Transverse Training For Stronger Abs, Less Injuries, And Bigger Lifts

transverse training


If you lift for long enough you’re going to wind up with injuries. That’s just part of the game. You’ll have tweaked shoulders, stiff lower backs, creaky hips, knees that hate you, and the list can go on. Part of that is just getting old, part of that is just a fact of life when it comes to getting jacked.

While injuries are bound to occur in some way or another, you can also train to avoid injuries. This doesn’t mean something as simple as training with good form, either.

Everyone knows that. Telling people to train with good form is about as useless as it gets. People need to know what good form feels like, and they need to take time to ingrain those patterns.

What I’m talking about are specific exercises you can do that will increase mobility, build strength throughout the core, and mimic the odd movements we sometimes find ourselves doing in everyday life.

You see most wacky ass injuries don’t take place in the gym. They take place when we’re trying to pick an odd object up off the floor, or help that little old lady get her suitcase from the overhead compartment while everyone else behind us is bitching about holding up the line.

I don’t want to see you get hurt. That’s why I’ve got your back with 3 transverse training exercises that will make you injury proof, build a stronger core, and make you more flexible than most yoga teachers.

And while not all of these technically take place in the transverse plane, the idea behind them is the same, which is why they’re all together.

3 Transverse Training Exercises

Wide stance anti-rotation chop

I love this exercise as a blend between a mobility exercise and core strengthening exercise. As you can see in the video, I’m taking a wide stance – which also gives me a bit of a groin stretch.

The real magic in this exercise is the mobility work you get in the upper back, because training the upper back to be more mobile makes you more resistant to injury.

On top of that you’re also getting good rotary stability work thanks to doing this movement under load, which means more overall core strength.

Coaching points:

  • The big key here is to not let your hips turn with the movement. They should stay pointing forward the entire time.
  • The entire movement takes place in the upper back, and keep your arms more or less straight.
  • Take a wide enough stance that you feel a slight stretch in your groin.


Half kneeling cable chop

This is a very similar exercise to the wide stance chop, but it has a different effect because it’s a different plane of movement, which I love.

The half kneeling cable chop works so well because of the half kneeling position. You’re forced to work your anti rotation muscles far more because of the split stance. Add in the chop with the rope, and you’ve got yourself one kickass core exercise.

Additionally we get a little bit of upper back mobility, which as we’ve already talked about can help reduce your risk of injury.

Coaching points:

  • I prefer having my forward leg closest to the cable set up because I feel I get more mobility and anti rotational work out of it.
  • The split stance brings an added degree of difficulty, don’t let your hips rotate to compensate. The hips should stay pointing forward.


Pallof Press

This is by far and away my favorite oblique exercise. The Pallof press is a deceptive bastard. It looks easy as well, until you actually give it a go. Then it humbles you into submission.

The core functions primarily as an anti-extension and anti-rotation group of muscles. Training the core in this fashion builds overall core strength, which makes you far more injury resistant and carries over to all of your other lifts.

If you’re a serious badass and looking to make this harder, you can get into the half kneeling position and give it a whirl. If you do, you win the Internet.

Coaching points:

  • Press straight forward. Don’t let the cable pull you at all.
  • Take a slightly wider than normal stance.
  • Exhale at the “top” of every rep.

If you liked this post on Transverse Training, check out more fitness tips.

Tanner is a fitness professional and writer based in the metro Atlanta area. His training focus is helping normal people drop absurd amounts of fat, become strong like bull, and get in the best shape of their life.