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Russian Twists

What Are Russian Twists?

How to do Russian Twists

Said to have gained its name from being used as a training exercise for soldiers during the cold war, Russian twists are an effective core exercise that strengthens almost every muscle in the torso.

Russian twists challenge the person to rotate their core while keeping the glutes in contact with the floor. Almost every muscle in the torso is worked in this movement -- while the internal and external obliques drive the twist, but the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, erector spinae, hip flexors, and latissimus dorsi all work to help stabilise the core throughout this movement.

The rotational element of the movement builds strength that carries over well to many sports that use rotation, such as golf and tennis.

Check out some of our other ab exercises: Reverse crunches, Toe touches, Side planks, Plank knee to elbowPlank to press ups

Most Commonly Asked Questions About Russian Twists

What Muscles Do Russian Twists Work?

Russian twists work the core muscles, and in particular challenge the obliques, rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis and erector spinae.

Are Russian Twists Bad?

Russian twists are a safe and effective core exercise. However, like with every exercise, it’s important to use good technique to ensure you gain the benefits from the exercise and protect yourself from injury.

Are Russian Twists Good For Love Handles?

Russian twists will not reduce the appearance of love handles, and no exercise enables us to spot reduce fat from specific areas. The best way to lose fat is through a calorie deficit, however it’s important to note that some people naturally hold onto more fat in this area than others and may not be able to completely get rid of them.

How Many Calories Do Russian Twists Burn?

While the exact calories Russian twists burn will depend on the individual and the number of reps, it’s unlikely to be many calories! As they are a resistance training exercise, Russian twists are more effective in building a strong core than they are for burning calories.

Tips for Russian Twists

Maintaining good form is key to ensuring Russian twists work the core. If you struggle to maintain good balance, cross your lower legs, or lightly rest your feet on the floor to add stability. This will ensure the core is working throughout the movement.

If you master the bodyweight Russian twist, there are various techniques that can be used to advance the movement. Add load using a medicine ball, kettlebell, or dumbbell, is a great way to progress. Alternatively, you could include punches at the top of the movement or use a decline bench. Always remember to ensure proper form before progressing the exercise to ensure the intended muscles are being challenged effectively.

How To Do Russian Twists

  1. Sit on the floor with your feet flat on the floor and close together, knees bent.

  2. Lean backwards to balance on your glutes and lift your legs upwards so that they are hovering above the floor.

  3. Keeping your back straight and your shoulders back, begin the reps by rotating your arms all the way to one side so that your hands are close to or can tap the floor.

  4. Continue the rep by rotating to the other side and doing the same again.

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.