An Alignment Key to the Bird Dog Exercise: Find and Optimize Your Core


“How can I tell when I’m in alignment for that exercise on the hands and knees? It was so hard!”

A client asked me this after a particularly challenging class she’d taken. 

It wasn’t challenging because the exercises required holding weights or doing a bunch of reps, but because she followed my cues and nailed her alignment.

When you nail your alignment, it exposes compensation patterns you might not realize you have and forces you to use parts of your body you bypass unconsciously.

And holy cow, does it ramp up the challenge (and benefits) factor in exercise!

That said, it can be hard to know when you’re in alignment because most of us are so used to our patterns they feel normal.

So, when you first start to find alignment, it feels weird or crooked, which is why alignment points are key.

These points provide a reference so you know where you are in any given exercise.

I LOVE using alignment points to fine-tune popular exercises and help you get more out of them.

And that’s what we’re up to in today’s video with an exercise on the hands and knees called Bird Dog.

(BTW, this is the exercise my client was asking about to know whether or not she was in alignment.)

Today you’ll learn a seemingly simple alignment shift that gives your core muscles no choice but to kick on and help out.

After you give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes. You can let me know in the comments below.

Happy shifting,


P.S. Combine what you learn with the tip from this 2021 video, and you’ll have a complete Bird Dog makeover!

P.P.S. Learning about alignment helped save my neck and shoulders after years of chronic pain.

Now I love helping you enhance your alignment, so you feel stronger and more flexible—and I’ve gotten really good at it!

If you’d love to learn more so you can feel more freedom and ease in your body, check out the Pilates Tonic Online (PTO) membership.

PTO is a self-paced membership that costs $55 a month.

Every month, PTO members receive the following:

  • Two live Zoom classes + the class recording (so you never have to worry about missing a class)
  • Two new movement videos 
  • The Membership Journey: a roadmap for alignment success so you get more out of every other exercise you do
  • Unlimited access to the PTO video library
  • Weekly emails

Learn more about Pilates Tonic Online and register…




Hi, I'm Sydney and I'm a Restorative Movement Specialist here at Pilates Tonic. My goal is to empower you with tools to connect and live in your body in new and better ways. I'm a passionate advocate for wellness through optimally aligned movement and I look forward to designing a customized alignment and movement program just for you! If you want to find out more, just give me a call at 423.702.5233, or email me at See you in the studio!

2 Responses

  1. Hi 😘 Sydney
    Love the bird dog , for mid back and multifidus strenght ( always sugesting, to my massage clients with low back pain )
    All is connected indeed !
    The alignment using the core , gives stability and more freedom to the shoulder/neck
    Much love and sunshine ☀️

    1. Thanks for sharing and for the love and sunshine, Tania! ☀ It’s been super rainy here, so we need it. It’s always great to hear from you! Lots of love back to you! ❤

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