Anti-rotation Core Exercises: What They Are & 3 Ways to Try

WWe all know that core strength is important, but knowing exactly how to strengthen your core strength can be confusing, especially for beginners. Should you do sit-ups? Plank? What about the new buzzword on social media: anti-rotation exercise?

Although anti-rotation core exercises have been used by athletes for many years, the term has become more prevalent lately—especially for “fitfluencers” that promise a solution to pain. your back. However, most people are still not sure what “anti-rotation exercises” really are.

Well, as the name implies, an anti-rotation exercise challenges your trunk against rotation. “Anti-rotation exercises are core and shoulder exercises that require you to resist rotational forces while you work,” says Luke Greenwell, DPT, a certified physical therapist and strength and conditioning specialist. maintain a particular position — standing, sitting, or lying on your back. at RecoveryRx Physiotherapy. “Resistance can come from cable machines, resistance bands, or free weights.”

Dr. Greenwell says that because anti-rotation exercises require the body to resist rotation, they are great for isolating the four main areas of the body:

  1. Stabilizers of the shoulder: deltoid, pectoralis major, rhombus, trapezius, and rotator cuff.
  2. Major rotator cuff muscles: internal and external obliques.
  3. Deep core muscles: transverse abs in front and lumbar and erector sphincter in back.
  4. Muscles that stabilize the hip: glutes, hip abductors, and hip adductors.

How do anti-rotation exercises ease back pain?

Since anti-rotation exercises strengthen the deep core muscles, they are one of the most effective ways to protect your spine—and avoid back pain.

“The spine is a very mobile structure, moving in many planes of motion. Therefore, it needs both passive and active stabilizers to protect it from injury,” explains Dr. Greenwell. “In many cases, we are required to lift or resist rotational forces throughout the day, and so we need to build resilience to reduce the risk of injury.”

Dr. Greenwell says anti-rotation exercises are very effective compared to other core exercises because they require you to focus exclusively on your core while stabilizing against multiple directional forces. In contrast, movements such as sit-ups or sit-ups actively contract only one muscle group in one plane of motion.

“By strengthening the shoulder, core and hip muscles, we can increase the load we can take on through the spine,” says Dr. Greenwell. “The muscles in the shoulders, core, and hips are all connected through fascia planes that provide stability to the spine.”

Three anti-rotation exercises to try

Try incorporating anti-rotation exercises into your routine a few times a week to start and gradually increase to three or four times a week. “I find the most success doing these exercises in the middle or at the end of a workout when you are a bit tired because this is when your body is usually at higher risk of injury and needs to be strengthened during this time, ‘ said Dr. Greenwell.

He suggests choosing one anti-rotation exercise when standing and one when sitting or lying on your back. Try to keep it as functional as possible—meaning it has to mimic everyday movements. Here are the three moves he recommends:

1. Pallof Press

This anti-rotation exercise works your core and shoulders.

  • Attach a resistance band to a pole or fixture, or use a cable exercise machine. You can do the exercise kneeling or standing, but the band should be at chest height. You must be far enough away from the anchor point to have tension on the rope.
  • Hold the strap towards your chest.
  • Contract your core and clench your glutes, straightening your arms by pushing them away from your chest against the tension of the rope.
  • Hold the extension for a full breath and then slowly bring your arms back to your chest.
  • Do 12 to 15 repetitions. Rest for a minute. Make three sets.

2. Anti-rotation dead error

“This is a little more difficult than the Pallof exercise because your feet are not fixed on the ground,” says Dr. Greenwell.

  • Lie on your back in dead bug position with your knees and hips bent at 90 degrees and your hands in front of your chest holding a resistance band or rope grip. You should feel the tension in the strap as you did with the Pallof Press.
  • Making the same push, press the handle of the band or cable straight up to the ceiling without letting the band pull your arm or body to the side.
  • Do 12 to 15 repetitions. Rest for a minute. Make three sets.

3. Lunge with anti-rotation hold

  • While holding the cable or resistance band with the anchor at your side, push the rope away from your body and do a lunge while not letting the rope rotate your torso toward the anchor point.
  • Continue alternating jumps while keeping your core activated and trunk as stable as possible.
  • Do 12 reps on each side (24 folds in total). Rest for a minute. Make three sets.


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