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Functional Exercises: Rotation

We’ve gotten to the end of the month already. But before we say goodbye to July let’s get into another functional movement. So far, we have gone over five of the 7 functional movements. The hinge, squat, lunge, push, and pull movements. If you missed those, here’s a link to access them as well as other great tips to help you with your journey.

This month’s highlight is on rotation. Specifically, rotation of the trunk. As a reminder, your trunk is where your ribs are housed. It’s where your shoulders attach to your body, where your legs and hips attach, and where your head and neck attach to the rest of your body. It’s your back and stomach areas. Rotation of the trunk involves turning, twisting, or moving around a fixed point.

We perform the rotation movement when we get in and out of a car. When we walk, there is rotation. Think about it, while you’re walking you may have to turn a curve or change directions. We rotate our necks when we look to the left or right of us. When we reach for things above our heads, we rotate at the shoulder. Passing or throwing something to someone to the right or left of you involves rotation of the trunk.

Rotation exercises generally target the head/neck, trunk, shoulders, hips, and ankles. As I said earlier, our focus today is on the trunk. Meaning, it includes your abdomen. Before we get deeper into this, I’m not a fan of doing only ab workouts. When you exercise in general you target your abs. If you can sit up in a chair without falling over, your abs are there, and they are working. Targeting abs in a workout will build your abs, but that’s not how they become visible. This is where your eating habits come in. Abs are built in the gym but defined and found in the kitchen.

We aren’t Lego pieces built to move stiffly. Our joints were built for twisting and turning. However, as we age or become less active (the two usually run together) we lose the ability to move as freely as we once were able to do. THIS statement is the single-handed reason why it is important that you perform functional exercises when working out. We do these movements daily and we don’t want to lose the ability to be able to do them as we age. And if you’ve aged and your joints don’t move as smooth as they once did, exercising and performing functional movements help to improve that movement. And if you’re saying, “Well tell my knees that.” Yes, bring your knees here so that I can tell them that exercising can improve their stiffness.

We have fluid in our joints that chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, gout, and being overweight or obese cause this fluid to begin drying up. Knee injuries can cause it too. Ivy, what’s one of the leading causes of these chronic illnesses, you ask? Not exercising. So, what better way to improve that stiffness during rotation? Stretching and exercising.

With that, let’s get into trunk rotation. It targets your abdominal, hip, and back muscles. It not only improves joint movement and range of motion, but it also improves back pain by reducing back injuries from learning proper posture while performing these movements. This means it improves posture as well as improves balance and helps to balance and transfer the force through multiple joints used when moving (walking, getting up from sitting, reaching for something, lifting something, running, swimming).

Trunk Rotation Exercises

Russian Twists

Standing Stabilizations


Diagonal Crunches

Dumbbell Punches

Landmine Twists

Rotational Press

Band Twist

Ball Wall Slams

Laying Trunk Rotations

Add these to your arsenal and after we close out with functional exercises, I’ll help you choose and group exercises for better results. If you aren’t sure how to perform these exercises, check out Google. I selected exercise names that you should have no problem finding online.

As always, remember to keep your shoulders back and chest up when standing. When laying on the floor performing core exercises, imagine you have an orange between your neck and your chest and work to keep your chin from touching your chest.

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