How to Do a Russian Twist With Proper Form For a Stronger Core

POPSUGAR Photography | Chaunté Vaughn

We have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Russian twists. We love what they do for our abs, but man, do they burn. While no one ab exercise can give you an instant six-pack, learning how to do a Russian twist can put you on the right path, while building strength, improving stability, balance, and mobility, per the American Sports and Fitness Association (ASFA). To make sure you’re getting the most out of the exercise, we spoke to a trainer about how to do Russian twists properly – with and without dumbbells – and why our abs can’t seem to get enough of them.

Even if Russian twists are already a part of your routine, there’s still a chance you could improve your form for better results and optimal burn. Although the twist is a fairly beginner-friendly ab exercise, Rachel Norman, a NASM-certified personal trainer, says there are still some common mistakes to look out for. For starters, make sure you’re relying on the strength of your abs to twist from side to side – not momentum. “Avoid swinging the arms and instead use slow, controlled movements with emphasis on engaging the core,” Norman says. Keep your back straight to protect your spine, and try not to overdo it on the twist. “Always aim for a comfortable range of motion.”

The hard work is worth it when you consider all the benefits of Russian twists. When done correctly, Russian twists strengthen several muscles in your core and back, helping with posture and potential back pain. Rotational exercises like Russian twists can also lead to better mobility and coordination, engaging the transversus abdominis (deep core) for better balance. Read on to learn more about the benefits of Russian twists, plus weighted variations for an additional challenge.

Related: Strengthen Every Muscle in Your Core With These 12 Trainer-Approved Moves

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