Get on your knees to work your core.

Tall kneeling and half kneeling exercises are  the third square on the Robertson Training System Arrow.  This is where things start getting interesting and start mimicking real life positional situations while still maintaining some stability.  Working in this position, you are not as stable as the quadruped exercises, but are still more stable then standing exercises.  The arms are being used and moving away from the core.  Further away you move your hands, the more your core has to engage to maintain stability.

It’s important to start these exercises without additional weight in your hands.  Just the weight of the hands and arms moving further away from the body is enough to create some resistance.  Engaging your glutes and core muscle is a must to complete these exercises properly.

Before we start with the exercises, we will define the starting position.  After completing an exercise, go back to the starting position. This will allow you to reset and ensure you create the proper patterns.

 Tall Kneeing starting position.

  • Get on your knees with your shins on the floor.
  • Relax your feet so the tops of the feet are against the floor and the soles of the feet facing up towards the ceiling
  • Stack your hips and shoulders above your knees.
  • Relax your neck.


One Half kneeling position.

  • Start in the kneeling position
  • Bring one knee forward in a 90 degrees angle
  • Stack your knee above the ankle
  • In the basic position, the ankle is aligned with the shoulder
  • In  the tight rope position, the ankle is inline with the nose (shown in this picture)


Before your start your exercises, get into the basic tall- kneeling position. Notice what is tight. Start from the bottom and work your way up to the top. If your knees are uncomfortable being directly on the floor, feel free to place a rolled up towel or a small mat under your legs and knees. Be mindful of the towel or mat thickness as that can have an impact on your hip angle.  Are your glutes tight?  Relax your glutes and engage them to stay in the proper starting position.  Notice the feelings in your lower back.

Is there tightness.  Is the natural curve present?  Are your abs engaged?  Can you feel a stretch in your thoracic (mid back) spine?  Are your shoulders up towards your ears or are they down and relaxed?  Is one shoulder tighter than the other?  How does your neck feel?  Is there tension?  Can you let that tension go? Can you relax your face, especially the area between your eyes?

Now, start with your right leg and get into your half kneeling position.  Are you stable?  Are your hip flexors tight?  Can you relax that group of muscles?

Now we are ready to work.

Before we start adding weights to the following exercises, let’s start with some basic movements we already do throughout the day. We reach forward, up, same side and cross body, with either one hand or both hands.  The goal of these exercises is to keep the core, (the rectangle from your shoulders to your hips) straight and steady.  From the outside, this will look easy.  Internally, you should feel like your core is firing to maintain stability. The further away you move your hands from the body, the harder it should feel. Physio and Occupational therapists often use these exercises with their patients sitting at the bed side after a stroke to start re-engaging the core.

Tall Kneeling position: 

Move your arms in each of the positions below.  Start with the right arm, follow up with the left, then finish it up with both arms at the same time.


Start with lighter weight and work your way up to a heavier weight progressively.


Overhead press:  single arm
Theraband shoulder flexion, AKA, Shoulder T pulls
Theraband Shoulder extension AKA straight arms pull back



Cable chest height cable pulls


Cable straight Arm Pull:  Single Arm or Double Arms




Ball Rotation
Dumbell Lateral Raise




Give these exercises a try.  See how you feel.  Are you able to complete the movements without rotating your trunk?  Can you feel you core muscles engage?

Next week, we will be reviewing vertical exercises and the variations that can make the exercises harder or easier.

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