Russian Twist Do's and Don'ts

Hello to all of my fitness readers trying to get the most of out exercise, and most importantly to the people who want exercise to be a benefit and not a source of future pain.

The Russian Twist is usually performed seated on the floor, knees bent slightly, and doing some form of twisting motion with the spine. While this CAN be a useful exercise, 90% of the time I see it done with poor posture by people with already overactive hip flexors and weak cores.

I won’t go into too much detail on core testing and disc herniations in this post, but I will say that if you’re in America, chances are high that you are walking around with at least one disc that is at risk of getting injured with an exercise like this. Plus, we sit so much that I really dislike most seated exercise.

That’s where the Swiss Russian Twist comes in. In this variation, the obliques are still challenged, but they also need to learn how to cooperate with the glute medius and max, the QL’s, Lats, and Hammies to control rotation. When all of this happens with the feet on the floor, we actually can achieve carry over to almost any sport or better back health with the added benefit of much less work.

The last thing I’d like to say about this particular movement is that due to our sedentary nature, twisting with hip extension seems to be a particularly sore spot for most of the people I work with that have desk jobs. So, listen to the body and start slow. If you can’t seem to get the hips to extend fully with stability, work on stretching out not only the psoas and tfl muscles, but also a lot of stretching for the quads (thigh muscles) as well to free up the butt to do the work!

Like I mention in the video, this is one of those eye opening moves for a lot of my clients. They realize quickly that the lower back and hamstrings have been making up for a lot of the weak glutes, and just how much resistance is in the anterior chain.

Try this out, listen to the body to learn what it needs, and progress appropriately.