Torso twist also known as oblique twists exercise is a dynamic movement that activates your core and strengthens your abdominal muscles.
How to do a torso twist:
Required equipment: medicine ball (a mat is optional)
- Sit down on the floor with your legs clamped together and bend your knees and hips to about ninety degrees. Place your medicine ball to the side of your hips.
- Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground, if this position poses to be too easy for you to hold later in the exercise you could lift your feet off the ground slightly.
- Ensure your chest stays upright and your back straight. Lean back until your body is at about a forty-five-degree angle from the ground.
- Tense up your core and make sure that your chin remains tucked throughout the exercise.
- Lift the medicine ball off the ground and hold it in front of your body keeping your arms slightly bent. This is your starting position.
- Slowly and in one controlled motion twist your upper body to the left moving your arms along with your body.
- Rotate as far as you can and touch the medicine ball to the ground
- Rotate back to your starting position then to the right keeping your lower body as still as you can.
- Repeat this for fifteen reps in a set of three, taking a thirty-second break in-between each set.
TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
Remember to breathe steadily and deeply throughout the exercise because holding your breath may cause fluctuations in your blood pressure.
If you are struggling with stability cross your lower legs to make it easier for you.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES TORSO TWIST WORK?
Torso twist primarily works your obliques, rectus and transverse abdominis which are your core muscles and the muscles on the side of your torso.
Your hip flexors and erector spinae are also worked but with much less strain placed on them. These are the muscles at your hips and lower back.
BENEFITS OF DOING TORSO TWIST
HELP IN LOSING BELLY FAT
The workout targets the obliques and core this causes them to break down and burn extra calories apart from those you burn doing the workout.
This causes your body to break down the fat around the targeted areas to be able to provide this energy.
SUPPORTS BETTER POSTURE
Torso twist works out your entire core, including your sides and back muscles.
So as your core gets stronger, the muscles attached to your spine get stronger, which will help you keep yourself upright with better posture.
This also reduces the occurrence of back pain that arises from slouching over for prolonged hours.
IMPROVES ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
Your core is the powerhouse of most of your movements so strengthening your abdominal muscles can boost and make you more proficient in performing athletic movements.
Such as jumping for a rebound in basketball, throwing a punch or swinging a tennis racket. You will be able to do all this with more power than you would have been able to do initially.
ALTERNATIVES TO DOING TORSO TWISTS
SWISS BALL SIDE CRUNCH
Swiss ball side crunch is a calisthenics exercise that mainly targets your obliques, lower back and abs.
How to do Swiss ball side crunches:
Required equipment: medicine ball
- Place the Swiss ball about ten inches from the wall or any support structure you are next to, ensuring that the structure is sturdy.
- Move to the side of the ball next to the wall and rest your left hip on the ball, anchor both your feet against the wall with your left leg forward and your right leg behind it.
- Raise your torso so that you are upright and your back and lower body are in a straight line.
- Raise both your arms up so they are pointing straight outwards from the sides of your body so that your body draws a T. This is your starting position
- Start the side crunch by lowering your upper body from the waist in a straight line without twisting your spine, hips or shoulders.
- Move down until your fingers touch the floor and hold the position for about two seconds.
- Reverse this motion till you return to your starting position. This will count as your first reps
- Repeat this motion for ten reps on each side for three sets resting for thirty seconds in between each set.
Make sure to keep your neck in line with your spine to prevent straining your neck and causing injury.
KNEE SIDE PLANKS
Known to be a great exercise to strengthen your obliques and abs the knee side plank challenges your core stabilizers and strengthens them with consistent repetition.
How to do knee side planks:
Required equipment: none (a mat is optional)
- Lie down on the floor on your left side bending your knees back at about ninety degrees.
- Place your left elbow directly below your shoulder making sure that your head is in line with your spine throughout the whole exercise.
- Align your right arm to the right side of your body or have it straight pointing above your head to help you with your balance.
- Tense your core muscles and pull your navel towards your spine.
- Exhale and lift your hips off the floor using your core muscles as your strong point and your elbow and knees to be the points of your body in contact with the ground.
- Make sure to not sag or bend your torso while performing the exercise.
- Once you reach the top position hold it for about a minute. Breathe regularly throughout the exercise.
- Switch to the right side and repeat this motion.
- Repeat the motion twice for each side taking a thirty-second break between each side switch.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHILE DOING TORSO TWISTS
SPEEDING THROUGH THE EXERCISE
Speeding through the workout will remove focus from the targeted muscle and might lead you to have the wrong form.
This may reduce the results of the workout and lead to the occurrence of injuries due to the wrong form.
OVERWORKING YOUR LEGS
If you find your knees constantly moving it is mainly caused by you not fully keeping your core engaged or moving too fast.
This takes away the focus from your abdomen and strains your back.
A great exercise for strengthening your abdominal muscles that require only one piece of equipment which it can be done without.
It requires little space and is easy to learn the motion making it a great exercise to add to your workout regime.