Standing trunk rotation
This is great for flexibility and circulation in the spine and trains the muscle off the torso for rotational activities such as golf. Four! Done properly we will be activating the transverse abdominis which acts like a natural built in girdle, trimming the waist line and stabilizing the spine. We will also work the neck and decompress the shoulder girdle through the elbow and wrist so pay attention! This is not a heavy exercise but if you stay engaged and use your muscles rather than momentum to rotate, you will get much more benefit. 25 to 50 reps is good.
To get set we will start in standing mountain with arms extended. Feet are a few inches apart pointing forward with a slight bend in the knee engaging the front and backs of the thighs stabilizing the legs. Tuck the hips slightly and contract the glutes, work your stomach in and chest ups, think bellybutton to the spine. Now pull the chin in working tall through the crown of your head. Drop your shoulders down and wide making sure not to pinch the shoulder blades together, keeping them neutral throughout the exercise. Reach your arms out to the sides with the “elbow pits” towards the sky extending long from fingertip to fingertip and palms facing down. Exhale and begin to rotate to the side using only the muscles of the midsection to twist the body. Keep the hips stable. Let out all your air and go as far as you can. Inhale slightly as you return to center and exhale again as you rotate to the other side in one fluid motion. Try to keep your head facing forward and stay tall. Repeat for 25 to 50 reps each side. Movements like this are said to massage the internal organs and help with digestion.
At the bottom of this exercise your body looks like the silhouette of a pistol hence the name. Like the one arm pushups for maximum upper body strength, the pistol squat is the ultimate bodyweight test of leg strength and mobility. Take the average gym rat that can squat hundreds of pounds and have them try these and watch them fall on their butts! They will not have the mobility or balance to achieve this exercise nor the strength to push up from the bottom.
To perform the pistol squat stand straight and slightly lift one leg. Take a deep breath and begin to squat down elevating your lifted leg and reaching your hands towards your front foot. Pull your stomach in and think chest out, butt out as you lower under control as far as you are comfortable working towards butt to calf depth. Keep the toe and knee pointing forward on the squatting leg throughout the movement. Exhale strongly as you press back to the beginning. Inhale and repeat desired reps before switching legs. 10 is great, 20 with perfect form and you are in the minority.
Pistol squat off a bench
If you are not ready to do the full pistol squat, you can use a bench or box that is about 2 feet high or so. Instruction is the same except you squat down until you are sitting lightly on the bench. Try and not relax your leg muscles at the bottom. Exhale as you press up and repeat. Stay in control making sure the toe and knee on the squatting leg stay forward. After you can get 15 to 20 clean reps, find a shorter box and start over again.