on your back with your feet hip width apart and straight, arms relaxed by your side.  Initiate an abdominal brace or pelvic tilt (based on your specific instructions).  Raise your hips up until they are in line with your torso and then lower back down to the starting position.

Progressions

Arms Crossed

Leg Lift

Leg Lift; Arms Crossed

Pelvic Tilt

Purpose: To improve lumbopelvic stability.  It is important to master this exercise before progressing to more challenging"core" exercises.

Points of Interest: Keep your shoulders and neck relaxed as you engage the pelvic tilt.

Instructions: Lay on your back with both knees bent so that your feet are flat on the floor.  Tuck your chin toward your chest.  Tilt the front of your pelvis toward your ribcage and your ribcage to your pelvis.  This will press your low back against the floor.

* Do not lift your hips off the floor

* Do not put weight through your feet

Side Plank

Purpose: Side planks strengthen the lateral kinetic chain by strengthening the obliques, quadratus lumborum, lateral hip musculature and peroneals.

Instructions: Push up onto your forearm and lateral aspect of your foot so that if you were viewed from the front your head, shoulders, hips, knees and feet are all in line.  You should also look like a straight line when viewed from above (i.e. your butt shouldn't stick out and your head shouldn't fall forwards).  Hold this position for as long as you can with good quality. Focus on comfortable breathing. You are looking to have symmetry between your left and right sides.

Progressions: You should master this exercise before progressing to the Bunkie Protocol, Reverse Nordics, dynamic lifting or plyometric exercises

Side Plank From Knees

Purpose: To strengthen the lateral kinetic chain.  This modification should be considered for those that experience difficulty with the side plank.

Instructions: Push up onto forearm and lateral aspect of the knee.  Drive your hips forwards so that when you are viewed from above there is a straight line from your head to your knees. You should also appear as a straight line when viewed from the front (i.e. no hip sagging).  You should hold this position for as long as you can with good quality.  Focus on comfortable breathing.  You are aiming to have symmetry between your left and right sides.

Phone: (705)726-4331

Fax: (705)726-8588

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