To Twist or Not to Twist?

Updated: Mar 24, 2020

Now, let’s talk for a second about the negative issues usually associated with twisting. When you hear of someone throwing out their back, their story usually starts with, “well, I bent over to pick up this box that was next to my feet..” or “I was pulling something off of the shelf in the garage and…”. A lot of back injuries, and even injuries in other parts of the body – neck, abs, shoulders – occur during everyday activities. Sometimes these activities don’t even involve a whole lot of weight or force! We are just performing a very average activity and we twist just the wrong way and we are laid out on the couch for a week until we feel better. Then, when we do feel better, we are all paranoid about not doing that activity or movement again because that’s how we got hurt last time! That’s no way to live! 

So, what are some guidelines that we can use in order to protect ourselves with twisting motions that we encounter on a daily basis?

1. Give yourself a good foundation – if you know that you’ve got to put something on a high shelf, don’t teeter on the edge of a kitchen chair to get it done. Find yourself a solid base, like a stepladder, and stand firmly on it to give yourself the best foundation you can.

2. Weigh the weight – I don’t mean literally weigh every single thing you ever pick up or pull down, but before you try to move any given object, take a second to think about the weight of that object and what the best (and safest) way is to move it. Maybe sliding it is better than trying to pick it up; maybe you need to be at a different angle to get the best grip; maybe you need someone to help you. Take a couple seconds to evaluate your situation and then proceed.

3. Practice twisting in a controlled environment – here’s where exercise comes in! It may sound a little bit silly at first, but practicing twisting type movements in your workouts can help exponentially in these little areas of everyday life. And the exercises used to train these movements aren’t weird things that you’d never see anyone else at the gym doing. They are functional movements that can be done with or without weight and will help you learn how to best control your body when it is called upon to perform these tasks. 

Aside from the practical, daily purposes of learning to twist properly, there is a lot of discussion, especially in the yoga field, about how beneficial twisting motions, particularly in the torso, can be. They are said to be detoxifying – wringing out the body of unwanted stress. 

On Wednesday, I’ll show you some of my favorites twisting exercises to get those muscles working and keep them well-trained! Keep an eye out!

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