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Russian Twists

It's good to have variety when it comes to your core workouts to ensure a dynamic strength and stability of your muscles. The Russian Twist is a widely used workout, simply because it has no real need for equipment, unless you'd like to add weight, and because it is very simple to perform. Here are the core benefits for performing this super move:

Anti-Rotational Training: This is key for most human movements and sports, as the spine itself is highly susceptible to shearing forces that cause injury. In a sense, small (10-15 degrees) twists could help the obliques gain muscle mass, strength, and increase neural awareness to the positions.

Isometric Core Strength: During the Russian twist, the lifter twists concentrically and eccentrically, however the person also needs to maintain a rigid and control isometric contraction throughout the core - this is similar to most endeavors in life (such as running, sprinting, baseball, etc). Granted, we may not be swaying side to side, but the simultaneous ability to isometrically contract while having some rotation is a benefit for most athletes.

No Equipment Needed: One of the reasons why this exercise is so widely used is that it requires zero equipment and very little setup, if any at all. The ease of use makes this an easier exercise to place into assistance exercises, class settings, or at home fitness/vacation workouts. Now just because this move doesn't require equipment, it doesn't mean you can't use any equipment. Many people use a medicine ball or dumbbell weights during their twists to up the intensity.

To help you master this super move, here are some tips:

  1. Start seated with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, holding one dumbbell (or no weight) with both hands in front of chest. Keeping the spine long and the abdominals tight, lean back slightly and lift the feet a few inches off the floor. (To modify, keep the feet on the floor.)
  2. Slowly twist the torso to the left and bring the dumbbell beside the left hip. Return to center, and then slowly twist to the right and bring the weight beside the right hip to complete one rotation.
  3. Repeat.

Keep in mind, much like any workout consistency is key to build endurance and strength.

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