The Russian Twist is a type of core exercise that is used to work the abdominal muscles (internal and external obliques) by performing a twisting motion on the abdomen to improve oblique strength and definition. This exercise is mostly practiced by those who want to build explosive strength in the upper torso that helps them in sports such as tennis, baseball, swimming, golf, track & field, hockey, lacrosse, or boxing.

  • Bodyweight
  • Compound

With such an exotic name, you might think that the exercise would be complicated to perform. On the contrary, it is a simple exercise that requires no equipment and can be done wherever you can find a comfortable space.

It is highly customizable, making it suitable for beginners and more advanced exercisers. There are several ways to make a Russian twist, and each variation targets a group of different muscles.

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Suggested Equipment

Benefits of Russian Twist

  • It is a good workout for the whole abdomen as it engages all the abdomen muscles such as rectus abdominis, internal obliques, and the external obliques.
  • It reduces the risks of cardiovascular diseases like strokes and heart attacks.
  • It helps to prevent slouching and get a good posture. This projects confidence and trims your silhouette.
  • It is one of the simplest exercises that can contribute to work out the whole of your abdomen and keep you in shape.
  • It also helps you in your everyday activities like picking up something from the floor, bending to put your shoe or sitting in a low chair, etc.

Muscles Worked

Anterior (Front)

  • Abdominal External Oblique
  • Deltoid
  • Pectoralis Major
  • Rectus Abdominis
  • Serratus Anterior

Posterior (Back)

  • Trapezius
  • Triceps Brachii

How to Do a Russian Twist

Fitness model performing a Russian twist
Close up of a fitness model performing a Russian twist
Fitness model performing a Russian twist
  1. Be seated on the floor with your knees half bent and feet flat on the ground such that your heel should be around a foot or so from the butt.
  2. Keeping your back and arm straight (hold a ball or some weight for additional benefits), lean back until you feel the obliques muscles engage in stabilizing your body. Now rotate your torso to one side.
  3. Turn as far as possible and touch your hands, the ball or some holding weight on the ground.
  4. Return to the starting position and repeat the step by turning on the other side.