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Do This, Not That, For Your Core

The number one thing that clients and athletes request is more CORE work. CORE has become a catch all term for what most think is abdominal work. That could be further from the truth. CORE really is about stability and mobility of your body to perform physical activity. Abdominals are part of the pie, but so are the back muscles, the hips and the glutes. The connector to all of this is the SPINE. Yes - spinal mobility (or lack there of) effects your CORE function as well as the function of other body parts. This a a jigsaw puzzle without straight edges.

There is a plethora of exercises dictated for "abdominals", but there is one exercise that is on most fitness videos, in most AMRAPS, in magazines, etc. I can honestly say it's been in my arsenal for a number of years. It's the RUSSIAN TWIST.

If you are unfamiliar, its performed on the floor, seated with knees bent. You lean your body back about 5-10 degrees from vertical and rotate side to side tapping the floor or holding a weighted object to add Loaded tension. Most people with do 20-30 reps - multiple sets.

Well, here's the lowdown on the twist - when you are seated you are putting compression (pressure from the bottom) and flexion (leaning back) along with rotation (twisting) on the spinal discs plus there is excessive load on the lumbar spine, sacrum and coccyx. So as you twist side to side, the discs are squeezing fluid trying trying to lubricate the ranges of motion. I saw a slow motion video on the effects of this exercise so I am sold on releasing it to the universe. Remember also, a majority (80%) of people will have some level of spinal issues due to sports, injury, or age, thus this exercise increases the possibility of further damage. I can hear the booing section in the back SO>>>>>

Let's turn a negative situation into a positive one - THERE ARE ALTERNATIVE DRILLS. A forearm plank with side to side hip dips, pallof press with cables or bands, standing rotation or chop work, and side planks. Be your own advocate, change up your workout and take a step toward protecting your spine.

If you have any questions on this exercise or would like more information on CORE and Spine Health, please comment or reach out to me at

Training with a purpose will add longevity to your healthy mind and body.


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