PT Positions Gone Wild: The Dead Bug and the Tabletop

PT Hip Rehab

Reverse the genders and whiten the legs, and there I am!

They’re stepping it up at PT in terms of exercises (and kicking my butt), and yesterday they taught me the “Dead Bug” and the “Tabletop.” Of course the Hubs and I now call that last one the “Table Dancer” because that’s how we roll, but really…


They already have me doing two called the “Backloader” and the “Side-lying clamshell” and I’ve been giggling about those for more than a week.

So I asked my PT guys: “What comes next week, the Cockroach and the Stripper Pole?”

Thankfully, they are amused by me. And they don’t mind if I turn around so that my lily-white “cash and prizes” are not facing the door when I wear shorts. In fact, after the introduction of the six new exercises today (Dead Bug among them), I don’t think I’ll be wearing any loose shorts there ever again.

As I said to them, “My husband hasn’t even seen me from that angle. I promise you, no one else wants to either.”

Note: PT stands for Physical Therapy and it’s what they’re doing to me now that my Cruella days are over.

I’ve decided one of my new missions in life is to see if I can name up a cool new PT exercise. At the very least, I’ve been renaming all the ones I do now to stuff that makes me laugh.

For example:

  • The “Suck It In” (involves sucking your tummy in as hard as you can while laying on your back). And they want you to breathe normally. It really makes no sense to me.
  • Side-lying clamshell (feet together, knees opening like a clam) – I just graduated to using a band for this. p.s. That’s a stretchy band, not a bunch of rockstars who crash my PT. By the way, clamshell is the real name – I couldn’t top it. Ditto with “Dead Bug.”
  • The “Backloader” (on your back, knees bent, heel pressed into table – your foot mimics the backloader that slides dirt toward your butt, one foot at a time).
  • The “A$$ Clench” is exactly what it sounds like – you hold them cheeks together. Tight. For a count of ten. They usually call it the “Glute Squeeze.” My version is: “Do y’all want me to squinch up my butt cheeks now?”

Attractive, no? It’s a good thing these PT guys are hot.

Just for a good visual, here’s the Dead Bug, demonstrated by one of the narrowest men I’ve ever seen. And by the way, they started me off with all the arms going – there was no “working up to it.” Bastards.

Do you have any cool exercise names to share with me? (They don’t have to be real.) Also, any good hip stretches? Enquiring minds need to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

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About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! My passion is finding those qualities that are unique in every person and every piece of fiction. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
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25 Responses to PT Positions Gone Wild: The Dead Bug and the Tabletop

  1. Sue says:

    Haha! Don’t you wish you had the job of “Naming Things”? I think God gave that job to Adam initially- dude didn’t know what he was giving up when he ate that apple.

    The Dead Bug exercise looks like the one I do that I call “The Ab-Ball Thingy” (precisely why I was not promoted to “Namer” after Adam). You basically do the same motions, but while supporting an exercise ball with the arm and leg up in the air. Perhaps you could mention it to your PT person for next time. (Insert cruel chuckle)


  2. I would describe all of my former PT exercises with the same word: humiliating. They reminded me of the “stretches” my female high school gym teacher used to have us girls do: kneel, bend back and grip your heels, then push your chest out as far as you can. I always thought it was odd that the boys never had to do that one…


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That is the dumbest exercise I’ve ever heard of for gym class, Kelly. Geesh, what were they thinking? If you were all gonna be gymnasts, yes, because that move is supremely helpful when you’re on the bars. But if you just want to stretch, there are much better ways.


  3. ericjbaker says:

    Yesterday i did the “blog sprint,” which is when you don’t feel like posting but should so you knock out a quickie of limited content value. To be fair, I did point out in the text that it was worthless. That’s how much I love my readers. “Here are my table scraps. Love me?”

    Good to see you’re up and clamshelling again.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That’s hilarious, Eric. You know, your blog is your conversation. It doesn’t ALWAYS have to be about something of major value. I mean, for God sakes we blog about underpants here. Often. And we have a hilarious time doing it. :-)


  4. Jane Sadek says:

    Clamshell kind of sounds like yoga move we go through. We do it on our backs and she doesn’t call it a clamshell, but it really opens up your leg and groin muscles. I think yoga and PT have a lot of similarities. I never look like those thin graceful girls doing yoga on TV, but i love it anyway.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Jane, I agree there similarities, but yoga names are so much prettier! They’d call that clamshell something floaty like “the butterfly.” My place has Pilates equipment there too, and I can see how combining that with yoga would give you the body of the century. :-)


  5. tomwisk says:

    I’ve got three: Cobra and Baby Cobra on your belly Baby w/ elbows and arching back, Cobra w/ palms and arching. My favorite Ball on the Wall yoga ball between back and wall, moving into sitting position and back up. Usually with trainer cheering you on.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Tom, I like Ball on the Wall a LOT, but my hip isn’t ready for it. I just started using a single crutch around the house to see if I could do it. I can! But only if I really use the crutch properly. Steps on my own are still painful as hell, but my flexibility is going way up.


