Hello and welcome to another edition of Fey Fitness!
As I’ve mentioned before, your abs need a variety of exercises in order to get them in tip top shape. This is simply due to the nature of the muscles’ size, location, and function. Luckily, we can hit these larger muscle groups, the abdominis and obliques, by performing a Russian Twist. Performing this exercise is also a great way to tone your back, which can sometimes be forgotten in fitness programs. The muscle that is helping to support you while in this position is called the erector spinae, and this muscle is located on both sides of your spine, so it’s very important to make sure it is being toned as well.
What Is A Russian Twist
The Russian Twist is a core exercise that rotates the spinal column while engaging the abs, obliques, and erector spinae muscles as a part of the movement needed to perform the exercise.
In order to successfully perform a Russian Twist just follow these five (5) steps:
- Wear some comfortable clothing that allows for twisting movement and sit down on the floor. Place your feet flat on the floor so your knees can be bent, but comfortable. Alternatively, if you would like to make this exercise more advanced then you can hold your calves in the air so the tibia is parallel to the floor.
- Lean back so that your upper and lower body creates a “V-shape” with your hips as the connecting portion of the “V”.
- If you are not using weights, place your clasped hands on the ground on your left and then twist your torso, and hands, to the right until your clasped hands touch the floor on the right side of your body. If you would like to increase the intensity of this exercise grab a medicine ball, dumbbell, or yoga ball and hold the arms parallel to the floor while twisting from left to right. This will also engage the shoulder deltoids and make for a more intense workout.
- Now move your body back to the other side following the same procedure as Step 3.
- Repeat these movements for 15 reps per set.
What Are The Variations To This Move?
Once you get the hang of the Russian twist with your feet flat on the floor and rotating your spine while your hands remain clasped, you are free to increase the intensity of the workout. You can do this in one of several ways. First, you can lift your feet off the ground and hold your calves parallel to the floor (as outlined above). Second, you can incorporate weights into the workout, which has the added benefit of working out your shoulders too. Third, you can increase the speed at which you perform the movements. Just be sure to keep your good form while making these modifications!
Remember, if you are using a weight during this exercise you need to have engaged control of the weight. Do not use a weight that is so heavy it impacts your form. This can lead to injury.
Using a medicine ball, dumbbell, or yoga ball in this exercise is a great way to engage your shoulders while still working the core muscles we talked about earlier. The Muscles you are using when you hold a weight are called the deltoids. The deltoids are the shoulder muscles many weightlifters want to cultivate because it gives them that “sexy” defined upper body look.
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