How To Do Oblique Twists Properly

Oblique twists are an effective drill if you’re looking to build and strengthen your core muscles. It is an isolation exercise that specifically targets the obliques.

The twist motion involved in this exercise engages many oblique muscles that support the spine muscles and stabilize your core.

To get the most out of this drill, you must work your oblique frequently and be sure to get enough rest.

For this exercise, you can use a medicine ball, weight plates, or just your weight. Either way, ensure keep control of your core and obliques.

Also known as Russian twists

Targeted muscles: Abs, Obliques

Requirements: Weight plate

Difficulty level: Intermediate

Steps:

  • Put a mat on the floor and sit on it with your feet flat on the floor and your knees slightly bent.
  • Tilt your torso backward as you lower yourself at about a 45-degree angle and contract your abs.
  • Hold the weight plate with both hands. Engage your core muscles in a controlled manner and twist your torso to the left. Ensure the weight plate touches the floor on your left side. Pause and hold the position for a few seconds then resume the starting position.
  • Squeeze your abs smoothly and twist your upper body to resume the starting position then continue until the weight plate touches the floor to your right.
  • Repeat on the right side until you complete the desired sets of reps.
  • When you finish, move the weight plate in front of you and sit up. Place the weight plate gently back on the floor.

MUSCLES WORKED BY OBLIQUE TWISTS

Oblique twists mainly target the abdominal muscles which include the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and rectus abdominis.

This workout will also engage the serratus muscles as well as the abs.

  • Obliques- aid the side-to-side bending of your torso.
  • Lower and Upper abdominals- Responsible for stabilizing the lumbar spine
  • Serratus- eases arm rotation and pulls the scapula forward when doing the workout.

BENEFITS OF OBLIQUE TWISTS

Being that oblique twists are a core workout; it greatly improves the body posture and stability which consequently makes your daily activities smoother. Oblique twists have many fitness and health benefits and you should consider adding them to your daily routine. Some of the benefits are:

 

STRONGER MUSCLES

Oblique twists provide resistance training that helps to strengthen the core muscles which will, in turn, advance your core speed and improve your performance when doing other drills or participating in sporting activities. Likewise, this drill improves physical fitness and smoothens daily activities that require you to lift, bend or twist easier.

WEIGHT TRAINING

Oblique twists can help you to lose weight since you are likely to use more energy than in your regular activities.

When you train your muscles, you will be burning more calories. You can opt for other exercises if your goal is to shed some weight.

PREVENT/REDUCE BACK PAIN

Exercises that engage the core such as the oblique twists are known to prevent or reduce back pain. If you have experienced back pain before, be sure to consult a physician before you commence this drill.

IMPROVED BALANCE AND POSTURE

Oblique twists will greatly improve your balance and posture. Since oblique twists’ main goal is to strengthen the spine and the obliques, your general flexibility will be improved which will, in turn, reduce the lower back pressure and improve flexibility.

Good posture will also boost your confidence and have you looking slimmer!

Oblique twists also have other beneficial impacts including slowing certain age markers and improving your sleep cycle. Also, this workout will improve your general mood.

ALTERNATIVES TO OBLIQUE TWISTS

SIDE BALL CRUNCH

The side ball crunch is a standard core strengthening exercise that targets the obliques as well. The ball used for this drill is unstable thereby activating the stabilizer muscles surrounding the core.

Muscles Worked: Obliques

Steps:

  • Put an exercise ball on the floor sit on it.
  • Move forward until your torso rests on the ball and your shoulders hang off it.
  • Keep your feet on the floor and bend your knees. Cross your arms over your chest and ensure your fingers touch your shoulders.
  • Rotate forward onto your left side to position the ball towards your left ribs.
  • Squeeze your right side and move your ribs towards your hips.
  • Repeat the process.
  • Aim to perform 3 sets of 12 reps for each side.

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN PERFORMING OBLIQUE TWISTS

SLOPPY TECHNIQUE

The sloppy technique will put a lot of pressure and tension on your spine. If you notice you are rounding your back or twisting your lower back a lot, then practice the technique without using weight plates until you perfect it.

Overarching your back can strain your back muscles and move the tension to your lower back instead of the abdomen.

 HOLDING YOUR BREATH

You may be tempted to hold your breath as you twist sideways. Be sure to inhale and exhale normally throughout the workout.

POTENTIAL RISKS

Oblique twists, like any other core exercise, can be hard on your neck, hips, back, and shoulders even with the right technique.

Twisting too far can also pose potential risks to your spine. If these parts of your body are sensitive, consider other drills before adding oblique twists to your workout routine.

If you feel pain when doing the workout, it may indicate that you are overdoing the exercise or you are not implementing the right procedure. In that case, opt for less tense exercises.

CONCLUSION

You will get the most benefits out of oblique twists if you implement the right technique in your routine.

You can make the exercise more challenging as you perfect your technique gradually and you will get better muscle growth and build your strength immensely.

Consistency is key for any workout plan. You will perform the workout more efficiently if you like it. If you don’t like oblique twists, you can choose an alternative drill that has the same benefits.

The downside of oblique twists is that without the proper technique, you may end up posing many negative consequences and injuries to your body. For this reason, ensure you explore other options before giving it a go.