Dead Bug Exercise w/Levator Scapula Stretch
In human anatomy, the levator scapula is a skeletal muscle situated at the back and side of the neck.
The levator scapula originates from the posterior tubercle of the transverse process of cervical vertebrae one to four. The muscle is inserted into medial border of the scapula extending from superior angle to junction of spine and medial border of scapula.
The levator scapulae may lie deep to the sternocleidomastoideus at its origin, deep or adjacent to the splenius capitis at its origin and mid-portion, and deep to the trapezius in its lower portion.
When the spine is fixed the levator scapulae can be easily stretched in a combination with other muscles within that region.
The above taken from: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levator_scapulae_muscle)
Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com
As a reminder, the Dead Bug has many regressions/progressions but can be evolved to benefit your clients. Dead Bug variations are great to channel the squat patterns with reduced load; however, the specific concentric and eccentric actions of the limbs increases core activation than specific variations of regular ab workouts.
Consequently, this progression stemmed from the great responses we had from the Dead Bug pressing variations. More importantly, for athletes to get more positive feedback in the overactive upper body (neck/trap) region we found it would be good to include the two movements together (stretching the levator scapula) while moving the external limbs (like bugs and babies). *Side Note: There are many coordinated and uncoordinated movements of babies and bugs when lying on their back; normally with babies its learning efficient motor control and moving through space. The bug on the other hand is loosing life- decreased coordination and failing nervous system* On the other hand, when bugs tip over they use a variation of coordinated movements to roll themselves back over.
Hopefully you get the picture: ↑
Performing the levator scapula stretch in conjunction with the corresponding limb movement it is truly an anti-rotation variation; because if not careful you will easily find yourself rotating through the movement (like a bicycle ab workout). Therefore, ensure the core musculature is tight and engaged throughout the movement.
To perform correctly:
Every professional must find new ways to fix biomechanical weak links that are apparent through movement.