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Ankle Grab and Dead Bug Ab Superset Exercise

This exercise is a combination movement that uses two exercises, the ankle grab and the dead bug. A combination movement involves performing one exercise for a set of prescribed repetitions and immediately performing the next exercise without resting. Often called “superset” this method will allow you to increase the intensity of the exercise while reducing the amount of exercise time (if you were to perform the two exercises separate).

An example of a superset (or combination movement is as follows):

Perform 12 repetitions of the ankle grab: Without resting perform 12 repetitions for the dead bug. That is considered one “superset:.

This is more of an intermediate/advanced method and if you are a beginner, I suggest that you get a few ab workouts under your belt before you attempt a superset. For more information on supersets, see this page here.

First, perform the ankle grab as shown below.

Once you've finished the ankle grab, immediately perform the dead bug, as shown below.

Position for the ankle grab exercise

Lie down on the ground with your back flat against the floor with your knees bent and hands at your sides. Keep your head level and look straight up.

Execution of the ankle grab exercise

Using your abdominals, raise your shoulders slightly off the ground and using your right arm reach to grab your ankle. Once you touch your ankle use the other arm to touch your left arm to touch your other left ankle. Your movement should be a “back and forth” motion alternating between your left and right arm.

Once you’ve completed the prescribed repetitions for the ankle grab exercise, immediately move onto the dead bug exercise.

Dead Bug Position

To star, lie on the ground with your back flat on the ground with your knees bent and hands at your sides. Lift your knees up until they form a 90 degree angle. At the same time raise your arms straight up until they are perpendicular to your legs. Hence the “dead bug” look.

Execution of the Dead Bug Exercise

Slowly extend your left leg to full extension without allow your foot to touch the ground. Your extended leg should be 2 to 3 inches off the ground. Pause for a second and retract your leg back to the dead bug position and extend your right leg to full extension. Pause for a second and retract your leg to the starting dead bug position. Repeat until your repetitions are complete.


Ankle grabs: Breathe in as you reach with your left arm and breathe out as you reach with your right arm
Dead bugs: Breathe in as you extend with your left leg and breathe out as you bring your left leg back in. Repeat with your right leg.

Important points for the ankle grab and dead bug superset.

·         When performing the ankle grab, keep your shoulders off the floor. When you reach for your ankle, make sure your shoulders are off the floor and you are looking straight up. Once you start looking towards your ankles your will drop your shoulders.

·         When performing the dead bug, make sure you keep your feet off the floor. They should be at least 3 inches off the floor and never allow them to touch. Doing so will keep constant contraction on your abdominal region (belly). Remember, pause slightly when you bring your knee upwards, before extending your other leg.

·         For the dead bug, your knees should be bent at 90 degrees.

·         If you feel any cramping in your abdominals, please stop the exercise

For more information on combination movements, see these pages here "what is a super set" and "what is a tri set".

Video for the ankle grab and dead bug superset exercise

Related Exercises:

Standing side bend and knee ups

Dumbbell knee raise exercise

Bicycle crunches

Over his 30 plus years of experience, Blake Bissaillion has worked with nationally ranked body builders, power lifters and fitness professionals. In this time he has picked up volumes of applied knowledge that he openly shares with his clients. Mr. Bissaillion’s objective is to help as many beginners to weight training and fitness to achieve their weight loss and fitness goals while getting into their best possible shape. Mr. Bissaillion owns and operates Belly Be Gone, a fitness company that offers fitness and nutritional guidance and products.

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