As you probably know, twisting rotations belong in the isolated, single-joint exercise category. They do not recruit much of the muscle groups surrounding the obliques. Their main advantage is that they attack “love handles” better than any other exercise does. The broomstick twist is a great exercise for increasing flexibility and working out any kinks or tight spots in your torso. That’s why it is a good idea to include broomstick twist into your abdominal workouts. This abdominal exercise uses no weights—only a long bar (or broom handle).
Exercise Instructions – Proper Technique
Sit on the end of a flat bench (or stand up) with your feet on the floor. Place the bar (broomstick) behind your head, resting it across the back of your shoulders, and hold it. You can hold a bar with an overhand grip using your fingers or you can place your wrists and lower forearms on top of the bar to support it. We recommend that you place your hands as close to the ends as you can, keeping your elbows slightly bent.
Firmly contract your abdominal muscles and twist from one side to the other using your abs to control the range of movement. More precisely, keeping your head still and your eyes looking forward, bend your torso to the right as far as possible. Your shoulders should rotate at about a 90-degree angle so that they’re turned sideways. Hold, then rotate in the opposite direction. When you twist to the right, feel the right oblique muscles contract, and vice versa.
Broomstick Twist Key Points
- Don’t swing your torso from side to side. Avoid jerky movements.
- Keep your buttocks and thighs firmly on the bench—don’t let them lift up.
- Your head should move with your torso.
Broomstick twist works the internal oblique muscle on the side twisted and the external oblique on the other side.
Main muscles: internal and external obliques
Secondary muscles: rectus abdominis, transverse abdominal, quadratus lumborum
Antagonists: the same muscles on the other side of the body
For variety, you can stand and perform the same movement, with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart. You can also perform this exercise while lying in a Roman chair or across a bench in a horizontal position.
You can replace broomstick twists with seated or standing machine twists.
Twisting movements— whether standing or seated—develop the intercostal muscles at the top and sides of your abs. Broomsticks twists are also an excellent warm-up exercise at the beginning of your workout because they loosen up the entire upper body. Just try not to generate too much momentum. Perform the twist under control, with the goal of extending the limits of the trunk’s range of motion, not to see how fast the movement can be performed.