Lateral Trunk and Waist Exercises

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, June 3, 1914:  Nothing doing.

Source: Personal Hygiene and Physical Training for Women (1911)

Source: Personal Hygiene and Physical Training for Women (1911)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:


You seem so bored. I really hate to suggest it because you do so much hard physical labor—but maybe you’d feel a little better if you did a few exercises.

Here are the directions in a hundred-year-old book for doing Side Bend Exercises—though the book calls them Lateral Trunk and Waist Exercises (Good grief—that’s a mouthful. I wonder if that’s what people actually called this exercise back then.)

Lateral Trunk and Waist Exercises (Figs. 49, 50)

First Position—Stand with the feet nearly together and the arms extended above the head; the arms are relaxed at the wrists and elbows, so that a slightly curved line is formed as is shown in the figure. First sway to the left, bending at the waist line as far as possible, and return to the original position.

trunk exercise 2

Second Position—The attitude is the same as in the first position; sway to the right in the same manner.

These exercises strengthen the muscles on the sides of the abdomen and the lower part of the back , and are an excellent means to reduce the size of the waist in case of corpulency.

Personal Hygiene and Physical Training for Women (1911) by Anna M. Galbraith

You might also enjoy this previous post:

Hundred-year-old Exercise for Shoulders and Back

16 Responses

  1. I had to look up corpulency, I learned a new word!
    Diana xo

  2. Bless your Grandma’s heart. She must’ve been caught in routine and like you said probably bored.
    Back in the 1970’s my gym teachers had us doing that same exercise. Interesting. :)

  3. Perhaps this exercise would have helped Helena’s corpulent cousin.

  4. Same here, Diana! And I do think I’m dealing with some corpulency myself…..

  5. Hahaha! In the case of corpulency I would have to do a lot more than that! :)

  6. How great it is that somewhere along the way someone decided we need more comfortable sports wear! :)

  7. The photos remind me of ballet dancing.

  8. Thanks for the great tips on not too strenuous exercises! Will try them out today :)

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