A twist board is a round platform on which you stand and perform exercises while twisting from side to side. Similar to a wobble board, a twist board works core muscles involved in maintaining balance. You can find twist boards at some gyms, or you can purchase one to use at home. Start a twist board workout slowly, and build up workout intensity as you grow accustomed to the equipment. Twist board exercises have several benefits, but you should also be aware of the potential for injury.
Your body's core provides stability and strength for all other movement. A strong core helps you excel in athletic pursuits while decreasing your chances of injury. The spine, hips, abdomen and pelvis make up the core. Exercising on a twist board can help strengthen muscles in these areas by engaging the muscles to help you balance, even as you perform exercises to focus on other specific areas of the body.
When you stand on an unstable surface, such as a twist board, you engage muscles throughout your core to help you maintain your balance. Think about trying to keep your balance as you cross a stream on uneven, slipperly rocks. Your abdominals and glutes tighten, and you focus more on keeping your spine, hips and pelvis in line to maintain your balance. Even if you're performing other exercises while on the twist board, your core muscles remain engaged.
Stand on the twist board, and balance. Hold your arms out to your side if you need to in order to maintain balance. Twist your torso 45 degrees to the left, and hold for 10 seconds. Return facing forward. Repeat the movement to the right. As you gain proficiency, you can repeat this movement holding light hand weights. This exercise targets the oblique muscles, the muscles at the sides of your torso. You can also perform squats while balancing on the wobble board, with or without weights, or stand on the twist board, maintaining your balance, while you perform simple arm curls or hammer curls with weights. This allows you to work your upper body and your core at the same time.
Twisting too far places tension on the lower back and could result in injury, especially if you've had back problems in the past. Don't twist too far, and do the same number of repetitions on each side. A 2007 study by researchers at the University of Colorado and Louisiana State University found that repetitive twisting in one direction increased the likelihood of low back injury. Before you attempt a new exercise on the twist board, practice until you are proficient standing on a stable surface.
- "Sports Medicine 2006"; The Role of Core Stability in Athletic Function; W. Ben Kibler, Joel Press and Aaron Sciascia; 2006
- Bally Fitness: Twist Board
- Sports Injury Clinic: Wobble Board/Wobble Balance Board Exercises
- "Human Factors"; Neuromuscular Response to Cyclic Lumbar Twisting; Li Li et al.; October 2007