Neuro Twitch Bird Dogs and Deadbugs

Last October I attended a fantastic 2-day workshop put on by strength coaches Dean Somerset and Tony Gentilcore. If you ever have a chance to hear them speak or attend a workshop they put on, I can't recommend it highly enough.

On Day 1, Dean took us through a 45-minute session on deadbug and bird dog progressions. While these exercises are often dismissed as being pointless and "too easy" by many, Dean made a great case for why anyone ranging from post-rehab patients to a pro football players could benefit from doing them regularly, along with just how challenging they are to perform when done correctly.

As we moved through the progressions, we arrived at a variation that I had never done before: "neuro twitch" deadbugs and bird dogs. Here is Dean demonstrating the bird dog variation:

(For the dead bug, you'd begin in the position of opposite hip extension and shoulder flexion, and then apply the same principles, "twitching" your opposite arm and leg up 6-8" toward the ceiling while tersely exhaling, returning them to the ground on each rep.)

I've been experimenting with them in my own training sessions, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't notice both tangible and intangible improvements.

When to do them? Due to the excitatory nature of the drills, there are two particular areas when they'd be especially beneficial to perform:

1. At the end of your warm-up, right before the main movement for the day.

2. In between sets of either sprinting fast of lifting heavy stuff.

The goal is to stay well clear of fatigue, so 2-5 reps per side should be plenty.

If you'd like more information behind the WHY these drills, read this article by Dean, within which he thoroughly dives into the why's and how's of these seemingly innocuous performance enhancers.