  6. K.B. Owen says:

    I’ll bet the entire PT dept gets a kick out of your visits, Jenny! You probably jazz up their day. I’d probably start naming the exercises after food: the eggroll, the cookie crumble, the kielbasa…heading off to the kitchen now… ;)


  7. The Dead Bug sounds simple to me. Dead things don’t move, so . . . I’ll do that repeatedly. If you’re actually moving, then it should be called the zombie.

    This all sounds suspiciously like going to the gym with abs and glutes clenching.

    I know it’s awful, but at least you’re finding the humor in the situation. Keep it up and you’ll be better than before. And you’ll have some good wine to enjoy when it’s all said and done.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yes, I will have some magnificent wine! (I’m finally blogging on that this week. :-) )

      The entire PT session seems to totally focus on my abdominals, so those are getting stronger than they been in a while. I *guess* that’s a bonus…


  8. Better than yoga poses :) Hang tough and keep laughing.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You’ve got to admit, Melanie, yoga poses sound MUCH prettier! I will be hanging tough, although there isn’t a lot of choice in that matter, and Lord knows I’ll be laughing constantly. :-)

      Happy Anniversary again. I hope you went somewhere FAB!


  9. Dave says:

    I recommend child’s pose, pigeon (or half pigeon), warrior poses 1 & 2. You can also search on hip flexor stretches. You might not be quite ready for them, but they feel great for working out lower back and hip pain.

    Equally important is the cooldown portion of your stretching regimen. For that, I recommend a nice, cold beer. 2014 is an excellent year, something along the lines of an amber ale will help relax the hips and brain.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL. Dave, I like you already. Feel free to send us videos of these pigeon poses. I have a feeling there will be a lot more yoga in my life on the other side of this PT. They do tons of pilates there as well.


  10. What’s dead about that bug? Looks more like something that would kill the bug. :)

    I don’t know if the exercises I had in PT actually had names or not. They probably did and it just didn’t register at the time. My favorite exercises were always with the cute guy therapist named Scott, and I’d pretty much do anything he suggested. :)

    When I first started PT, I could barely walk. One doctor told me I should just give up and start using a wheelchair. I decided to show her that not only would I NOT use a wheelchair – ever – but I’d do so well no one could ever tell I’d been in an accident. And I’ve proven that.

    I credit the stretches my therapists had me doing every day for my success. Three in particular helped stretch my hips and lower back, which were most injured in the accident. The rules for each one are the same … get into the position JUST UNTIL YOU FEEL A PULL, then hold each one for at least 20 seconds … but no longer than 2 minutes.

    1. Bend at the waist and just hang there.

    2. Lying on flat surface (I use my bed), bend knees, feet flat on the surface/heels close to butt. Drop both knees to right – hold, then drop to left and hold.

    3. You need a partner for this (my daughter helps me when I feel like I need this one). Lying down, legs flat on the surface, your partner lifts each leg (one at a time) straight up (or as high as you can get it until you feel a pull). THEN, they lift the right leg just high enough to cross the left, and then the left over the right.

    Holding the stretches for at least twenty seconds – but no more than two minutes – helps your muscles remember to stay loose, or something like that – it’s been four years and I’ve forgotten the scientific explanation. But I still do them to this day. And to this day, I walk like a normal person and can really hoof it at the grocery store – and anywhere else I care to go. And the only time I EVER used a wheelchair was when I fell hard on my left knee – on a tile covered concrete floor – and was in a brace for a few weeks. I wasn’t shopping on crutches. :D


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I totally thought I responded to this amazing comment already! Thanks for these stretches, I’ve been doing the ones you can do without a partner and you’re right, they rock. PT feels like its going slow but I’m making huge strides. My hubs just looked at me and was like, “Hello?! You had major surgery less than 6 weeks ago!”. He’s sooooo logical.


  11. Pingback: The Year I Became Bionic (#BOAW2015) | Jenny Hansen's Blog

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