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Trunk Bodybuilding with T-BOW®

By Iván Chulvi-Medrano, Gonzalo Cámara-Navarro, Nico Gil y David Ribera-Nebot

A selection of concepts and examples of differential exercises with the T-BOW® for frontal, lateral and posterior muscle bodybuilding of the trunk is presented, based on the fundamentals of motor physiotherapy and the practical experiences since 1995 of Sandra Bonacina and Viktor Denoth at the University of Zurich.

* The purpose of this article is not to deal with the execution and breathing techniques related to trunk bodybuilding, nor the respective planning criteria.

A comment about trunk bodybuilding

"Middle zone training", "core training" and other similar expressions have been used to refer to the strength-stability training of the trunk-pelvis complex, which we can simplify in what has traditionally been called trunk bodybuilding.

The systematic application of "core training" or trunk bodybuilding exercises to any individual who follows a fitness program or to any athlete, without considering the muscle requirements of their daily activity and their fitness and / or sports activity, is a practice that does not allow to optimize motor performance efficiently.

For example, it is possible to assess that an individual does not require any type of muscle muscle and only needs to relax the pelvic-lumbar area.

Muscles of the trunk with T-BOW®

The arched shape of the T-BOW®, with a curvature calculated with a little more arc than the typical lumbar physiological lordosis, allows an anatomically correct trunk training. This arched design favors a healthy adaptation to the curvatures of the spine, unlike more pronounced curvatures that are too demanding and often harmful to many people. The arc of the T-BOW®, in a stable position, supports the spine in such a way that it can be exercised in degrees of amplitude greater than a flat surface (greater range of motion) and, from the physiological curvature, in a stable position throughout the course of the movement or static posture.

Simultaneously, the reactivity of the T-BOW® (with a mat in the convex part that is comfortable and very sensitive to body contact) improves the kinesiological fixation of the back, the possibility of a very stable location of the curvatures of the spine and the rapid precision of posture and movement; unlike softer and poorly reactive surfaces (bosu or fitball type) that cause.

The trunk can be reinforced at different levels, mobilizing different segments of the spine by positioning the hip at different heights of the T-BOW® arch; thus selectively affecting parts of the musculature:

  • Frontal (costal/pelvic priority),

  • Side (bead overload/pelvis/legs) and

  • Back of the trunk (low/high back and pelvis/legs).

The load varies depending on the place where the hip is supported and as the trunk or hip/legs is mobilized; also, depending on how the body itself is used, the T-Bands (each anchor hole of the elastic bands creates different lines of strength and increasing-decreasing-constant tension) or free weights (their place of placement in the body or segment.

A training with asymmetric or unilateral load at the level of the trunk, for example with the traction of a T-Band or elevation of a dumbbell, especially when relatively small overloads are applied, allows the activation of deeper muscle groups of the intervertebral muscles of the back that give stability to the spine, maintaining a harmonious alignment of the vertebrae and intervertebral discs.

With the T-BOW® in a high reactivity balancing position, you train on dynamic surfaces that give variety to the training of the trunk; achieving a lower muscle location and a greater optimization of the global rebalancing-reactivity of the entire stabilizing muscles of the trunk. In these situations of extraordinarily reactive T-BOW® balance (unstable position), with a very fast and fine postural and motor adjustment, the use of asymmetric or unilateral loads, for example with dumbbells, brings the strengthening of the trunk to the highest level of strength and precision.

Once studied whether or not the trunk is muscular, the personalized selection of exercises in a stable and unstable position of the T-BOW® is essential to achieve an effective optimization of the strength-stability of the trunk-pelvis complex, both for the individual who seeks health in his daily activities and for the elite athlete.

Likewise, at a minimum, the following factors must be considered:

  • Postural disposition: a) anti-flexion, anti-extension, anti-rotation and anti-lateral inclination (bilateral/unilateral); b) supine/pronean, lateral and vertical/inverted (ext/flexed segments).

  • Execution surface: a) flat / +- arched, b) level of reactivity (+- soft).

  • Static muscle conditions, dynamic (+- slow-fast, +- elastic, +- ballistic, +- reactive) and static-dynamic combi (fixed/mobile area).

  • Overloads oriented towards maximum strength, rapid force or resistance force (with one's own body, free weights, medicinal balls, elastic rubber bands, ...).

  • Situations of balance and rebalancing (biomechanical and sensory variations).

  • Coordination variations of execution (motor control, spatial implementation and temporal adaptation) of the trunk-pelvis complex.

  • Spatio-temporal and rhythmic optimizations.

  • Decision-making and unforeseen situations.

  • Associated breathing techniques.

  • Coadjuvant complements of static-dynamic relaxation and regeneration.

  • Static-dynamic muscle balance of the most important muscle groups, protagonists-antagonists, of the trunk-pelvis complex.

  • Tendon-articular discharge, joint mobility and muscle elasticity at the local and global level of the trunk-pelvis complex.

Main applicability:

In group fitness classes, personal training, postural and injury rehabilitation.


Bonacina S (2005). El entrenamiento de gasificación con el arco de lluvia multifuncional. Consejos de entrenamiento de Sandra Bonacina. Fitness Tribune, 93: 112-113. BKS Iyengar (2015). Yoga para deportes. Westland ltd. Calais-Germain B (2008). Abdos sans risque. Ediciones Désiris. Chulvi Medrano I y Masiá Tortosa L (2014). Entrenamiento de inestabilidad. Bases para el correcto entrenamiento. Enfoque sobre la columna lumbar. Edic. Cardeñoso. Rápidamente PJ y Burke RK (1985). Kinesiología y Anatomía Aplicada. La ciencia del movimiento humano. Lea y Febiger. Seirul·lo Vargas F (1986). Entrenamiento coadyuvante. Apuntes de medicina deportiva, 23, 38-41.

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