New ROK Article on the Twist Stretch


My new Return of Kings article is up, in which I discuss the twist stretch, and why it is the best thing you can do for upper body flexibility.

 But what about upper body flexibility? Most people don’t focus on that, and that is just as important to train as lower body flexibility (namely for purposes of increased athletic performance, reduction of joint aches and pains, and, in some cases, increased strength). I have taught the readers some basic upper body stretches in the past, such as the chest stretch and the door frame stretch. But in my opinion, if you’re going to do any one stretch for upper body flexibility, that would have to be the seated twist stretch.

This stretch involves crossing your legs in a manner that will be discussed below, and twisting the torso while simultaneously locking your arm onto your bent knees. This stretch will hit most of your most prominent upper body muscles-The latissimus dorsi, the triceps, the deltoids, the obliques, the neck, and the pectorals.

In addition to those visible muscles, the twist stretch will work the deep spinal muscles (the erector spinae), and even the muscles of the buttocks (the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus) as well.

Many athletes perform the twist stretch, particularly combat athletes such as wrestlers, judokas, and mixed martial artists that need great torso flexibility to escape from holds and pinfalls.

Sounds like something you ought to learn, doesn’t it? But how?

As I have happily admitted in the past, and will likely do so again, Paul Wade’s outstanding Convict Conditioning series has taught me this and many other exercises, and I cannot advocate Wade’s writing enough. More specifically, the Twist Stretch comes from Convict Conditioning 2. The first book deals with the core calisthenic series (push-ups, squats, and the like) I have already gone over in detail. In contrast, the second book deals with static holds that develop strength and flexibility such as the L-Sit and today’s topic.

You can read the article here