May 22 and we have made it to Friday. Today’s funky Friday Movement is going to be a tabata of bird dog exercise mixed with fire hydrants. So a tabata is 8 rounds of 20 seconds of intense work followed by 10 seconds of rest for a total of 4 minutes. For our tabata we will do 4 rounds of bird dog and 4 rounds of fire hydrants. For both exercises we start on our hand and knees with our hands right below our shoulders and our knees right below our hips. For both exercises we want to engage our core and abdominal muscles. Imagine you are tightening a corset around your waistline. Keep your spine in a neutral position, avoid any excessive sagging or arching. Pull the shoulder blades toward your hips. In bird dog you are going to raise the opposite arm and leg so right arm and left leg. Attempt to raise the arm until it is at, or near parallel, to the floor. Do not allow the shoulders to tilt upward. Keep both shoulders parallel to the floor. Your head is an extension of your spine and should remain aligned with the spine throughout the movement. Do not lift the head or let it sag downward. Lift the leg off the floor until it is at or near parallel to the floor. The leg should not be lifted above hip height. This will help to avoid upward rotation at the hip. Gently lower yourself back to your starting position, maintaining balance and stability in the shoulders, pelvis and torso. when you go to change sides and lift the left arm and right leg, work very hard to keep the abdominals engaged. Imagine knitting your ribs together as though you were lacing up a tennis shoe. When you change sides, try to do so with minimal weight shift. Do not flop from one side to the next. Maintain balance and control. The bird-dog is an excellent exercise to train the body how to stabilize the lumbar spine (low back) during upper and lower extremity movement. Never exceed your ability to control movement in the low back. For the fire hydrants, Position yourself on all fours with shoulders wide apart and palms flat. Keep your knees, hip wide apart and bend them at a 90-degrees angle. Keep your back straight, raise your right thigh and bring it close to your chest as much as you can. Then raise the same thigh out to the side by keeping the hips still. Now, kick your raised leg slowly in the backward position. Now perform these steps with your left leg. If you want a tougher workout then do a full tabata (all 8 rounds) of bird dog, followed by a full tabata of fire hydrants.