A lot of you will be familiar with various Core exercises. Ab crunches, planks, leg raises etc. But in this post I want to talk about rotational or twisting exercises for your core that will help to tighten up your waist line and build a faster, stronger and more powerful core.
Rotational exercises bring into play most of the traditional core muscle groups, abdominals, hip flexors, lower back. But they also fire your obleaks. The muscles that run down your sides. They help to support the lower back, add balance and control and drive the rotation and acceleration of the torso through space. In this post I will share 3 great exercises with you for building the Obleaks from a simple beginner exercise to a more advanced option.
Have a go at each exercise and see how it works for you. Remember to focus on two things when training your core. Breathing, inhaling on the negative and exhaling on the main contraction. And technique, focusing on control and smooth movement rather than speed and weight used. Okay now that that is understood lets get into the exercises.
1. Russian Twists – the simplest and probably most well known exercise for your obleaks. All you need is a mat and some sort of heavy object, medicine ball, dumbbell or kettlebell. Sit on the floor as if you are about to do a set of sit ups but stay at the top of the movement. From here take your weight in both hands and hold it in front of your chest with your arms almost straight out in front. Rotate your body to one side and touch the weight to the flor before turning around to the other side and again touching your weight to the floor. Repeat for as many seconds or reps as you please. Just make sure to do both sides evenly. To make this exercise harder try leaving back a little and lifting your feet from the floor, holding them 6 inches off the ground. This will activate more lower core and hip flexors and challenge your balance more.
2. Core Cable Twists – this is a great move to use if you have access to a cable pulley system in your gym. Set the pulley to about chest height and attach either a single hand handle or the triceps rope attachment to the pulley. If you are using the rope pull it all the way through to one side. From here stand with your feet hip width apart for support with the the pulley to one side of you. Grasp the handle With the hand furthest away from the machine first and wrap your fingers of your other hand over it, or if using the rope then grasp it at the black bulb at the end of the rope with your further hand and about the middle of the rope with your closest hand. From here keep your arms straight and rot
ate 180 degrees until you are facing away from the machine or until the cable touches your chest/ shoulder. Control be weight back in to the machine and repeat 8-12 times. Then turn around and repeat the movement for the opposite side of your body. To make it harder try slowing it down or pulling. Out fast and then bro in it in over 4 seconds. (1 second out. 1 sec pause, 4 seconds reverse) This exercise uses all of the core muscles involved in the previous exercise and also brings in the arms and legs as you power and pull the cable through the complete movement.
3. Barbell Rotations- if you have access to a ‘land mine attachment for a barbell in your gym this will make it easier, if not then find an empty corner in your gym and point one end into it. From here you can add a small amount of weight to the end of the barbell
facing you or just work with the 20kg bar to begin with. Pick it up with both hands at the end of the barbell and place your feet shoulder width apart for balance. Keeping your arms straight raise the barbell to head height. From here rotate your body and twist your hips to the right, while rolling up onto the ball of your left foot as you bring the barbell towards your right hip. Reverse the movement to the centre and then drop and twist it to the left. Repeat this for as many repetitions or seconds as you like but I advise you focus on the movement and control and do more reps with less weight for optimum results. This will be working not only your entire core but also your hips, glutes, arms, back and shoulders as well. So it is a great full body move when performed correctly.
So there they are. Start easy and build up through them. Normally I would do 3-4 sets of an exercise like this with 30-60 seconds rest depending on the type of session I had planned.
If you have any other great rotational exercises then please share them with us in the comments section bellow and they may feature in future blog posts.