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All that Jazz..............Twist of course!

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  • All that Jazz..............Twist of course!

    Originally posted by Lannette 07-15-2003, 12:49 PM

    If you’ve ever taken a jazz class it’s easy to underestimate this move and thus miss much of the body changing form it encompasses. There is definitely more going on here than initially meets the eye!

    I like to think of this move as one of the “hieroglyphic” moves. The term hieroglyphic comes to mind because your lower body is the base and your upper body twists against it, which reminds me of the art book pictures of Egyptian Hieroglyphics in the Pyramids of Egypt, specifically the cool dancers.

    I also look at this as a warm-up for T-Tapp Twist. Up to this point in the workout we’d warmed up and worked our back in flexion and extension (arches and scoops) and also laterally (side to side) so it seems naturally beneficial to move onto a twisting movement.

    Twisting has often gotten a bad rap in exercise circles. I think this is because so many backaches begin after poorly executed twisting movements. It is true that as we age we tend to limit the number of twisting movements we do but it’s also true that twisting is one of the fundamental movements that the spine was designed to perform. Many of our movements of daily living also utilize twists so I think we’re making a huge mistake when we limit twisting.

    Back pain resulting from a twist often has two causes. A twist where the lower body isn’t stabilized and/or a twist performed when the spine is compressed can both lead to back pain. Proper T-Tapp form, along with linear alignment addresses both of these issues and turns twisting into an amazing core strengthening move as well as a move which increases lymphatic drainage. (More on that later)

    Let’s first examine lower body form. Many people pretty much just move side-to- side during Jazz Twist without a lot of thought to foot and hip position. To do this loses much of the potential of the move in my opinion. Although it looks as though your lower body isn’t doing a lot other than alternating right and left it has the supremely important job of acting as the base of the movement. It’s this rock steady base that can be pulled against to really achieve a deep twist.

    So pay attention to getting your front leg lined up under your hip, with knee bent and pushed to KLT each time you switch sides. Don’t forget that all important tuck either! Once you get a good handle on that you can actually work to push KLT on the back leg as well and work the front and back legs in opposition. This KLT opposition creates an unstoppable base that protects your low back.

    It’s also important to hold linear alignment and not allow your upper body to lean forward as you reach forward with your arm. Keep those shoulders over the hips. (Yes they are twisted and so are not over the hips in the same plane as they are in other moves but they are still in linear alignment.) You are pulling forward with the front arm while holding your shoulders over the hips which results in an opposition between the arm and the shoulder and which activates all the muscles between the two. Keeping a strong flexed position with the front hand adds more muscle contraction and teases the neurological signals all the way from the brain to the tips of your fingers.

    Be sure that while all this is going on you remember to stretch your torso up up up rather than allowing it to collapse. Your torso is the link in your linear alignment between your hips and shoulders. Stretching it long protects your back and activates more muscle.

    Now for the actually twist. Once again, it can help to press your thumb on your rear hand into your back. Now pull that rear elbow back, back, back, trying to get your shoulders in a straight line. Pretend that someone is taking a picture of you from the front and you want as much of your back in the picture as possible and really twist but don’t release your shoulder or allow yourself to lean forward.

    I’ve broken all the various opposition points apart and presented them one by one but in real life they all work together and pretty much happen at the same time. Getting them all to work at the same time can be quite a challenge so don’t be upset with yourself if you can’t concentrate on every point of opposition at the same time. With practice it will all happen.

    A final word (or a few actually) about lymphatic drainage and twisting. Your midsection is home to a large number of lymph nodes and many lymphatic vessels, which lie near the vessels, which supply blood to your internal organs. When you twist your torso deeply you literally wring out the stale blood and lymphatic fluid. When you release the twist you allow a fresh supply of blood and lymphatic fluid to rush back in. So with every twist good things are happening inside as well as outside.

    OK as usual I have one more final word. The other thing I love about Jazz twist is the right, left brain stimulation it provides. The right side of your brain controls the left side of your body and vice versa. In alternating from side to side and using right and left body opposition this move sends signals alternately from the right and left sides of the brain. I recently received an email from a Tapper who mentioned that she finds that twists elevate her mood and I have found the same thing. I can’t help but wonder if that is due to the combination of the blood/lymph flush along with the right/left brain patterning.

    So even though it’s over and done with faster than some of the other longer moves in the workout Jazz Twist is a powerhouse all on it’s own.

    Goodness this got long! Sorry about that guys!


  • #2
    Sherry's comment

    Lannette,

    This is truly outstanding. This move is often overlook but as one becomes more comfortable with T-Tapp, it definitely needs this sort of attention.

    I really like your analogy below -- I never quite thought of it that way.

    "Now for the actually twist. Once again, it can help to press your thumb on your rear hand into your back. Now pull that rear elbow back, back, back, trying to get your shoulders in a straight line. Pretend that someone is taking a picture of you from the front and you want as much of your back in the picture as possible and really twist but don’t release your shoulder or allow yourself to lean forward."

    This is so good and really enhances the torque.

    In line with that, Teresa has been emphasizing the active torquing more. From that analogy as a starting point, you reach straight forward with the opposite arm as far as you can but no leaning. Here is the subtle part that many miss:

    Pull the shoulder back in alignment with the lats and torso -- not the shoulder itself.

    Wowser! Oooooh, that feels so good.

    Thank you again Lannette for such incredible insights. I am so glad you share your education and training with us in this way.

    Comment


    • #3
      Nancy Liz 07-27-2012, 11:04 AM

      Jazz Twist

      Another question: In the Jazz Twist, should the hips twist also, or are they to be held as still as possible and only the shoulders and torso above the waist twist?


      monica213 07-27-2012, 11:06 AM


      Hold the hips steady as you twist the upper body


      Chatavia 06-04-2014, 11:52 AM

      Wow! I did not realize all this was involved in the Jazz Twist. My concern in executing these moves has been the speed (trying to keep up with the video)


      BlessedMama 06-04-2014, 12:24 PM

      LOL! We've all been there, Chatavia! But truly it's slowing it down that really helps you focus on all the nuances of muscle activation!

      Comment

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