Let me tell you ’bout a place
Somewhere up a New York way
Where the people are so gay
Twistin’ the night away

Here they have a lot of fun
Puttin’ trouble on the run
Man, you find the old and young
Twistin’ the night away

They’re twistin’, twistin’
Everybody’s feelin’ great
They’re twistin’, twistin’
They’re twistin’ the night away

We all need to do what Sam Cooke says – twistin’ – maybe not the night away, but at least a few times a day!

Your spine is made up of 26 bones called vertebra. They are uniquely shaped to fit one on top of the other with a cushy disc in between and make up 5 different divisions of your spine: cervical (neck), thoracic (upper and mid back), lumbar (lower back), sacral/coccyx (pelvic area).

When you twist your spine, you rotate around your axis which is your spinal column. Your internal and external oblique muscles are primarily responsible for helping you rotate through your lumbar spine. Your long extensors and short multifidus help as well in both the lumbar and thoracic region.

Would you know it, our ability to twist is diminished by sitting. You’re not surprised by this are you? Coming soon to the blog information on why sitting is so BAD for you.

Twisting is also inhibited by tight abs and back muscles. Muscle weakness also contributes. So what do we do? Move, strengthen and stretch.

The less sitting you do, the better off you’ll be, but also adding a few rotations to your day can be helpful. And I don’t just mean when you back up your car. Hah! Although, if don’t correctly, it is a nice, supported, spinal rotation.

Below are two movements that help to stretch and strengthen your spinal muscles through rotation. When you do either of them, remember to slightly engage your abdominal muscles (not too tight), just enough to support your lower back.


Empty Coat Sleeves

  • Stand with your feet about hip distance apart
  • Begin to rotate toward one side coming up on the back toe
  • Let your arms swing around and tap your body as if they were empty coat sleeves ,Play with your speed – faster, slower – what feels better
  • To end, stop your feet first and let the arms catch up

Seated Twist (this version also stretches the hip but you can do the twist with both feet on the floor and forgo the hip stretch if you want)

  • Sit on your chair and place your left ankle on your right thigh
  • Take a breath in and lengthen your spine
  • Exhale and rotate toward the left placing your right hand on your knee or thigh and your left hand on the seat or back of your chair
  • Breathe here
  • When you are ready to release, inhale and lengthen and exhale and release


Want a hard copy of the movements?  Head on over to Patreon.

Next week we’ll wrap this up with a short video practice that puts flexion/extension, side bending and rotation all together!  See you then.