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Half Bird Dog 101 Video Tutorial

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Half Bird Dog
Half Bird Dog

Exercise Synopsis

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The exercise "Half Bird Dog" is a bodyweight movement designed to strengthen the core muscles, specifically targeting the abdominals with secondary emphasis on the lower back. It involves starting on all fours with hands directly beneath shoulders and knees beneath hips, then extending one arm forward while simultaneously extending the opposite leg straight back until they are parallel to the ground. This position is held briefly to engage and stabilize the core muscles before returning to the starting position and repeating on the other side. The Half Bird Dog improves core strength, stability, and balance without requiring any additional equipment, making it accessible for various fitness levels.

How to Perform

  1. Starting Position: Begin on your hands and knees on a mat or stable surface. Ensure your wrists are directly beneath your shoulders and your knees are directly beneath your hips, forming a tabletop position.

  2. Engage Core: Tighten your core muscles to stabilize your spine and pelvis throughout the exercise. This engagement will help protect your lower back and enhance the effectiveness of the exercise.

  3. Extend Arm: Keeping your core engaged, slowly extend your right arm forward until it is parallel to the ground. Your palm should be facing inward, and your arm should be fully extended from shoulder to fingertips.

  4. Extend Leg: Simultaneously extend your left leg straight back until it is parallel to the ground. Keep your toes pointed towards the ground, and your leg should be fully extended from hip to heel.

  5. Hold Position: Hold the extended position briefly (about 1-2 seconds) to maximize engagement of your core muscles and improve stability. Focus on keeping your hips and shoulders level throughout.

  6. Return to Starting Position: Slowly lower your arm and leg back to the starting tabletop position, maintaining control and stability. Avoid letting your hand or knee touch the ground between repetitions to keep tension on your core muscles.

  7. Repeat on Opposite Side: Perform the same movement with your left arm and right leg. Extend your left arm forward and your right leg back, holding briefly before returning to the starting position.

  8. Complete Repetitions: Aim to perform 10-15 repetitions on each side to complete one set. Gradually increase the number of sets as your core strength improves.

  9. Breathing: Coordinate your breathing with your movements. Inhale as you extend your arm and leg, and exhale as you return to the starting position.

  10. Form Tips: Maintain a neutral spine throughout the exercise, avoiding any arching or rounding of your back. Focus on stability and control rather than speed.

  11. Progressions: To increase difficulty, you can hold the extended position for a longer duration, add a brief pause at the top, or incorporate small pulses while holding the position.

  12. Cool Down: After completing your sets, gently stretch your core muscles and lower back to promote flexibility and reduce tension.


  1. Start in a tabletop position with hands directly beneath shoulders and knees beneath hips to maintain stability and alignment.

  2. Engage your core muscles throughout the exercise to stabilize your spine and pelvis, preventing overarching or rounding of the back.

  3. Extend one arm forward and the opposite leg straight back until they are parallel to the ground, focusing on lengthening from fingertips to heel.

  4. Hold the extended position briefly (1-2 seconds) to maximize activation of your abs and lower back muscles, ensuring hips and shoulders remain level.

  5. Avoid overarching or rotating your torso; keep your core tight to maintain a neutral spine alignment.

  6. Control the movement as you return to the starting position, maintaining stability and avoiding abrupt movements.

  7. Alternate sides by extending the opposite arm and leg, ensuring balanced engagement of both sides of the core.

  8. Breathe deeply and rhythmically throughout the exercise, inhaling as you extend and exhaling as you return to the starting position.

  9. Aim for smooth and controlled movements rather than speed, focusing on proper form and muscle engagement.

  10. Gradually increase the number of repetitions and sets as your core strength improves, challenging yourself while maintaining proper technique.

How Not to Perform

  1. Avoid Arching the Back: Do not arch your lower back excessively when extending your leg backward. Keep your core engaged to maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.

  2. Avoid Rounding the Back: Similarly, do not round your back or hunch your shoulders when extending your arm forward. Keep your spine aligned from head to tailbone.

  3. Do Not Hold Your Breath: Avoid holding your breath during the exercise. Instead, breathe deeply and rhythmically to maintain oxygen flow and support muscle engagement.

  4. Avoid Jerky Movements: Do not perform the exercise with jerky or uncontrolled movements. Smoothly extend your arm and leg, and return to the starting position with control to maximize muscle activation.

  5. Do Not Lift Too High: Avoid lifting your extended leg or arm higher than parallel to the ground. Focus on maintaining a straight line from fingertips to heel for optimal muscle engagement.

  6. Do Not Forget Core Engagement: Do not neglect to engage your core muscles throughout the exercise. Keep your abdominals and lower back muscles tight to stabilize your spine and pelvis.

  7. Avoid Twisting the Torso: Do not twist your torso or hips excessively when extending your arm and leg. Keep your movements controlled and maintain alignment.

  8. Do Not Rush the Exercise: Avoid rushing through the Half Bird Dog. Focus on quality over quantity, performing each repetition with proper form and technique.

  9. Avoid Overextending: Do not hyperextend your joints when reaching your arm and leg. Maintain a slight bend in your elbow and knee to prevent strain on the joints.

  10. Do Not Neglect Balance: Ensure you maintain balance throughout the exercise by distributing your weight evenly between your supporting arm and leg.


Variations of fitness exercises refer to different ways of performing a specific exercise or movement to target various muscle groups, intensities, or goals. These variations aim to challenge the body differently, prevent plateaus, and cater to individuals with varying fitness levels.


Alternative exercises in fitness refer to different movements or activities that target similar muscle groups or serve the same training purpose as the primary exercise. These alternative exercises can be used as substitutes when the original exercise is unavailable or challenging to perform due to various reasons such as equipment limitations, injuries, or personal preferences.