If you’re new to training your core, then get ready because this movement is going to burn your abs big time! The Russian twists exercise is an excellent movement for stimulating core strength and shredding your stomach.
Muscles Targeted: Russian twists target the muscles in your abdominal area to create a defined, sculpted look, as well as provide core strength in your midsection. Russian twists are awesome because you actually feel them working right away and after a few weeks of consistent training, you will see the results when combined with a clean diet and cardio program to shed excess body fat. The act of positioning your upper body at a 45 degree angle while drawing strength from your buttocks area to move and twist your upper body side-to-side is why Russian twists work so well for increasing strength, stability and definition in your core area!
Exercise Advice: Place a padded exercise mat on the ground. While in a seated position, lean back at about a 45 degree angle. Lift your feet slightly off floor. Reach your arms straight out and then “twist” and rotate your upper body to one side as you reach for the floor while keeping your feet up and your lower body stable. Rotate back to other side to complete a full repetition.
Things To Avoid: While doing Russian twists you want to make sure you are doing the exercise correctly. Make sure your back is flat and straight, your shoulders should be relaxed with your chin up and looking straight ahead. Try to avoid turning your neck while twisting (keep it stable while turning) and contract your stomach muscles during the entire range of motion. Remember, if you can’t “feel” the burn in your abs and love handles then you probably aren’t doing it correctly. Your tempo should be nice and slow without any jerky and quick movements. Russian twists should not be performed by anyone with lower back issues due to the tension that is placed on this area when performing the exercise.
Reps and Sets: If you’re just getting starting doing core exercises, it is important to complete the appropriate amount of reps and sets to see the best results without taking on more than you can handle. Beginners should start off by doing 5-10 repetitions for only 1-2 sets in order to get the exercise technique down correctly. Once you feel like your body has adjusted and strengthened itself and you are ready for more, you can advance to doing 10-20 reps for 3-4 sets. After feeling comfortable at the intermediate level then you can kick it up a notch and go for the advanced stage of this exercise with a repetition range of 20-50 for a total of 5-6 sets.
Other Exercises To Use: Once you get to the intermediate and advanced stages, you can add additional exercises to your core workout. These can include the Squirm Crunch, Starfish Crunch, and Side Throws. These exercises are very effective for strengthening the core muscles while helping to eliminate unwanted and unattractive body fat from around your midsection (along with a proper diet and cardio program).
Adding weights is a perfect addition when performing Russian twists and adds even more resistance to your abdominal and oblique muscles. Simply grab a weight place (10-25 pounds) and perform the exercise while holding the plate with both hands.