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Biomechanics of The Butterfly Twist

Btwist Biomechanics Front View
Front View of Btwist

Btwist Biomechanics side view
Side view of Btwist

Being able to perform a B-twist is one thing, but making it seem appealing as well as beneficial in a tricking combo is something quite different.

Athletes who aren't taught a suitable B-twist technique,

in which they first execute the take-off of a Butterfly Kick and then twist,

are more likely to twist in a vertical rather than a horizontal plane.

Punching for the twist in a b-twist discourages the completion of the b-kick,

encourages early twist and FASTER twist,

and makes the b-twist unpredictable for the athlete.

The twist of a single B-twist should primarily come from the torque generated by the leg kicks.

(When launching from a B-twist, it's best to have your arms close to your body and retracted.)

Table of Contents:

Butterfly Twist (B-twist)

The Three Steps to a B-Twist

The Take Off

1. If you can do a solid butterfly kick, you should have no trouble transitioning into a B-twist because its take off is essentially a B-kick take off.

2. If you're doing a butterfly kick off your left leg, you'll want to be looking right of the direction you're moving, and if you're doing a right leg butterfly kick, you'll want to be facing left in the direction you're traveling.

3. With your left leg facing forward and your arms raised above your head, you want to dip your chest down towards your left knee by flexing at the hip and with the aid of a little trunk flexion, also your leg should start loading for the jump (flexing at the knee)

4. At this point your head and arms will be pointing towards the front, with both legs still firmly planted on the ground. When you reach the bottom of the dip, you should start pushing your chest and arms up and kicking your back leg as high as possible by extending at the hips (using your glutes muscle).

NOTE, as you pull your arms up, you also want to pull them outwards creating a "butterfly look;" this is not just for aesthetics, it is to help you gain some control in the air as you do the butterfly kick; pulling your arms out help by negating any unnecessary twist in the torso during the actual butterfly kick; this is helpful for the B-twist, which will be explained later in The Twist.

5. Your chest should be at least as high as your feet at the peak of your kick and chest pull, you should be facing the opposite direction from where you started, and you should fully extend your jump leg to push yourself off the ground; thanks to the upward momentum you've created with your chest dip and pull and leg kick, this shouldn't be too difficult.

The Twist

1. The B-twist's easiest component is the twist, which may come as a surprise. First, as you take off from your B-kick set up, your arms and legs are up and out, creating almost like a “X” in the air, as we talked about earlier, in The Take Off, your arms are out, as well as your legs to control any unnecessary twist as you take off for the b-kick, this also tells us that your body wants to twist, and all you have to do is to “let it”.

2. How you “let” your body twist is to firstly bring your legs together, your legs actually created a torque to spin as you kick them upwards, so by clamping both legs together actually increases the speed of the torque helping you twist around.

3. You don't need to punch your arms in order to perform the B-twist because the twists come primarily from the angular momentum created by the legs.

4. After performing the b-kick and then clamping your legs together, you also want to keep your arms as close to your body as possible. This is because the arms were canceling out the angular momentum, but when you retract them close to your body, the speed of the twist increases, and this in turn helps you

The Landing.

1. If your B-twist's flip phase is solid, landing the twist itself is easy.

2. At the very end of your twist, as you look past your left shoulder (if you're twisting to the left), you should be able to spot the ground for landing; your entire body should still be in a straight line, and all you need to do is flex at the hip, with an external rotation; this movement will help you reach out with your landing leg for the ground, while also rotating your hips into a position in which your knees will be positioned safely.

3. Always try to land with your feet slightly apart and your knees slightly bent to form a cushion and protect your joints.

Strength and conditioning

When doing a B-twist, an athlete relies heavily on the muscles in his or her hips, or glutes. This is true whether the player is kicking or jumping; the glutes are the largest muscle group that helps the athlete achieve the trick.

  • Exercises like block-supported kick leaps are helpful for helping athletes learn to match their jump with the peak of their kick, to kick with their glutes, and to avoid doing a horse kick backwards, in which the knee is flexed and then extended with great force. To simulate a butterfly kick, athletes can increase the difficulty of this practice by turning into the kick jump and then swapping legs in midair after the kick.

  • Superman: By simulating the position your body is supposed to be in while performing the B-kick/twist, this exercise helps strengthen the upper and lower back while also working the glutes and hamstrings, and it teaches the body to use the proper muscles to bring the chest and the legs up and away from the floor to create the arch you would see in a B-kick. Training the core muscles to activate while holding a specific position aids in teaching the athlete to "connect" the torso and hips. This is particularly useful for the B-kick, where a "disconnected" torso and hips can lead to a slack gluteal muscle, which in turn prevents a high leg position and a low chest position—two things that are counterproductive when trying to land a trick.

  • Stretches for the hip flexors include the hip flexor stretch, the pretzel, and the sumo stretch.

  • Hip extensions are crucial in the B-twist; therefore, players can improve their hip extension and kick's momentum by extending the hip flexor muscles to increase their hips' range of motion.

Muscle Groups That Play a Role in a B-Twist

  • The quadriceps are a group of four muscles—the vastus femoris, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis, and vastus lateralis—that work together to help you extend your knees far and high when you leap. These muscle groups also serve as knee stabilizers, ensuring a safe and secure landing after a trick.

  • The calf muscles, which include the gastrocnemius and soleus, are crucial for stabilizing the ankle joint and allowing for swift, powerful motions like jumping since they are mostly made up of fast-twitch muscle fibers.

  • The hamstrings, the gluteus medius, and the hamstrings. One of the main muscle groups that contributes to explosive jumping power is the glutes. When you have powerful glutes, you can stand on one leg with confidence, keep your pelvis in a healthy position to avoid injuries, and shield your knees from harm when you engage in leg exercises.

  • Those muscles that make up your abs are called the transversus abdominus, rectus abdominis, external obliques, and internal obliques, respectively. At the moment the twist is performed, the legs generate the twist, and the abdominal muscle stretches and contracts to help pull the torso towards the direction the lower body is going. This is an example of how the upper and lower body are connected during the B-twist.

  • The erector spinae and the gluteal muscles of the lower back; Together with the abdominal muscles, they keep the core firm and the body in a straight line during a twist, which is why they are so important.

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