The standard oblique twist is done with a cable machine in a standing position with the arms outstretched and the feet shoulder-width apart or greater. This is necessary to maintain a stable base when twisting with any added resistance, but it does shift a lot of the focus from the obliques to the upper and lower body. Kneeling helps keep more of the effort where it is meant to be, which means less resistance is needed.
While kneeling appears to give a much smaller range of movement than standing, the extra rotation actually comes from the hips. Kneeling does a lot to minimise this, as does the lower resistance, meaning that all of the rotation is spinal and therefore it is the obliques that are doing most of the work.
Oblique Twist Technique
1. Start by attaching a handle to the cable machine and kneel down on a mat far enough away from the machine that you will be able to twist without the weight used hitting the rest of the stack. Set it to chest height.
2. Your position is 45 degrees to the machine, which should be on your right, holding the handle with both hands and your arms outstretched. Engage your core muscles which will focus the effort and maintain good technique.
3. Keeping your hips and lower body still, twist your upper body to the left as far as you can. This can be done quickly or slowly depending on your goals, but the range of movement in an oblique twist depends on your flexibility.
4. Hold the position for a second to get an isometric contraction, which you should be feeling in your obliques, not your hips.
5. Return to the start position under control over about 3 – 5 seconds, which again is dictated by your flexibility, then begin the next rep.
6. To work the opposite oblique, face the other way so that the machine is on your left, then twist to your right.
Oblique Twist Notes
1. Before you start, make sure the mat you are using isn’t going to slip.
2. If you find that the cable is hitting your arms before you finish each oblique twist, move back so that the cable is in front of you more.
3. Keep your arms outstretched at chest height, with a slight bend at the elbow, throughout each set.
4. There should be no movement below your waist. Imagine your lower body is fixed in concrete so only your upper body can move.
5. The exercise can be done on both knees, or on one knee.
As always, any questions or feedback leave a comment below.