With an exotic name like Russian Twist, you would be inclined to believe that only members of the Russian military or elite Olympic professionals have the ability to perform this much-vaunted core bodybuilding exercise. The fact of the matter is that the principle behind such an exercise is quite easy to understand. However, as easy as it may seem, it is also easy to injure oneself especially if one is not fully aware or cognizant of the essentials of performing Russian Twist.
What the Russian Twist Is
The Russian Twist, as the name implies, requires the purposeful rotation of the trunk towards the sides or the flanks. It is designed primarily to work the oblique muscles as well as the different muscle groups that make up the core including the lower back. By strengthening these muscles, you are essentially strengthening the very foundation of your body to perform other physical activities. Like a house or a building with strong solid foundation, strong body core helps provide the framework for all sports related activities.
Who Benefits from the Russian Twist?
Since the exercise maneuver calls for the purposeful rotation of the upper body, working the lower back, the core, and the obliques, this exercise is especially useful among individuals who require explosiveness in their upper body strength. This is particularly important among athletes in the fields of tennis, baseball, hockey, swimming, boxing, golf, track and field, and even lacrosse. The point is that by strengthening the core muscles, these athletes are able to perform substantially far better than if they haven’t strengthened their core muscles at all.
There are many variations to the Russian Twist. The important thing to remember is to keep the rest of the body in perfect alignment and to move only those muscles that are intended for rotation or twisting. Typically, you will perform the following steps.
- You will need to sit down on the floor with your knees bent as if you are assuming a sit-up position. Keep your feet together or anchor them under an immovable object. You can also ask someone to hold your feet for you.
- Keep your upper body at an imaginary V-shape in relation to your thighs. Extend your arms as far as you possibly can in front of you. Keep your arms perfectly perpendicular to your upper body. Clasp your hands together.
- Slowly breathe out as you turn and twist your body towards the right, making sure that your arms are kept parallel to the floor. Hold this position for about a second or two before returning to the starting position. As you return to the starting position, make sure to gently and slowly breathe out.
- Twist or rotate your body towards the other side, applying the same techniques that you have performed when you twisted to the right.
- This is one full repetition. You can perform a series of reps depending on your skill level.
How to Make the Most of This Exercise
Once you have mastered the basics of the Russian Twist, you can observe a few variations to increase the amount of work performed by the different muscle groups. Instead of simply clasping your hands in front of you, you can opt to hold a dumbbell or any weight to add some form of resistance. This essentially works out the muscles of the arms, too. Additionally, make sure to squeeze your abdominal muscles as hard as you possibly can with each twist. You can also elevate your legs and keep them in this position the whole time you’re accomplishing the twist.
The Russian Twist is a proven exercise move that strengthens the core muscles of the body including the obliques and the lower back. This greatly aids in providing a solid foundation for other physical and sports activities.