Easy body weight exercises for the trunk

Easy body weight exercises for the trunk

Our trunk plays an important role in sports performance and injury prevention. A strong core can lead to better whole body connections and improvements in our performance. In sport we need good control between our arms, legs and trunk. our trunk is what connects these systems together. In order to build a strong trunk you need to have good control of the surrounding musculature first. If you’re a beginner to strength training and/or trunk strength training then we recommend starting off with some basic movements to gain control of your movement. Once you progress you can move onto some more challenging exercises. here are some easy body weight exercises for the trunk.

Starting off

As a beginner, it’s wise to do some gentle activation work first before moving into some strength training. You can start doing this by lying on your back with your hands wrapped around your pelvis and your fingers resting about 2cm across from the iliac crest (the little bit of bone that protrudes from the front of your hip). Gently contract your abdominals by imagining drawing your belly button down toward your spine. This movement should be gentle and slow. Hold this position for 10 breaths before relaxing for a few seconds and going again. Once you can comfortably do this without losing control of your abdominal muscles you can add a bent leg fall-out (pictured here). This exercise teaches control of the trunk while also moving other body parts. It is important to get good control of these movements before moving on to advanced trunk exercises.

Woman stretching on her back







No doubt the most common trunk exercise out there is the plank. This exercise teaches good trunk control while the arms and legs are under load. It is an anti-extension exercise. It forces us to keep our spine neutral while forces around us try to push us into lumbar extension. It’s important to set our trunk on before performing these exercises. Spend a few minutes activating the abdominals using the above exercise before you start a plank.

Plank North Brisbane Physio






Side plank

The side plank is a good progression of the plank that also works the oblique muscles more. The obliques are really important for twisting movements as well as providing unilateral stability in sports that require periods of single leg stance. The side plank also targets the gluteus medius muscles on the side of the hip, which also assists stability. The side plank can also be progressed in many ways. These progressions can include raising one leg up into the air (pictured), doing a raised side plank with your legs raised by a block. You could also target your adductors with a copenhagen plankMan performing core exercises







Bird dog

The bird dog is a tough exercise that adds onto what a plank provides. It entails us to keep our trunk still while moving our arms and legs. It also relies upon us having a good connection between our arms and legs while keeping the rest of the body still. A good athlete is someone who can hold a stable bird dog

Pallof press

A good anti-rotation exercise. The Palloff press is included in many exercise programs. It challenges us to remain stable in our trunk while the forces around us are trying to pull us into rotation. The palloff press will work the obliques the most as their primary role centers around rotation. The palloff press does require you to have an exercise band or cable machine to perform.

Man using stretch bands


Try and implement these easy body weight exercises into your strength training and you’ll see the improvements in your performance after a while. If you’d like to consult with a physiotherapist or an exercise physiologist about our exercise classes and a strength training program, please feel free to book online or call us on  07 3352 5116.


Updated 22/12/2022

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