Include Rotational Movements In Your Training

Emily Beers


Vancouver, Canada



Life isn’t linear. Nor is it perfectly controlled—neither are sports.


In both life and sport, we rotate, we reach, we turn, and we spin. Yet in the gym, we often focus entirely on moving linearly and in a controlled manner.



And then we wonder why we get injured spontaneously reaching for something in the back seat of the car.


I’m certainly not saying you’ll never get injured if you start training more rotational movements. But they definitely can help teach you how to brace effectively as you rotate, as well as help strengthen your muscles and joints to handle rotational movements—be it in your car or playing golf.


If you’re still confused what I mean by rotational movement, let me explain. Rotational movement is a movement where something—a bone or a whole limb—pivots and revolves around a single long axis.


Build up your rotational movement base with the five rotational exercises below.


1. Rotational Medicine Ball Slams

These are similar to traditional med ball slams, but with a rotation. Start with the medicine ball on one side of your body at your waist. Then lift it up and over your head and pivot on the balls of your feet 180 degrees. Slam the ball down, pick it up as it bounces and rotate back the other way in the same manner.



  • Perform 3 sets of 20 rotational med ball slams.



2. Landmine Rotations

Slightly more slow and controlled than rotational med ball slams, these are great for building core strength and stability and getting your body used to rotating in a more controlled manner. Same as the med ball rotations, focus on pivoting on the balls of your feet with your heels off the ground.




  • Try 3 sets of 10 landmine rotations as heavy as you can handle without relying on momentum to get the landmine up and overhead.



3. Lateral Med Ball Tosses

With a medicine ball at your waist, set your feet shoulder width apart and face away from a wall by 45 degrees. Then simply rotate 45 degrees, pivoting on the balls of your feet, until you’re facing the wall and toss the ball against the wall. Focus on generating power from your hips as you toss the ball to the wall.



  • Perform 3 sets of 15 lateral med ball tosses on both sides.



4. Russian Twists

Russian twists are an easy way to incorporate both lateral work and oblique strength work into your training routine.


  • Try 3 sets of 20 with a medicine ball, dumbbell, or kettlebell. How heavy can you go?



5. Palof Rotations

Start in a traditional Palof hold position and rotate 45 degrees away from the post you have attached the band, all the while maintaining the Palof hold position. Once again, pivot on the balls of your feet both as your rotate away from the post and back to your start position. Brace hard through your core throughout the movement.


  • Perform 3 sets of 10 rotations per side.


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