Twisting is a key abdominal exercise. The main working muscle in the classic twist variation is the rectus abdominis, the most prominent of all core muscles, and handles the formation of the cubes. In addition, there are variations of the twist exercise.
Despite its simplicity, doing the Twisting correctly involves deliberately engaging the abs – and not just lifting with the strength of the muscles of the upper body. Technique mistakes and excessively high speed of execution can easily lead to neck pain.
// Twisting Exercise
The name of the exercise determines its mechanics – due to the involvement of the abdominal muscles, it is necessary to perform a twisting movement, contracting the rectus abdominis muscle. In this case, the amplitude of movement should not be too large – it is enough to just slightly raise the shoulders from the floor.
Exercise variations (for example, lateral or reverse Twisting) allow you to engage the oblique and transverse abdominal muscles in the work, as well as pump the lower abdomen. Plus, Twisting can be done with extra weight or even on blocks – this increases the load.
Despite the simplicity of execution, twisting requires careful adherence to the correct technique. For example, lifting the trunk up too much (especially upright) overloads the lower back and contributes to unnecessary stretching of the abdominal muscles.
The benefits and harms of twisting
The main advantage of twisting is that it can perform the exercise on the floor even without a special mat. Subject to the correct technique (and, in particular, a characteristic burning sensation in the muscles), twisting allows you to quickly pump up the press and achieve a result of strengthening the muscles of the body.
The disadvantage of twisting is the risk of overloading the spine, which can provoke the development of chronic pain in the lower back. We should also remember that crunching by itself does not require a significant amount of calories – and cannot burn fat. This will require both dieting and cardio.
How to do it right?
Classic twisting is a partial lifting of the trunk from a prone position. In this case, the hands can be either laid behind the head or extended in front of you (simplified variation). During the exercise, the middle and lower back should be constantly pressed to the floor.
Starting position: lying on your back, legs bent at the knees and firmly on the floor. By activating the abdominal muscles, smoothly raise your shoulders by 10-15 cm, rounding your back and twisting towards the knees. Hold for 1-2 seconds, then slowly lower the body, but do not touch the floor with your shoulders.
- 3 sets of 15-25 reps
- the slow pace of execution
- breath control
If, after twisting your neck or lower back hurts, this is a direct signal that the technique is violated. In most cases, it performs twisting both with a too high angle of the body rise (almost 90 degrees) and with an excessively fast speed.
The main signal for the correct execution of twists is the appearance of a characteristic burning sensation and a feeling of fatigue of the rectus abdominal muscle – especially in its upper part. For beginners, 10-12 repetitions of the exercise may be sufficient to achieve this burning sensation, while the advanced level of twisting implies at least 25 repetitions and the use of additional weight.
Types of Twisting on the press
Abs is not just the rectus abdominis muscle. There are both the oblique muscles of the abdomen, located on the sides, and the internal (transverse) muscles, which run along the waist and literally encircle the body. Changing the mechanics of movement and inclination of the legs in twisting will allow the targeted involvement of these muscles in the work:
1. Reverse twisting
Such a variation of the exercise involves lifting not the torso, but the legs bent at the knees – due to this, the load on the lower part of the press increases. The lower back when performing reverse twists should also always be pressed to the floor.
2. Twisting on an incline bench
Complicated variation of reverse curls. On the exhalation, due to the involvement of the abdominal muscles in the work, it is necessary to raise the legs bent at the knees up, slightly tearing the lower back from the bench. Hold at the top point for 1-2 seconds, and then, while inhaling, return to the starting position.
3. Twisting with the fitball
A lightweight variation of reverse Twisting for beginners. Develops neuromuscular communication and allows you to learn how to involve the abdominal muscles in work. It performs the exercise at a slow pace and with an emphasis on breathing (lifting weights on exhalation, downward movement on inhalation).
4. Twisting with a roller
An advanced twist variation and one of the more difficult variations. Strengthens the rectus abdominis, develops the internal core muscles – and also puts stress on the upper core and arm muscles. Requires a good level of physical fitness.
5. Twisting on fitball
The easiest variation of reverse curls to perform. Strengthens the muscles of the core and upper torso.
6. Oblique twisting
The basic version of side twisting on the floor performed alternately on the left and right sides of the body. Exercise develops the oblique abdominal muscles. To increase the feeling of control over technique, you can put your hand on your belt to “feel” the muscles.
7. Side plank with twisting
A sophisticated variation of oblique twists performed from the sidebar position. Strengthens the abs (including the internal abdominal muscles) and the upper body.
8. Exercise Bicycle
The exercise combines classic Twisting with alternating leg pulls towards the chest. Develops oblique and internal abdominal muscles.
How often should you do it?
Abdominal Twisting is a dynamic exercise that develops and strengthens the rectus abdominis muscle. Unlike static planks and vacuum exercises, twisting takes time to recover. In other words, they must be performed no more often than once every 2-3 days – this will allow the muscles to grow fully.
Remember that it is quite difficult to pump up the press only with twists – the abdominal muscles quickly get used to the load and stop responding to it. If you want to achieve cubes, you must either regularly increase the level of difficulty of the curls, or combine them with other exercises for the press.
Twisting is a basic exercise for the rectus abdominis muscle. The correct execution technique implies only a slight rise of the upper part of the body, with the lower back tightly pressed to the floor. The key accent of Twisting is a full sense of the involvement of the abdominal muscles in the work.