Strong to the Core Challenge: Standing Bird Dog Progressions

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Work the forgotten muscles of your core and help protect your back with this powerful exercise.


When most people think of working the abs, they’re thinking about the front and side muscles, says SilverSneakers Master Trainer Andi. But there are unseen, often forgotten, muscles deep in your core that have an important role in stabilizing your spine. We’re talking about the transverse abdominis muscles. They wrap around your sides and your spine, earning them the nickname “corset muscle.” 

Because they’re tucked away, these deep core muscles are often overlooked in many traditional ab workouts. Give them enough attention, though, and they can help you stay steady on your feet and prevent back pain.     

That’s where the bird dog exercise comes in. It’s one of the best moves to target this part of your core. Typically, a bird dog is done on your hands and knees. Here, SilverSneakers Master Trainer Andi shows you how to reap the same benefits without getting down on the floor.   

How to Use the Standing Bird Dog Progressions 

You’ll just need yourself and a sturdy chair for standing support to get started. As you do these standing bird dog variations, remember to keep your core engaged. Resist the urge to lean side to side or twist. And try to keep your shoulders over your hips.   

These movements are gentle enough to be done every day. So give these variations a try and incorporate your favorites into your own workouts at home or at the gym.  

As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.  


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Standing Bird Dog Progressions in Action: Two SilverSneakers Classes to Try 

Every muscle group gets some attention in our popular SilverSneakers LIVE Total Body Strength class. It’s a 45-minute workout designed to help you move through your days with greater ease. See the latest SilverSneakers LIVE schedule and RSVP for classes here.     

Or join a SilverSneakers Circuit class. This standing class mixes strength-training with cardio for a full-body workout. It’s offered at participating SilverSneakers fitness locations (review the gym’s schedule for exact times) and through SilverSneakers LIVE. 

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