Just like the salad dressing, no one knows how this abdominal drill became “Russian,” but (again, like the dressing) it’s too good to worry about the name. No core-training program or ab day would be complete without the oblique conditioning you’ll get from the Russian twist. If you’re already on your way to six-pack abs, this drill might help you bump it up to an eight-pack. For the rest of us, the loaded twisting makes a pretty fantastic core challenge.
This is an advanced ab drill that requires significant core strength to execute safely. If you have a history of back pain or injury, give this one a pass.
- Stay balanced: As you lean back, use the medicine ball or weight to help you balance.
- Don’t be Russian it: (See what we did there?) Move slowly and really grind out each rep for the biggest bang for your buck.
Master this: Russian Twist
- Sit on the floor with bent knees, holding a medicine ball, SandBell or other weight in your lap.
- Lean back, lift your feet off the floor, keeping your knees bent, and hold the weight out in front of your torso.
- Twist by rotating the weight to your left, keeping your eyes on the weight so your whole upper body rotates together.
- Keep your legs still as your upper body twists.
- Slowly come back to center, and repeat on the other side. Do as many reps as you can without dropping your feet to the floor.
Make it easier: Keep your feet on the floor, use a lighter weight or don’t use any weight at all.
Make it harder: Lean back farther, use a heavier weight or try scissoring your legs at the same time.
Photo credit: Mark Kuroda, kurodastudios.com
Model: Raymond Bentley, 24 Hour Fitness