Twist for a slimmer waist.

Benefits of Oblique Twists

by Lyra Radford

If you're looking to challenge and strengthen your oblique muscles, consider incorporating oblique twists into your workout routine. Obliques, the muscles that run up your sides, comprise part of your body’s core and are engaged in every bend and twist you make. They work to stabilize the body -- picture them as the pillars of your torso. They must be worked out just as much as the rest of your body for a strong and well-sculpted physique.

1. Obliques and Twists

There are two sets of oblique muscles: internal and external obliques. Your external oblique muscles are the ones with visible definition, and just beneath them are your internal oblique muscles. The motion of oblique twists firms your obliques and your transverse abdominals. Adding repetitions and weights to the twists over time will build a strong frame around your abs while giving you a toned waist and a defined V-tapering down toward your pelvic area.

2. Performance Enhancement

By training the obliques muscles with oblique twists, you’ll increase the speed of core movements while playing tennis, racquetball, golf and other sports that involve swinging the torso. Everyday activities such as bending, twisting, carrying and balancing will all be easier on you too.

3. Additional Benefits

Strengthening the obliques improves balance and posture, which is not only visually slimming, but also gives an instant confidence boost. An increase in the strength and flexibility of these muscles reduces the pressure on the lower back by distributing the force exerted while you move around and lift objects throughout your day. This eases pain and stress on the lower back muscles.

4. Types Of Oblique Twists

There are a few variations of the oblique twist. All of them require keeping your head straight and your core muscles engaged as you twist your torso from side to side. When performing the standing twist, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lock your arms straight out to the side. If you prefer a seated twist, sit on an ab bench, then lean back 45-degrees before performing the twists. Alternatively, you can perform a Russian twist by sitting on the floor and elevating your legs 45 degrees before twisting. Holding weights or a medicine ball while twisting maximizes results.

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