Exercises You Should Be Doing: TRX Anti-Rotation Press

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Peruse any Facebook wall of someone who’s into fitness and you’re bound to see any number of running themes, status updates, or stories on:

1.  CrossFit, CrossFit, and more CrossFit (and with it endless Paleo recipes).

2.  Intermittent fasting, still (<— that was so 2012).

3.  “Do you even lift?” jokes. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

4.  Non-stop shirtless gym selfies. I get why people do it.  We all want to show-off our hard work. But sometimes I wish people would just get over themselves and understand that just because it was “arms day,” and you happen to be walking past a mirror, and you happen to have your smartphone with you, and you also happen to have an Instagram account, doesn’t mean you have to snap a pic and share it with the world.

I don’t care how your shoulders look in “Hefe” or how your back pops in “Toaster” or how your pecs look so “pecy” in Kelvin.  WHEW. My my my, is it getting hot in here or it just me?

God, your abs, along with that post-workout sweat, just glisten like diamonds when you use the Earlybird filter……..

But, um, yeah, where was I?

Interestingly, I came across THIS article this morning which I felt was a fantastic reality check on the topic of gym selfies.

5.  And then there’s this recent Star Wars footage that was released which basically made me destroy the back of my pants.

Okay, so maybe most people aren’t Star Wars nerds like myself…but you have to admit the guy who made that video is pretty baller.

Anyways, it only makes sense that if someone’s interests gravitate towards fitness that they’ll be inundated with more fitness themed stories on their Wall.

But even if that’s not the case, almost always, the topic of core training is covered by the mainstream media and it stitches itself into our psyche

What are the secrets to a chiseled mid-section?

What exercises are best if someone’s goal is to get a six-pack?

Do “X” to get a beach ready body!

And, almost always, at least when it comes to the actual exercises/movements recommended, we get any number of ab crunches, sit-ups, rotations, leg throws, and infomercials advertising these balls of fail: weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

I guess you could make a case for all of it.  While none of the above would be my first choice, especially when you consider Dr. Stuart McGill’s research on spine biomechanics and the notion that repeated flexion is the exact mechanism for disc herniation, there are certain situations where they can be a decent fit and I certainly don’t feel anyone will do irreparable harm performing a few crunches or sit-ups here and there.

Having said that….while trunk flexion is one of the functions of the abdominals (along with lateral flexion, contralateral rotation, posterior pelvic tilt, to name the big players), it’s main ROLE is stability.

Stealing a great line from my pal Mike Robertson:  “if the main job of the abdominals was to flex the trunk – bringing the sternum closer to the pelvis – by crunching all the time, they’d be hamstrings.”

In looking at the actual anatomy of the torso you can clearly see varying muscle fiber pennation, as well as a web-like appearance of the connecting tissue.

All of this to suggest that the main role of the abdominals or “core” is to stabilize and help better transfer force from the lower body to the upper body (and vice versa). The better someone is able to stabilize, the less likely they’l have force leaks.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the bulk of the core training I recommend is to prevent motion.  I.e., anti-rotation, anti-extension, anti-flexion.

TRX Anti-Rotation Press

Who Did I Steal it From?: I think I originally saw this exercise performed by strength coach and resident guy “I would never want to fight…..ever,” Dewey Nielsen.

What Does it Do?: Similar to things like Pallof Presses, chops, lifts, loaded carries, and the like, this is an excellent exercise that trains rotary stability.

Key Coaching Cues: You’ll need a TRX or any suspension training tool to perform this exercise.  Assuming a split stance – with the inside foot back – angle yourself at roughly a 45-60 degree angle.

Starting with the handle against your sternum, “press” it away from your body fully extending your arms and come to a slight pause…..all the while resisting the urge to move.  There should be very little movement here, and you’ll need to fight hard not to compensate in the lumbo-pelvic-hip area.

Go slow!  The objective here is controlled movement, so don’t spaz out.

If you need to make it less challenging, use a more conservative body angle.  More challenging = more aggressive angle.

I like to shoot for 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps per side.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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