Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn is one seriously strong athlete. Not only is she the most decorated World Cup ski racer in U.S. history (she’s won 79 of them), but she also holds a gold and bronze medal from the Winter Games Vancouver in 2010.
Vonn’s vying for gold again at this year’s Olympics in Pyeongchang, which means she’s upping her strength and stabilizing game in the gym. According to the New York Times, one of her go-to moves is a standing anti-rotation hold in which she holds about 30 pounds of resistance for 30 to 60 seconds twice on each side of her body.
“We call it ‘anti-rotation,'” Alex Bunt, Vonn’s fitness trainer, told the Times. “The core is preventing rotation, so when she pushes that pulley out, it wants to pull her into the machine.” To stabilize against the pull, Vonn’s core is working hard, which makes it an effective exercise.
“I like this one a lot because I feel my obliques,’’ Vonn told the Times. “Vainly, if I can do something that makes my abs look better that also helps me skiing, I’m all about it.”
Although not hugely popular, the concept of anti-rotation exercises isn’t new. In fact, you might have already been including them into your workout and didn’t know it. Here’s what you need to know about Vonn’s core workout of choice and how you might want to incorporate it into your next gym session.
What is It?
“Anti-rotation” means the ability of the core to stabilize the spine and pelvis to maintain a neutral position, while being acted upon by rotation forces.
Effective anti-rotation exercises will both mimic and strengthen the natural function of your core, like keeping you upright and maintaining balance.
Why is It Good for Your Body?
Because core = everything. Your core is more than just your abs. It’s a girdle of muscle that lies beneath your abdominal center and stretches all the way around your lower back, where it connects to your glutes, hips, and obliques. The stronger your core is, the stronger your center of gravity (and, yes, the better your six pack will look).
Types of Anti-Rotation Exercises
There are a number of anti-rotation exercises, all of which should strengthen the entire length of your core by resisting force. These exercises are meant to help you to rely on your core muscles for stabilization and not your spine.
Besides Vonn’s (more advanced) move, beginners can use the following:
Shoulder Taps: In high plank position, slowly tap the opposing shoulder with your hand. Repeat several times for 30 seconds. The aim is to remain stable (meaning no wobbling) and keep the pelvis and spine in a neutral position throughout.
The Single Arm Wall Push: Begin by coming into a high plank position facing a wall. You should be positioned just far enough away that your palm can rest flat on it. Keeping your hands below your shoulders, lift one arm and press your palm against the wall. Engaging your core and lower body, hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite hand.
Also, it’s important to note that some of your already favorite exercises at the gym, like side plank, TRX, and Ring Core, are already anti-rotational movements.
You might not win a gold medal, but incorporating an anti-rotational exercise into your next sweat session to strengthen your core could help you feel like a champ.
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