How to do a bird dog correctly (and build core stability)

Posted by for Strength

Done properly, this bodyweight move can build strength and improve posture. 

Bird dogs are a classic bodyweight move, found in yoga and pilates practices as well as in the routines of strength trainers and weight lifters alike. 

As with press-ups, planks and glute bridges, they are now cropping up in a lot of home workout plans due to the fact that they are an amazing no-equipment-necessary exercise. As with all of these moves though, it’s crucial that a bird dog be done correctly for ultimate pay off. 

Not only do they work your core, which includes your back, abdominals and hips, they can improve your posture and stability, according to Strong Women ambassador Alice Miller. “People think you should blast your core hard and fast, but with this move it’s about slowing down and feeling all of your muscles work.”

How to do a bird dog

How to to a bird dog:

  1. Come into an all fours position, with your hands underneath your shoulders, knees underneath your hips. Keep a neutral spine, so you’re in tabletop position with your back.
  2. Engage the core by drawing that belly button into the spine
  3. Begin by lifting and extending the opposite arm and leg. You want to be reaching out as long as you can and really pull from those limbs. The foot can either be flexed or pointed.
  4. When you reach full extension, hold and squeeze the glutes and core.
  5. Return back to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side. 

Alice suggests doing 20 alternating reps if the move, either at the beginning of your workout to activate the core muscles or at the end as a core finisher. 

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Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).