Improving lateral pillar strength and the ability to resist torso rotation is important for athletes looking to improve performance and prevent injury. Trunk weakness and asymmetry can increase injury risk with cutting, landing and change of direction. This exercise will help improve pillar strength using body weight and external resistance with upper body movement.

Execution: Start on the left side in a traditional forearm plank position with the legs stacked on one another. Grasp a light dumbbell (5-10# initially) in the right hand, and position the elbow against the right side with the elbow flexed 90 degrees.

Next, move into a static side plank position driving the right hip toward the ceiling. Holding this position (keeping a neutral spine), slowly extend the right elbow while flexing the shoulder to 90 degrees. Pause for 1 second and return the right arm to the start position. Repeat the horizontal pressing movement while remaining in the side plank for 30 seconds and switch sides. Perform 2-3 sets.

Regressions:

1. Bend the knees 45 degrees to reduce the lever arm

2. Decrease the weight or use the only the weight of the arm based on form/strength

Progressions:

1. Increase the weight or duration of the side plank

2. Increase the cadence of the moving arm

3. Use a kettlebell to increase instability and increase demand on grip/wrist extensor strength

Application: This exercise is a challenging and effective way to improve pillar (shoulder, torso and hip) strength and stability. Adding the horizontal press introduces an element of instability and forces the body to resist rotation as gravity will induce a downward force on the dumbbell. The key to doing this exercise properly is keeping the pace of movement slower in order to avoid unwanted torso rotation. The weight should never be too heavy in so much that a client cannot perform at least 8-10 quality repetitions.

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