Russian Twists are fantastic for building muscle...but only if you get your form right. Don't risk underperforming...check out everything you need to know about doing Russian Twists correctly.
Do the Twist Again…
Washboard abs. Six-pack abs. It does not matter what you call them, you know you want stomach that is rippling with muscles. If you are on a quest to get visible abdominal muscles, the Russian Twist will help you get there. Are you are tired of doing the same old crunches and want a way to really work your abs? Read on to learn how to do Russian Twists with good form.
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Russian Twist – Muscles Worked
The Russian twist works the abdominal muscles and back muscles. These muscles include the transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, external obliques, the internal obliques and the latissimus dorsi. The transverse abdominis is the deepest layer of muscle and helps with trunk stabilization.
The rectus abdominis is what bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts are working hard to develop. This muscle is what gives you the six-pack look. The internal and external obliques allow the torso to twist, and the latissimus dorsi are muscles in the middle of the back.
In order to do Russian Twists correctly, you must focus on knee and foot placement, spinal alignment, arm placement, and core stability.
Knee and Foot Placement
The Russian Twist starts with you taking a seated position on the floor or on an exercise mat. Start off with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. You can choose from two variations at this point. You can either keep your feet close together (which will give you greater stability), or place them about shoulder-width apart (which will make the exercise more difficult).
For the next part of this exercise, you will need to lean your torso backward. You must lean backward until your body forms a 45-degree angle with the floor. Your spine has to remain straight when doing this part of the exercise. If your spine is rounded, you will not target your abdominal muscles and you will put undue strain on your lower back. This will be slightly difficult to do at first, but with practice it will become much easier.
Your feet should be in your preferred position (either close or shoulder-width apart) and your torso should be at a 45-degree angle. At this point, you need to put your arms out in front of you. Your hands should be at the level of your ribcage
From the moment you leaned back your core muscles were engaged. Once you raise your arms that engagement strengthens. Now, you’re going to pull in your abdominal muscles as hard as you can. You aren’t holding your breath, you just need to tighten the muscles in your stomach and start the movement.
After completing the steps listed above, you’ll start rotating your trunk from left to right. Twist your torso as far as you can to the left, and then twist as far as you can to the right. That completes one repetition. For this exercise to be effective, you should do at least 3 sets and complete anywhere from 8 – 12 repetitions per set.
You can increase the intensity of this exercise in a number of ways. The first way is to add some weight when you’re doing the exercise. Hold a dumbbell, medicine ball or weight plate in your hand to make the exercise more difficult, in order to strengthen your abdominal muscles further. By adding weight, you’ll also feel your lats working harder
Another powerful variation of this exercise involves you lifting your feet off the ground. After getting into a seated position, raise your feet off the floor. Always remember to keep your torso at a 45-degree angle to the floor and tighten your stomach muscles. After you have achieved the proper balance, rotate your torso left and right for the desired amount of repetitions. You can also add weight when doing this variation if you are looking to really challenge yourself.
Although this exercise is a great way to strengthen your abdominal muscles, if you have any existing lower back problems you should avoid this exercise.
Twist Your Way to More Muscle
The Russian Twist is a challenging, fun exercise that will really work out all the muscles in your stomach and give you a little lat work too. With the proper knee, foot and arm placement, spinal alignment and core stability, you will give your abs a workout that they won’t soon forget.
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