Trunk or torso is an anatomical term for the central part of the human body ( both front & back) from which extend the neck and limbs. It includes the thorax and the abdomen. It can be pictured as a solid unit. This unit needs to be strong and stable, like the frame of a car. If the torso is weak, the muscles of the body will not perform at optimal levels.
Core fitness exercises can help build stability of the torso.
Below are some exercises to build a strong torso:
- Plank: Start in a push-up position with the elbows and forearms on the floor. Hold the back straight. In time work towards lifting one leg, lower the leg and repeat with the opposite leg. Time yourself and challenge yourself every day to go five seconds longer than the day before.
- Knee tucks: Lie face down on the floor, with your palms of your hands underneath your shoulders and legs extended out behind you, with the balls of your feet on the floor. Raise yourself up with your arms, maintaining a stable, straight torso. Get someone to check that you’re not sticking your bottom up in the air. Holding this position, slowly lift one foot off the floor and bring your knee in towards your upper body. Stop raising the leg at the point you feel your lower back bending, and slowly return to starting position. Repeat on the other side. Aim for 15-25 on each leg.
- Waist toner: A fit, firm torso isn’t all about a six-pack. The oblique muscles down your side are an important area to focus on if you want to hone your waist and banish love handles. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a small bottle of water or can in each hand (optional). With your arms by your sides, slowly slide one arm down towards your knee – make sure that your body goes directly sideways, and isn’t rotating forwards or backwards.
- V-Sits: Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of the body. Lift the legs to a 45 degree angle. At the same time, reach the arms toward the feet. The body will resemble a V shape.
- Leg Lifts: Lying on your back with your hands under your lower back for support, raise and lower your legs to one inch off the floor.
- Supermen: Lying on your stomach, raise and lower your arms and legs at the same time.
Other more common core exercises are push-ups, lunges and back extensions. Engage in these movements frequently to ensure a strong torso.
Always be sure to start off with slow and gentle movements when dealing with back core. Increase in intensity and range as the back muscles get warm and woken up. Give yourself time to get stronger in this area if you feel weaker in the core than the rest of the body.
Remember that the stronger the torso, the stronger and more intensely the rest of the bodies muscles groups can develop.