Building Abdominal Muscles through Russian Twist Exercise

Aug 25, 2012 by

The Russian Twist is a type of exercise that is used to work the abdomen muscles by performing a twisting motion on the abdomen.


The Russian Twist is a type of exercise that is used to work the abdomen muscles by performing a twisting motion on the abdomen. The exercise is believed by those who practice it to build explosiveness in the upper torso, which may help in sports such as swimming, baseball, track & field, hockey, golf, lacrosse, or boxing.

Various types of such exercises are listed below along with their benefits:

Russian twist

All Sportsperson needs to swing their abdominal portion very often whether they play golf or hockey or any other sport. But amateur ones find it difficult to reach to their heights of strength and end up limiting their potential in the process. This happens due to the lack of flexibility and strength in the upper torso that leads to narrowing down their sports carrier.

Improving your strength is a combination of cross specific exercises that improves your body around the swing.

Seated Russian twist with & without ball

How to do it:

  • Sit on the floor with knees bent, feet and knees together, heels pressed to floor, and toes pointed upward.
  • Clasp the hands together and place in front of the stomach (as in the photo above).

Lean back until the abdominal “turn on.” (If you do not feel the abdominals contract, you gain little from this exercise.)

  • Begin by rotating the torso (shoulders and chest) to the right as far as possible, as in the photo above. Focus on rotating the entire upper body, not just the arms, allowing the head to track behind the arms and shoulders. Pause at the farthest point of rotation and then return to the center. Keep those abdominals turned on!
  • Next rotate to the left, following the same guidelines. Return to the starting position and repeat to the right.

Perform 15-25 repetitions.


It develops strength in the lower back, abdominals, and paddle worthy oblique and incredible rowing muscles (side abdominals) – all of which are used extensively in the sport body swing.

Standing Russian twist with & without medicinal ball

Starting Position

Hold a medicine ball between both hands and stand tall with your back straight, shoulders relaxed, abs engaged, legs straight, and feet placed slightly wider than your hips. Extend your arms straight in front of you, holding the ball at chest or shoulder level.


Exhale: Without dropping your arms, pivot on your left foot and rotate the ball and your torso as far as you can to the right.

Inhale: Return to the starting position.

Exhale: Reverse direction; pivot on your right foot and rotate all the way to the left (not pictured).

Inhale: Return to the starting position to complete one rep.

Special Instructions

Keep your abs engaged, back straight, and shoulders relaxed away from your shoulders.


It develops the front abdominal muscles.

Ab work: seated Russian twist

How to do it

  • Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your heels about two feet from your bum.
  • Lean slightly back without rounding your spine at all. It is really important, and difficult, to keep your back straight, but don’t let it round.
  • Place your arms straight out in front of you with your hands one on top of the other. Your hands should be level with the bottom of your ribcage.
  • Pull your navel to your spine and twist slowly to the left. The movement is not large and comes from the ribs rotating, not from your arms swinging. Inhale through center and rotate to the right. This completes one set.
  • Do three sets of 12 reps each.


This ab exercise targets your oblique’s, but your deep abs and your back muscles should be working together to support your spine while your ribcage rotates around your center.

Stability ball Russian twist

Step 1

Starting Position: Sit on the stability ball with your feet flat on the floor. Engage your abdominals to support your spine.. Begin to walk your feet away from the ball until your head, shoulders and upper back are resting on the ball. Knees should be bent to 90 degrees and your thighs and torso should be at or near parallel to the floor. Knees should be hip-width apart and your feet should be facing forward. Distribute your weight evenly through both feet.

Step 2

Pull your shoulders down and back to make firm contact with the ball. Maintain this position throughout the exercise. Bring your arms over your chest, reaching your arms toward the ceiling. Straighten your elbows and keep your hands together. Press your hands toward one another to help maintain stability and control during the movement.

 Step 3

Rotational Movement: Exhale. Brace your torso by contracting your abdominal/core muscles to stabilize your spine. Slowly rotate your torso to one side while keeping your shoulders on the ball and feet firmly planted on the floor. Keep your hips and torso parallel with the floor. Avoid the tendency to let your hips drop down. Push your feet into the floor and hips towards the ceiling to help maintain stability and control. Inhale and hold this position briefly before rotating to the opposite side.

Controlling your balance over the ball is critical for your safety. Avoid fast or bouncy movements that can cause you to lose control and fall.

Dumb bell Russian twist


Grasp one dumbbell and sit on mat or floor. With legs flexed about right angled place heels on floor in front. Lean torso backward while lower back remains off floor. With both hands hold dumbbell centrally in front of chest and keep arms slightly flexed.


Rotate torso from side to side. Keep hips in stable position and let head follow motion.


Since Russian twist isn’t a deltoids or pectoral exercises keep dumbbell in one plane above chest. Don´t swing arms from side to side. Instead concentrate on twisting torso in a dynamic and controlled manner.

Dumb bell Russian twist on stability ball


With dumbbell in hand, sit on stability ball. Roll body down and lie with back on ball, hips nearly straight, and feet apart on floor. Hold onto dumbbell with both hands with arms extending straight upward.


Turn torso to one side while keeping arms straight and perpendicular to torso throughout movement.

Return dumbbell back over shoulders by rotating torso to original position. Continue lowering dumbbell to opposite side. Repeat.


Both arms should be kept straight and perpendicular to torso. Hips should also be kept nearly straight, only slightly bent. See Spot Reduction Myth.

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