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The Rotational Exercises You Need to be Doing

by Sárka-Jonae Miller
See more articles by Sárka-Jonae Miller

(The Best Years in Life) Take a glance over most workouts and you'll see that none of the exercises involve rotation. Most people work out with motions that are up and down or side to side But the human body isn't designed to stay within those limits. We twist and turn, engaging muscles that are often left out of a typical workout. The one exception is the obliques, which people might target by rotating at the waist. That's all well and good, but it's only the tip of the iceberg.

Adding rotational exercises to your repertoire will increase your strength and range of motion, improve your balance, and enhance sports performance. Even the least athletic person could benefit from these types of exercises because improved strength and range of motion also means reduced risk of injury. Plus, who couldn't do with better balance and coordination?

Lawn Mower

The lawn mower is a fun exercise that works your core, arms, and shoulders. The exercise gets its name because it involves a similar motion to starting a motor. You can hold a kettlebell or a dumbbell between your hands while you do the exercise , but the best way is using an exercise cable.

Secure an exercise cable at ground level, such as around wrapping it around a pole or sturdy desk leg. Hold the handles and bring your palms together. Turn so your left shoulder is near the anchor point where you tied the end of the cable. Bring your arms across your body toward the cable, bend your knees slightly, and twist your shoulders to the left. Step back if you need to until the cable is taut. Tighten your abs. This is the starting position.

Next, twist to the right, raise your arms up to shoulder level, and straighten your legs in one continuous motion. Lift your left heel and pivot on the ball of your foot to get a maximum turn. Return to the starting position. After 10 repetitions, turn around and repeat on the other side.


Single-Arm Medicine Ball Throws

This exercise works your chest, arms, and core. It's ideal to have a wall you can throw the ball against or work with a partner who can catch the ball and toss it back. Stand perpendicular to the wall with your left side closest to it. Hold a medicine ball with both hands in front of your chest. Feet should be a comfortable shoulder-width distance apart. This is the starting position.

Then, twist your body to the right, lifting your right heel as you pivot on the ball of your foot. Drop your left hand to your hip as you straighten your right arm and throw the ball. Perform eight throws and then repeat on the other side. Start with a lightweight medicine ball that you are sure is not too heavy for you to control.

Multi-directional Lunges

Multi-directional lunges strengthen your legs and core. They'll also challenge your balance. Begin standing with your feet together and your hands on your hips. Step your right foot forward and bend both your knees into a deep lunge. Step back to the starting position.

Next, step forward with your right foot again but this time aim for about a spot about 45-degrees to the left. If there was a clock on the ground, your right foot would land at 9 o'clock. After you lunge, return to the starting position.

Finally, step and twist one so that your right foot lands at 6 o'clock as you do a third lunge. Step back to the starting position. These three lunges together count as one rep. After you complete 5 reps, repeat on the other side. 

These three exercises are not a complete workout but are great to include into your routine. Rotational exercises are not ideal for exercise newbies, so if you haven't been working out regularly check with your physician or other qualified health professional.

See also:

Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk

Exercises to Prevent Core Instability

Easy Ab Workout With an Exercise Ball



About the Author

Sárka-Jonae Miller is a health and fitness expert. She began working in the fitness industry in 2000 while pursuing a BS in journalism at Syracuse University. She became certified as a personal fitness trainer and group exercise instructor in 2003. She has also received training in massage therapy. Sárka also writes fiction. She is the author of the chick lit novel, Between Boyfriends. Get more health and wellness tips on Sárka's Natural Healing Tips blog or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

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