Kierstin Elliott, Pilates Instructor at Beyond Basics
Exercise: Bird Dog Balance
Set Up: Start by getting into all fours, with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Establish a neutral spine with a slightly tucked chin and a slightly extended tailbone. Abs engaged, ribs knit gently together.
Execution: Inhale to prep, exhale to extend right arm forward and left leg back. Inhale to place both hand and knee back on the mat, exhale and extend left arm forward and right leg back. Keep alternating sides without losing neutral spine while maintaining a level pelvis.
Focus: Maintain a neutral spine! Avoid hiking the shoulder up towards the ear when extending arm forward. Engage lats and broaden collar bones to prevent this. Avoid shifting or dipping the pelvis when extending the leg back.
Importance: Fabulous exercise for balance, stability, coordination, and core strength.
Modifications: For people with wrist sensitivities, keep reps to a minimum. For an added challenge, raise knees 2 inches off the mat while performing the exercise.