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4 Dangerous Mistakes People Make With The Full Contact Twist

In the last post I introduced to you the full contact twist and shared a couple of tips on technique and proper form. In this post I want to point out a few mistakes that I’ve seen people make when I teach them the full contact twist. Mistakes are a normal part of the learning process but it is important to learn a safe and effective technique for each exercise.

We don’t want to hurt ourselves. What follows is a selection of videos I found online with people demonstrating the drill. If one of these videos is yours, apologies for using it as a *bad example* – I only want to help people get strong and stay safe.

Mistake #1 – Extending The Arms


This video is a good example of someone overcompensating his lack of strength with bad form. Remember, the weight you use is not important. What matters is that you use perfect technique and gradually increase the weight over time. This ensures strength and lack of injuries.

In the full contact twist, the arms should remain locked or almost locked and no movement should come from them. Pushing with your triceps makes the exercise easier and thus less effective. Here is a screencap from the above video showing how the instructor pushes with his arms:


[Note how he is using the strength of his tricep to overcome a sticking point in the movement. Cheater, cheater :)]

Mistake #2 – Using Restricted Range Of Motion

Using the full range of motion for the full contact twist means to always let the bar touch your thigh. There are two reasons for this, but before this – check out our cute model demonstrating crappy form. Now, let’s continue:

First, all natural full body movements need to be done with full range of motion in order to gain strength throughout the whole movement path that the joints allow. This results in both strength for your muscles and health for the joints.

Second, when you do the FCT and finish mid air, this means that your body, or center of gravity, is too distant from the weight. Which results in a long lever (or torque) acting on your spine. Ouch! If you still remember your physics, the longer the lever, the bigger the force it exerts. So keep your body close to the bar.


[Take note how this cutie here finishes the movement in mid air. Actually I’d say she doesn’t finish the movement at all – instead decides she’s had enough of the rep and just reverses it lol! If the bar were loaded with a few plates, it would pull on her spine!]

Mistake #3 – Staying In The In The Arch Position Instead Of The Hollow Position

An example for this mistake can be seen in two of the videos I shared with you above – check them out again if you like here and here. Basically these folks are tilting their pelvises back. This position activates the lower back but actually relaxes the abs. And, because with the FCT a heavy bar is trying to push you back, the last thing you want to do is extend backwards even more.

This mistake both severely restricts the amount of force you can exert, and makes the exercise unsafe, as the abdominal muscles are strong in the hollow position and weak in the arch position


[Check out how there is an exaggerated curve in their lower backs. This is a great example of proper form for the arch position. Problem is – the full contact twist needs to be done in the hollow position or you risk hurting your lower back. Ouch again!]

Mistake #4 – Not Rotating The Hips And The Trailing Foot

Here is a video showcasing this mistake. The guy has planted both of his feet and doesn’t rotate them. The hip is also almost stationary. This creates unnatural tension in the hip and knee joints.

The different joints of the body are created for different function. Without getting into too much detail, the hips and ankles need to be mobile and the knees need to be stable. The knee is a hinge joint – just like the hinge of a door it goes only in one plane – back and forth.

The mistake here is that by keeping the hips and ankles stable, the knee joint has to compensate with rotation. So the result is loss of strength because of the inefficient and unnatural movement as well as potential danger for the knee.


[Couldn’t come up with a funny comment here lol!]

Unrelated note: the past couple of weeks I’ve discovered a ton of new and very exciting fitness blogs. I will attempt to share with you some of them in the upcoming posts so both you and I can get to know them.

One of the new fitness bloggers I got to know is Charles Malina. He is a college student with a gymnastic background (he’s got what I call a ‘compact athletic/gymnastic look’) who stays in killer shape. Lets hope Charles shares some of the gymnastic training secrets.

Another new blogger I found is David Grim, a fellow basketball fan and player too. He used to be in top shape but after college basketball let himself go. Now at 37 he regained the physique of his youth. I’m looking forward to reading more practical tips from him.

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9 Comments - Share Are Your Thoughts

  1. Great Tips Yavor. I was definitely arching way too much while doing this. I should`ve known better since most gymnastic ab exercises are done in the hollow position:)
    And thanks again for the reccomendation!

  2. For me, mistake #1 is by far the easiest to make. I’ve found the best solution is simply to check your ego at the door and drop the weight until you can build up your strength.

    -Drew

  3. Yavor

    Charles,

    you’d think a former gymnast would know when to stay in the hollow position lol. Just messing with ya man!

    Drew,

    yeah this is the most common mistake I guess. The cool thing about this exercise is that you can get pretty strong on it pretty quick.

    Cheers guys,

    Y.

  4. This is a great exercise for obliques. I like to use a cable machine and do “Cable Rotatations” for the same effect. Your post on Renegade Rows is great as well for info on hardening the obliques for great ab definition.

  5. Dan

    I have to keep myself in check sometimes when it comes to form. This post is a good reminder that I need to keep my shoulders healthy for the summer.

    Good stuff.

    Dan

  6. Great post Yavor. This exercise is great for the obliques like PaPa Star Health said alomng with the renegade rows. Plus this exercise looks like its good for opening up the hips and helping them get conditioned for movement.

    Good stuff!

  7. Yeah Yavor, I agree with Drew. This goes for most exercises. It seems that it’s easy to forget that we are doing an exercise for the results that it can bring, not just to see how much weight we can do with it. I’m guilty of this for sure at times! I guess it’s the old powerlifting days for me.

  8. Papa Star Health,

    do you mean a wood chopper-style of movement? Those are great for the obliques.

    Dan,

    yeah man, last thing you want is to injury yourself instead of getting fitter. Good call!

    Mike,

    you are right, it promotes healthy hip mobility – granted you do it the right way – with nice rotation in the hips and the ankle of the trailing foot.

    Kelly,

    I think most of us guys are guilty of this lol. Thanks for stopping by!

    Good stuff guys,

    Y.

  9. Dan

    I just did Russian BB Twists yesterday for the first time. Good exercise. Proper form is an absolute must. I can see how you can really tweak your back by using poor form and/or too much weight.

    Dan


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