RUSSIAN TWISTS

The Russian twist exercise targets the rotational muscles of the core. These muscles provide movement and stability during nearly all activities of daily life, particularly during sports such as golf, tennis, squash and running.

Lie on your back on the floor with your hips and knees bent to 90 degrees.

Slowly lower your legs together to one side.

Return to the start position, then repeat on the opposite side.

Too easy?

If you find this exercise too easy, increase the intensity by straightening your legs.

Too hard?

If this is proving too difficult, try not to lower your legs as far towards the floor. Even with a shorter range of movement, you will still feel the benefits of this exercise. Alternatively, reduce the challenge by placing the feet on a stability ball.

Now we have covered the fundamentals of mobility, stability and balance, we are ready to really get moving! In this section, we will look at how we can use movement and resistance to increase strength, power, balance, coordination and agility.

Using a range of exercises designed to challenge the body through each plane of movement, this section will improve your ability to perform everyday activities. The human body thinks and works in movements, not by individual muscles. Traditional approaches have favoured programmes to train separate muscle groups, such as the chest, back and shoulders, instead of training the patterns of movement that we use in everyday life.

Fixed-resistance machines found in health clubs are not geared towards improving how we function. They generally require you to sit or lie down, and rob the body of the need to stabilise itself during the exercise, something it simply must do in real life. Sitting down also increases toad through the spine and discs, which, when combined with poor technique or high loads, can be potentially dangerous. In short, they are bad news for most of us!

Although there are those who may benefit from using machines, most people are better off working with freeweights and just their bodyweight in an environment that challenges the whole body in all planes of movement. This approach forms the basis of what I call movement-based resistance training (MBRT).

Rather than divide the body by muscles, we will be training it by the following movements: Squatting and bending Pushing

Lunging and stepping

By recreating movements that we use every day, we can develop strength, coordination, balance and power that transfers into everything we do, whether it is work, sport or simply carrying the shopping home. These movements make us use our bodyweight over added weight. You have to carry your bodyweight around with you all day, so why not train to be able to do this better? As we have already seen, strength without stability is useless in the real world. First, learn to support your

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