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Fitness with a Twist

Article Published: Aug. 2, 2012 | Modified: Aug. 2, 2012
Fitness with a Twist

Donna Nicastro demonstrates the Ab Twist at the recent All About Women Expo.

Photo by Frank Ruggiero

From vibrating chairs that relive muscle tension and cleanse the bowels, to mild electric shocks that tighten abdominal muscles, the mantra of health quick fixes has created a population of skeptics.

The infomercial false-promise of transforming supplements is a chimera compared to the achy sweaty hours at the gym.

But Donna Nicastro, 24-year-long owner of Boone Bagelry, has created an exercise device, the Ab Twist, that is somewhere in the middle and is made from local materials.

“I work out of home and don’t go to the gym, so I order my exercising machines,” she said. “They are never what they appear to be on TV.”

Nicastro said she spent $180 on an Ab Lounge that broke in two months and bought a treadmill that deafens her steps, voices and the television.

“I decided to make something that’s affordable and easy and made in America,” she said, “for my sake, as well as for other people that have had injuries or don’t have a gym membership.”

She dissected her Ab Lounge and used the parts to sculpt her own version – “one that wouldn’t break,” she said.

After a semester of Appalachian State University’s manufacturing and design class, within two years of prototyping and revising, Nicastro had Triplett and Coffey Welding piece together the first Ab Twist. Charelston Forge coated the machine, and a student designed the logo that Omega Screen Printing now issues on the machine and T-shirts.

The Ab Twist exercise is simple but sensed. Just stand on the swivel base, hold onto the handlebars, and twist.

It primarily benefits deep back muscles, the internal and external obliques, gluteus maximus, medius, minimus and rectus abdominus by lubricating the disks.

“I’m a tennis player, so I believe that the core is the most important part of the body,” Nicastro said. “Most people who are out of shape have the problem around the midsection. That’s what this helps.”

“This piece of equipment causes the spinal joints to go through a range of motion and movement that improves spinal disc metabolism, improves spinal vertebrae motion, which slows the degenerative process, which slows aging of spinal joints,” chiropractor Brad Batchelor of Batchelor Chiropractic Clinic said.

Thus, it is a practical means of strengthening the core and a firm conduit, like yoga and Pilates, to further exercise ability. Its repetitive motion tenses in the same motion as skiing or dancing.

“I get down by doing it to music, going fast and slow, standing on my tiptoes to feel it more in my calves, or leaning back to feel it in my back,” Nicastro said. “It’s truly not about losing weight. It’s about getting healthy.”

“This is easy on strained parts of the body,” she said. “There was a woman who had a hip replacement that couldn’t do any sort of exercise, but she could do this.”

Nicastro pragmatically designed the Ab Twist with no assembly required, an easy 27 pounds, flat storage and rubber feet that won’t scratch a wood floor.

“I’ve sold 42 machines since May 1 when we started advertising,” she said. “I call everyone after they buy it to see how it’s going, and they all like it. You know, I don’t want them to feel stuck after working hard for their money. I’ll stand by this product.”

The Ab Twist costs $139. To purchase, or for more information, visit

Additional Images

Donna Nicastro demonstrates the Ab Twist at the recent All About Women Expo.
Photo by Frank Ruggiero

The Ab Twist exercise is simple: Just stand on the swivel base, hold onto the handlebars, and twist.
Photo submitted

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