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Beginner and Advanced ways to implement Rotation and Anti-Rotation Movements into your program

Beginner and Advanced ways to implement Rotation and Anti-Rotation Movements into your program

When planning a new workout program, most lifters focus their efforts on flexion and extension. And hey, that’s not exactly out of the ordinary – flexion and extension are the primary movements the body makes. But what about when you twist your torso to pick something up off the counter, or hold a serving platter with one arm? That’s all rotation and anti-rotation. Check out the two workouts below for beginner and advanced ways to implement these important movements into your program.  


A1) 1 Arm DB Press, 3x8/side: This particular single arm variation is one of the easier anti-rotation exercises because the bench only allows for so much torso movement, so we’ll start here. Lay down on a bench with both feet flat on the floor and a dumbbell in one hand. Like any other press, push the dumbbell towards the ceiling until your elbow is locked out. Slowly lower it to the starting position and repeat.   A2) 1 Arm Cable Row, 3x8side: By now, you’ve probably realized that many single arm variations create rotation/anti-rotation movements. Don’t forget it. Attach a D-shaped handle to a cable machine and stand directly in front of it, one hand on the handle and feet slightly wider than shoulder-width. Pull your shoulder blades down and back, tucking them in. Now, using a neutral grip, perform a one arm row. During the motion, fight any rotation that you feel.   B) Slider Reverse Lunge, 3x8/side: For this exercise, you’ll need a single furniture slider or a slick floor with a sock or rag. Stand in an upright position with feet together and place one foot on the slider. Slowly slide your foot backwards into a reverse lunge. When your knee is nearly touching the floor, press your foot down into the ground and push yourself back to the start. Don’t let your body rotate to the lunging side.   C1) Barbell Landmine Press, 3x10/side: A traditional landmine utilizes a special piece of equipment that allows for true rotation and anti-rotation, but this barbell alternative works similarly. Set up with the end of a barbell positioned against a wall – this keeps it set in place. Hold the other end of the barbell in one hand at the shoulder in a cocked position. With feet set shoulder-width, slowly press the barbell out and up. It should feel like a cross between an overhead and incline press. Don’t let your body rotate toward the pressing side.   C2) Kneeling Cable Press, 3x10/side: Attach a D-shaped handle to a cable machine, hold it on one hand, and turn to face away from the machine. Now, drop into a lunge position. Hold the handle at your side at about chest level – the start of most pressing movements. Press forward, locking your elbow, then return to the start. During the movement, make sure to keep your body nice and straight. You’ll be tempted to twist down and to the side performing the press, but fight it.   D) 1 Arm Plank, 3xTime: If you know how to do a plank, you know how to do a 1 arm plank. Start in a pushup position, but rest on your forearms instead of your hands. Slowly raise one arm off the floor and place it across your chest. Make sure your hips are neutral and not sitting at a tilt, maintain a nice straight line, and hold this position.   Advanced: A1) 1 Arm Overhead Press, 3x8/side: This is one step above the single arm bench press. Stand in an upright position with feet at shoulder-width and a slight knee bend. Hold a dumbbell in one hand in a cocked position at the shoulder. Slowly press the dumbbell towards the ceiling until your elbow is locked, then return to the start. Depending on where your strengths and weaknesses lie, your body may try to rotate in a number of directions – don’t let it.   A2) Renegade Row, 3x5/side: Disclaimer: start with an easy weight. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and drop into a pushup position – this is the starting position. Start by pushing your body slightly to the left side, then row with your right arm. Now, push your body slightly to the right side and row with your left arm. Each time you make this movement, check to make sure your hips are neutral. During the actual row, your hips may feel shaky and dip to either side – try to minimize this movement.   B) TRX Supported 1 Arm 1 Leg Squat, 3x8/side: The name makes this exercise sound much more complicated than it is. Set a TRX to mid-length, stand directly in front of it, and grip with only one hand. Raise one foot off the ground, push your hips back, and drop into a single leg squat. Fighting any rotation, push back to the starting position. Try this movement using same arm/same leg, then opposite arm/leg. You may find one to be more difficult than the other.   C1) Standing Cable Twist, 3x10/side: Attach a D-handle to a cable machine, grip it with both hands, and stand perpendicular to the machine. Settle into a nice soft stance, feet shoulder-width and knees slightly bent. Extend your arms straight out in front of your body, then let your torso twist towards the machine – that’s the start. Now, keeping your elbows locked throughout the motion, use your torso to rotate your body as far to the right as possible. Repeat on the opposite side.   C2) TRX Pendulum, 3xTime: Set a TRX to mid-calf length, place both feet in the foot cradles, and drop into a pushup position. Use your hips to initiate a swinging motion, allowing your feet to swing from side to side. It’s easy to get crazy with this exercise, so focus on maintaining a nice controlled swing throughout the movement.   D) TRX 1 Arm Rollout, 3x6/side: Set a TRX to long length, grip with one hand, and face away from the anchor point. Allow your other arm to rest across your chest. Start with the handle directly in front of your chest. Slowly allow your body to fall or “roll” forward, raising the handle above your head. Return to the starting position when your lower back feels like it’s on the brink of collapse. Don’t allow your off shoulder to rotate inward.   What You Need To Know: Exercises sharing the same letter are paired – perform one set of A1, rest, 1 set of A2, rest, and repeat until all sets are finished. All other exercises function normally. Use these two progressive workouts to supplement your training as needed. Rotation and anti-rotation movements are so important that you don’t need to worry about doing too much, but always use common sense.