Advanced trunk exercises

Topless person standing with arms wide open on black background | Featured image for the Advance Trunk Exercises blog for Pivotal Motion Physiotherapy.

Advanced trunk exercises

You know the basics

We all know the importance of the trunk in sport. If you’re someone who’s been doing their fair share of trunk exercises and are confident in your ability then it’s time to move onto some more advanced movements. If you’re just beginning to strengthen your trunk then check out our recent blog about starting off. We’ve compiled a list of advanced trunk exercises here with some progressions or variations for you to choose from.

Plank variations

The plank is obviously one of the most common trunk exercises out there. It starts off nice and easy with a static hold but sport isn’t a static exercise. You need the ability to keep your trunk stable while your arms and legs are moving against external forces. This is why you need to progress your plank when able. A simple way to start off is with a “stir the pot” plank. This requires you to hold your trunk still while your arms work against the movements of a gym ball. To increase the difficulty you can move your arms further out in front of you before bringing it up. It’s an exercise that will really challenge your trunk strength and your ability to maintain position while under load. Other variations are doing an ab wheel rollout or a tall plank with shoulder taps. You can get creative with the ways you progress your planks. If you’re stuck for ideas, here’s a lot of different ways you can improve your plank.

Dead bug

Topless person standing with arms wide open on black background.

Dead bugs are a great exercise to keep your trunk stable while your legs move. The basic dead bug is simple and can be quick to move on from. In order to make it an advanced trunk exercise you can add ankle weights as a start. Secondly you can add in an anti-rotation element to the exercise, which greatly increases the difficulty. You can also add in a reverse crunch at the end of each leg movement. To further increase the difficulty, you can have the same set-up as the reverse crunch but after you crunch perform a plate lift as well. Dead bugs will challenge both ends of your trunk and improve your stability in movement.


Most sports will require an element of anti-rotation. To improve your trunk’s ability to fight the rotation forces in sport the Pallof press is normally the easiest exercise you can begin with. To improve on this you can change your stance to a lunge, kneeling, half kneeling, and single arm. These are just a few variations/progressions. There are plenty more to choose from.

Try out these exercises and see how you come along with them. If you would like an advanced trunk strength program book online or call 07 3352 5116 to speak with a physiotherapist about exercise physiology.


Updated 21/07/2023

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