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Perturb the Bird Dog for Better Balance and Spinal Stability

This article is a continuation of the first article that introduced how we use the "perturbation" to help our clients understand how and why they'll need better core and spinal stability to help avoid injuries like:

If you haven't read the first article, I'd recommend reading it here: "How To Stabilize Your Lower Back and Pelvis to Prevent Herniated Discs and Other Injuries"

The Cross Crawl (or Bird Dog) exercise is a great chiropractic tool to reinforce people's ability to stabilize and control their spine while getting good flexibility from their hips and shoulders.  Specifically, we're looking at extending the hips and flexing the shoulders while learning how to have rotational stability in the spine. The better you can stabilize the spine and torso while moving your body, the better balance and control you'll have while staying safe from injury.  

We perform this exercise differently by adding the "perturbation" highlighted in the last article. Bullying them around a bit is a fantastic way to more effectively assess whether they have the stability and control that we're looking for, but also it communicates any shortcomings the client/patient might have while moving their body in this position. They can really feel how they aren't able to maintain their balance in the presence of instability.

If the patient/client fails this test (and it is a pass/fail test), then you recommend that they perform this as an exercise on a daily basis. That's right! The test becomes the homework too! Only 1 set of 10 repetitions is necessary at any given time, however, if they'd like to perform several sets throughout their day, that would be ideal.  

Be sure to check that the client isn't using any of the following "cheats" during the test:

  • holding the breath
  • moving too quickly
  • not moving into a full extension of the legs or full flexion of the shoulders

We're looking at extending the hips and flexing the shoulders while learning how to have rotational stability in the spine. The better you can 

stabilize the spine and torso while moving your body, the better balance

and control you'll have while staying safe from injury.

For a more complete description of the exercise shown here, check out the write up of "Cross Crawl" exercise.

 

Good luck! Please leave a comment below to let me know if this article is helpful for you.

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