Take a Stand

by: Nicole Pizzi, MPH


Get participants off the floor and activate their cores with multijoint, multiplanar moves.

Why do we usually train the core from the floor? Most people don’t spend the majority of their days on the floor, nor is it common to get injured from lying down or watching television. Injuries typically happen from improper technique, lack of body awareness and limited movement. Standing upright for core training allows you to move your body in all planes of motion and enhances core and spinal stabilization and balance.

It’s time to take a stand. Get participants on their feet and out of the computer-typing, freeway-driving position they find themselves in way too often. Encourage weight-bearing, multijoint movements that require more work and recruit more muscles, both of which may aid in fat loss—a goal that’s at the forefront of many participants’ minds.

The following multijoint, multiplanar moves provide a full-body workout while emphasizing core musculature. Modify these exercises to fit your audience. Have participants perform the moves two to three times each for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fatigued.


Equipment: resistance band
Preparation: Place right (R) foot in middle of resistance band (one handle will be on ground). Hold handle in left (L) hand and stand upright, feet shoulder-width apart.

Execution: Lower body into squat, rotate torso to R knee and internally rotate L knee and ball of foot. As you stand, pull band up and across chest (as if starting a lawnmower) to L shoulder, and extend band so arm is straight above your head, creating diagonal line of energy from foot to tip of hand. Bring hand back to shoulder height and repeat. Switch sides.

Regression: Move into shallow squat.

Progression: Lessen slack in resistance band.


Equipment: dumbbells

Preparation: With dumbbells in hand, thumbs facing up, lower into squat.

Execution: Lift dumbbells to shoulder height; pull navel toward spine. Once at shoulder height, pull dumbbells to rib cage, elbows pointing back. Stay in squat, and punch both dumbbells forward; pause with arms straight in front (hold 1–3 seconds). Lower dumbbells to starting position.

Regression: Punch in standing position.

Progression: Use heavier weight and/or punch twice before lowering dumbbells.

Stand-Up Paddle

Equipment: medicine ball

Preparation: Hold medicine ball in middle of chest. Balance on R leg.

Execution: Step back with L leg into lunge and simultaneously rotate torso and medicine ball R in diagonal chop or paddle. As you complete movement, lift L leg to starting balance position and return ball to middle of chest. Repeat on same leg; switch sides.

Regression: Keep ball close to chest, and place foot on ground instead of balancing.

Progression: Extend arms straight.


Equipment: medicine ball

Preparation: Hold medicine ball overhead. Engage core to prevent arching in low back.

Execution: Exhaling, squat while throwing or slamming ball to ground. Catch ball as it bounces up; lift it overhead and repeat.

Regression: Move into shallow squat.

Progression: Use heavier medicine ball and/or increase tempo.

IDEA Fitness Journal , Volume 8, Issue 11

© 2011 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Nicole Pizzi, MPH IDEA Author/Presenter


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  • Liliana Williams

    I like the video, Rocky exercise. The written description was not easy to follow. Thank you for putting the video together.
    Commented Jun 21, 2012
  • Scott Christensen

    Great functional core movements. I have a little different variation of each one, so I will definitely try your variation!
    Commented Mar 02, 2012
  • Nick Ng

    Nicole, thanks for taking a stand at this approach to core training and exercise. The selections are better than the traditional patterns which does little to improve movement and function when 95% of what we do in real life and sports involve standing and moving around on our feet. ~Nick
    Commented Feb 07, 2012
  • Patricia Hencz

    The video clip was most helpful-lawnmower can be done with a dumbbell as well.
    Commented Jan 19, 2012
  • Donna Marhal

    It would be helpful to have at least 2 pix to show the movements, a start and finish. One pix just doesn't do justice to the description.
    Commented Jan 19, 2012