Deadbugs for Speed

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A lot of athletes do not realize how important core control is for speed development.

Good core stability will improve:

  • Hip flexion
  • Hip extension
  • Posture
  • Efficiency


These are all essential for maximizing technique. Unfortunately many athletes will run with their abs turned off and in extension. This will restrict hip range of motion which results in a shorter stride and wasted energy.

I really like deadbug variations for athletes because it helps improve a lot of the qualities needed for speed. Deadbugs train core stability with hip flexion and extension at the same time. This is exactly what happens in sprinting.

Try the following variations to improve your stability for good speed.

Plate Deadbug

The plate deadbug is the first on my list because it is the easiest to perform. Hold a weight above the chest and extend one leg out at a time, stopping right before your foot touches the ground.

The goal is to avoid arching the back as you extend your leg out.

Wall Press Deadbug

The same rules apply for the plate deadbug except it is going to be much harder to resist extending the spine.

Reaching overhead and pushing into the wall makes the rib cage want to flare up. We want to maintain a neutral position the whole time and that is the challenge of this variation.

Standard Deadbug

The standard deadbug requires a little bit of anti rotation because the arms will be moving as well. Reach with the opposite arm to the leg that is extending on this one.

When you are sprinting there is going to be a need to resist rotation. Rotation in a sprint is very inefficient. A lot of energy gets wasted. We need to fire our core and swing the arms forward/backward to avoid rotating.

SA Cable Deadbug

To increase that rotational resistance, we can add the cable machine. The cable is going to make it harder to stabilize. The arm still moves in opposition to the extending leg.

This will be much harder than a standard deadbug and provides a ton of benefits.

Mini Band Deadbug

I really like using the mini band for deadbugs. It might be my favorite variation. Using the band makes it harder to flex the hip, extend the knee, and brace the core.

It might be as close to a sprint as a core exercise can come.

You could do standard reps with this or get to the bottom position and hold for 6 deep breaths. You will definitely be feeling that.

After you start incorporating these exercises into your training, you must use the stability when you sprint.

Make sure you brace your core if you want to sprint fast, it makes a world of difference.

Many of you are not satisfied with your speed. You want more. This is one way to do it. Oh, and more efficient running helps with conditioning because you will conserve more energy.