Russian twist exercise: how to safely move your abs to really stimulate your heart
“Anytime you’re challenged in a direction that’s not just forward or backward, like you’re off balance or being pushed against something, or just carrying something to one side, you have to. better chances of successfully navigating this strength if you have strong stabilizer muscles, ”says Miklaus.
Are Russian twists bad for you?
If performed correctly, Russian twists can be a safe addition to your basic routine, but there are some safety considerations that you should keep in mind first. Mainly, you need to make sure that your form is on point throughout the exercise. To do this, you first need to make sure you keep a neutral spine, says Miklaus.
“A lot of people tend to round their shoulders forward or round their upper back – they kind of collapse and squat,” he says. “You want to stay tall throughout the movement, with your neck long and shoulders back, which will help keep your back flat. “
Another safety issue with the Russian twist has to do with over-rotation. When the movement is done effectively, the rotation should only come from your thoracic spine, or your rib cage and up, says Miklaus. But some people end up creating a lower rotation in their lumbar spine when performing the movement, which doesn’t have as much natural rotational capacity as the T-spine, he says. This is what can lead to overloading the lower back.
“You want to make sure that you aren’t doing too many rotations and that the rotation you are doing is coming from north of your belly button,” says Miklaus.
Are Russian twists good for beginners?
Due to the great importance of good form with this exercise, the Russian Twist is a more advanced core exercise. If you’re a beginner, you might want to focus more on basic exercises that are more beginner-friendly, says Miklaus. For example, this beginner’s core strength training will teach you how to stimulate your abs, which is an important step to master before starting more dynamic core movements. Alternative Russian twist exercises for beginners include moves like planks, dog-birds, and dead bugs.
How to make the Russian twist exercise easier?
Once you’ve mastered the basic, traditional anti-motion moves, you can move on to spinning crunches or twisting crunches, says Miklaus. Then you might be ready for some Russian twist modifications. First, start with your body weight. You can add external resistance as you get comfortable with the movement.
When you start out, you might want to keep your feet on the ground rather than elevated, says Miklaus. You can also start by doing all the twists on one side. Then, once you are more comfortable with the movement, you can rotate from side to side.
If you want to make the Russian twist harder? You can still add weight to the movement, such as with a dumbbell or medicine ball. Lifting your feet off the ground and keeping your arms longer (rather than tucked to the side or tight against your chest) can also increase the difficulty, he says.
How to do the Russian twist exercise:
- Sit with your knees bent in front of you, your feet flexed, and your heels on the floor.
- Hold your hands in front of your chest and lean your torso back until you feel your abdominal muscles engage.
- Slowly turn your torso from side to side. Remember to keep your core tight (and breathe!) Throughout.
To make this easier, rotate from the center to one side, then come back to the center and continue. Repeat on the other side when your reps are complete. To make this more difficult, you can lift your feet off the ground, keep your arms straight, or support a weight.