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  • Writer's pictureKeep It Moving PT & Wellness

Week 50: Standing Resisted Trunk Rotation

Exercise: Standing Resisted Trunk Rotation

Purpose: To isolate trunk/thoracic spine rotation in the transverse plane and strengthen the core muscles without compensatory movements in other planes

What It Targets: Controlled mobility of the Internal Obliques, External Obliques, Transverse Abdominis, Serratus Anterior, Lower and Middle Trapezius


  1. Place your inside arm through a long looped resistance band anchored at hip height.

  2. Rotate 360 degrees, allowing the loop resistance to wrap around your trunk. The band should wrap around your back, your outside shoulder, and then cross your belly back to the source of the resistance.

  3. Stand perpendicular to the source of the resistance and cross your arms over your shoulders.

  4. Keeping your spine stacked and gaze straight ahead, rotate your trunk towards the outside shoulder as far as you can without discomfort or compensation. This is the concentric portion.

  5. Control the motion by slowly rotating back towards the source of the resistance as far as you can without discomfort or compensation. This is the eccentric portion.

  6. Repeat on the other side.

  7. Repeat as prescribed.

Main Cues:

  • Drive the motion with your thoracic spine (mid back) and ribcage

  • The motion should primarily be in the transverse plane - AKA rotation

  • Keep your gaze straight ahead the whole time

  • Maintain good control, keeping your spine stacked and core engaged throughout the entire motion

Common Compensations/Adverse Effects:

  • Pain in the low back

Correction: Make conscious effort to build and maintain tension throughout the core and to not arch the back or tilt the pelvis forward. Exhaling helps!; Reduce the range of motion; Reduce the resistance

  • Cramping in the mid back/rib muscles

Correction: This means the muscles are working hard in ranges they’re not used to! This should reduce with repetition as you get stronger; Reduce the range of motion; Reduce the resistance

  • Head moves with the shoulders/trunk

Correction: While this isn’t a bad thing, this isn’t the goal of the exercise. Keeping the gaze straight ahead superimposes relative neck rotation as the trunk rotates below it and is an added benefit of the exercise! Try to pick an item in front of you and maintain your gaze on it

Why We Love It:

  • It isolates and resists trunk rotation while keeping the low back and neck/head stable

  • It superimposes relative neck rotation as the trunk rotates below which is an added benefit!

  • It helps to actively mobilize a region that's often very stiff

*Disclaimer: Not all exercises are suitable for everyone, and participation in novel activities may increase the risk of adverse effects such as pain, soreness, or injury. Please consult with your Physician or a local Physical Therapist prior to attempting any exercise you feel uncomfortable performing. If adverse reactions occur, discontinue performance of the exercise and consult your physician or trusted clinician for evaluation.

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Burlington, MA 01803

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