Move of the month: Pilates Twist

Words: Gemma Dawkins

If you’ve visited a Barre Body studio over the last fortnight, chances are you may have come across our move of the month: the Pilates Twist exercise. Coming up blank? The Twist starts similarly to a side plank, but then moves through a pike before returning to the mat. In other words, it’s a side plank with bells and whistles that squeeze a whole lot of juice out of one simple exercise. Here’s why (oh why?!) we’ve been twisting all month.

  1. It’s a full body exercise

Most likely, you’ve seen this exercise placed in the core section of class. Yep, right at the end of class when you’re already exhausted. Aren’t we nice? There’s no doubt that the Twist is an incredibly effective exercise for strengthening your obliques (waist muscles) in particular. The obliques are responsible for rotation of the torso, as well as lateral flexion of the trunk, which – ding ding ding – is exactly what happens in this exercise. The payoff? You won’t need to lace yourself into one of Kim K’s waist trainers to work on defining your midsection. In fact, we highly recommend that you don’t – they’re simply Gen Y’s answer to the corset and we like our organs where they’re meant to be, thank you very much. However, the Twist also gives you more bang for your buck by working your shoulder strength and stability, as well as adding a little glute burn and even bringing the legs to the party. Can your corset claim that? Just a few reps should see your whole working side beginning to fatigue. Time to swap sides!

  1. It’s super easy to modify

At Barre Body we’re all about modifications. Our job is to make sure that you’re doing a version of each exercise that gives you the most benefit – whether you’re a brand newbie, a barre addict, or managing an injury or baby bump. The beauty of the Twist is that you can start small, with the knees bent, and gradually add load by lengthening the legs out to a full side plank. You can also reduce your range of movement in the pike, or drop down to your forearm if you don’t enjoy balancing your entire bodyweight on one wrist (why ever not?) The possibilities are endless, which means the excuses are not. Twists for everyone!

  1. Coordinate more than just your activewear

While strength and mobility are key to fitness, there’s more to it than that. One of the most joyful things about barre is the element of coordination it requires, which makes your workout feel just a bit less of a slog and a bit more fun. Because the Twist consists of a series of movements, you’ll develop your coordination as well as your strength (and balance) while you’re practicing it. Throw in the optional breathing pattern and you may even find yourself in a state of zen – though we can’t make any promises.

Ready to give it a go at home? Barre Body’s founder Emma Seibold takes you through the Pilates Twist in this 5 minute video.