Barbell Exercises: Trunk Twist

The barbell trunk twist is one of several free weight barbell exercises that use a barbell, which is a metal pole with weight loads on both ends. Lots of people like to include this exercise in their fitness regimen because the barbell trunk twist combines resistance training with some “dynamic muscle training” where the way that your body moves is extremely important for handling the weight that’s involved. Doing barbell trunk twists can help strengthen your core muscles, but beyond that, it can help train your body to recognize the difference between natural and unnatural weight loads.

Doing the Barbell Trunk Twist

To do the barbell trunk twist, start by sitting on a weight or exercise bench with your feet on the floor and your back straight.

  • Put the appropriate amount of weight on the barbell and place the barbell in your lap, careful to support it with your arms.
  • Raise the barbell up over your head and rest it on your shoulders, behind your head.
  • With the barbell in place on your shoulders, slowly rotate your waist in one direction or another.
  • Stop when you feel you have reached a significant “twist” position where your body is handling the balance challenge of the weight shift.
  • Return to the original position.
  • Rotate in the other direction as described, then return to your original position.

This is one repetition of the barbell trunk twist.

Muscles Worked With the Barbell Trunk Twist

The barbell trunk twist activity works various muscle groups, including important core muscles in your abdominal region. That’s why so many beginning trainers like to consider this exercise for their regular fitness schedule.

Avoiding Injury

One of the best ways to avoid injury with the barbell trunk twist is to keep the weight load reasonable. As mentioned above, there is a chance for injury if you place the excessively loaded barbell in your lap. In addition, putting too much weight on your shoulders can also cause injury. Twisting too far is another way that some people get injured doing this exercise. For the best result, take care to start out with a low weight and add weight gradually, doing more repetitions with a lower weight, rather than trying to struggle with a heavily loaded bar. Remember that the bar itself often weighs 10 or 15 pounds. Start out slow, and used slow, controlled movements throughout.

Additional Challenge with the Barbell Trunk Twist

Some trainers also recommend similar exercises that challenge the body in similar ways. One of these is an activity that might also because a barbell trunk twist, or a barbell trunk rotation. For this one, the lower end of the barbell is on the ground, and the user holds the other end, rotating it to one side of the body or another. This also works the core and provides a resistance and balance challenge. One of the main points with this variation is to avoid excessive twisting or become “off balance” – it’s also a good idea to make sure that the weight plates on the barbell are correctly locked to prevent shifting.

 Consider the above activity for a good addition to your core strengthening workout.


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