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My Favourite Advanced Trunk Endurance Exercises.

To be a great coach they say you need to be a great thief.  Or in other you need to be a very keen observer of what is going on around you and willing to snap up good ideas and training strategies at any chance possible.  I think this is absolutely true for not just coaching, strength and conditioning but also physio.

I have been lucky enough to travel the world working in professional sport and I have always been on the look at.  Here are some my favourite advanced trunk endurance exercises, some of which I developed and some of picked up along the way.

The Woodchop Switch

For this exercise you need either a heavy duty band pulling off the wall or a cable machine.  Start in a lunge position hold the handle of the band or cable out in front with arms straight at shoulder height.  Switch quickly the leg in front on the lunge and stabilise yourself with the arms out in front again.  The aim is to land as stable as possible through the trunk and pelvis.  Hold the position for 5 seconds and then switch again.  Keep switching for 10 reps as a starting point and build up the reps to 20, 30 etc and also progress by the resistance on the band or cable.

The Two Point Plank

The plank or front bridge is on the elbows/forearms and toes holding the pelvis and spine in neutral.  Always during plank avoid having your backside up in the air, your pelvis sagging so that the back falls into an arched position or a rounded upper back position.  For Two Point Plank, take off either the right leg and left arm or the left leg and right arm. And continue to hold the desired position of the spine and pelvis.  Either hold this position or keep alternating.  Add weight in the form of a plate onto the lower back when athletes really improve.

Bench and Ball Hip Sliders

Grab a weights bench and a swiss/exercise ball.  Your feet go on the swiss ball  and hands on the bench so you are holding a plank position through your trunk.  Hold this position particularly keeping the pelvis square and not rotating.  Keep your toes pointing to the ground and take your foot out to the side and back.  So you are going heels apart approximately 30 seconds and then heels together and so on.  Repeat each leg 10 times to begin with but then you can progress towards 30 reps and even add weight to the lower back also.

The Star Side Plank

A side plank is when you rest on the forearm of one side and the side of the feet of the other.  For a star side plank, hold a dumbbell in the hand and hold the arm up so it points to the sky.  Separate the heels so the feet are about 30-40cm apart.  The pelvis has to stay facing the wall and no turn upwards and the toes have to point towards the wall.  This ensures the lateral hip stabilisers are working and not just the hip flexors.  Hold for as long as possible and you can increase the weight of the dumbbell.

Hand and Toe Donkey Kicks

In this exercises you start on your hands and knees.  Then lift your knees up so you are just on your toes and hands and hold this position.  Through the exercise, you must keep your shoulder blades drawn back and down and allow yourself to round your upper back (or go into to what we call a thoracic kyphosis).  Lift the toes on one foot and then kick back squeezing the butt/glute on that side so that the leg goes into a completey straight line with your spine.  Repeat this ten times on that side and then the other and keep repeating until too fatigued to hold the intended posture.  The aim is to get to at least 60 kicks, that is 30 on each side, and then add weight onto the lower back in the form of a plate.   This will both make the holding more difficult and it will also ensure good positioning of the lumbar spine to keep the weight balanced.