The Missing Link in Fitness: Trunk Training 5

Trunk training prevents injury and brings more power to your game

No matter how many crunches you bust out, if you’re not training your entire trunk, then your neck, back, and hamstrings remain prone to injury. Trunk training strengthens those vulnerable areas by activating more muscle groups at once, from neck to knees. This workout, from Coach Stephanio Mizell, MS.Ed., at Missoula’s YMCA, works as a warm-up or a foundation routine for beginners. It’s a workout of inches but with powerful results. “Teach your muscles to move in their natural patterns again, and you’re set. No matter what activity you do, you’re set,” explained Coach Mizell.

Trunk Conditioning Warm-Up

Cook Hip Lift with Ball

2-3 sets x 5-8 reps each leg

Straight Leg Sit-Up

3 sets x 8-15 reps

Front Plank

2-3 sets x 3-5 breathes hold

Bent Leg Hip Extension

8-10 reps each side

Half-Kneeling Chop

2-3 sets x 8-10 reps each side

Under Armour Men’s HeatGear Armour T-Shirt

The vertical striping on this tee will help you monitor form, especially important for keeping your core stable in the Half-Kneeling Chop exercise.

Fitness Training Lacrosse Ball

While performing the Cook Hip Lift, it’s easy for the glutes to detract from your core crunch. Tucking this ball into your hip crease will keep your core braced throughout the entire exercise.

Aeromat Deluxe Balance Pad

Placing one knee on this pad during the Bent Leg Hip Extension will give you extra space to swing your active leg up and backward, allowing you to focus on keeping hips square and stable.

Cybex Cable Row

The Half-Kneeling Chop is an example of anti-rotation (stabilizing one muscle group while rotating another). Cable pulleys should be adjustable—both in height and weight—to stay safe and ramp up as you become stronger.

CAP Barbell Deluxe Folding Foam Exercise Mat

For exercisers with stiff necks or large shoulders, adding a little space underneath the neck can give extra support to the cervical spine.