This is an advanced exercise that should be reserved for clientele who have sufficient upper body strength and shoulder/core stability to perform it. Mastery of the traditional bird dog exercise is a prerequisite for moving to this exercise pattern.
Begin in a quadruped position on the floor placing a stability training pad or aerex pad beneath the right knee. Be sure to retract the cervical spine and maintain a neutral spine angle. Slowly raise the right hand off the floor moving into shoulder flexion while simultaneously lifting the left leg up into extension. Pause at the top for 1 second and then slowly lower the right arm and left leg toward the start position stopping just shy of touching them down to the floor. Repeat this sequence for 5-10 repetitions. Switch the pad to beneath the left knee and repeat. perform 2-3 sets.
Note: This is a challenging maneuver that requires high effort/attention. Quality of the movement along with proper alignment and stability should be the primary focus, and the speed of movement should be slower and deliberate.
1. Lift the foot of the down leg off the floor to create a smaller base of support and increase instability. This will require more anti-rotation stability.
2. Perform a diagonal bird dog pattern touching the elbow to the opposite knee.
For those who struggle to maintain form and control, allow the hand and knee of the moving arm/leg touch during each repetition.
Application: This exercise is intended for advanced clientele who want or need to challenge shoulder, core and hip stability. The core must function in an anti-rotation fashion. This is a very effective way to target that pattern while also providing a demanding challenge for the shoulders, torso and hips. Loss of form is the key to determining the number of sets, reps, length of hold and proper step in the regression or progression. I employ this type of training for many of my athletes who are in need of spiral line work and added stability training.
Precautions: Sufficient upper body strength is a must for this exercise. Clients with wrist pain/weakness/injury, elbow and shoulder pathology should only perform this exercise provided they are symptom-free and have already mastered the traditional bird dog exercise symptom-free with satisfactory form.