Trainer Tip Tuesday: Russian Twist

Are you ready to strengthen your core?  Not just because you want a flat tummy – but because your core muscles are the central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body. Whether you’re hitting a golf ball, picking up your kid (or grandkid) or mopping the floor, the necessary motions either originate in your core, or move through it. And – weak or inflexible core muscles can impair how well your arms and legs function. And that saps power from many of the moves you make. Properly building up your core cranks up the power. A strong core also enhances balance and stability. This means a strong core can help prevent falls and injuries when you are moving your body.  You already are doing planks – right?  So let’s  keep smiling and add the Russian Twist!

The Russian Twist mainly targets your obliques – the muscles running up and down the side of your core.  This exercise will also target your back muscles, which will be engaged to strengthen and support your spine.


Are you ready?


  • Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your heels about a foot from your butt.
  • Take a deep breath in and smile!
  • Lean slightly back without rounding your spine at all. It is really important, and difficult, to keep your back straight – but don’t let it curve!  Think about just hinging from your hips.
  • Place your arms straight out in front of you with your palms facing each other. Your hands should be level with the bottom of your ribcage.  Take a few breaths here and continue to smile.

(Note:  if this is particulary difficult for you – then just stay here for 5 breaths.  Once you are down slowly bring yourself back up.  Keep smiling and then do 4 more repeitiations.  If you are ready – then you can proceed to the twist!)

  • Pull your navel to your spine and twist slowly to the left.   Keep your arms straight and try to set your fingertips on the ground – reaching as far behind you as you can.  The movement is not large and comes from the ribs rotating, not from your arms swinging.
  • Inhale through center and rotate to the right.  Are you still smiling?
  • This completes one rep.
  • Do 20 full rotations.
  • Breath and smile!

Are you ready to take this move up a notch?

  • Hold a medicine ball, a dumbbell, a kettlebell, a cat, a can of soup – whatever in your hands with your elbows slightly bent.
  • You can also make the move more advanced by lifting your feet three or four inches off the floor.

Remember to keep your back straight through the entire exercise.  And always remember to smile.

Move your body, put good things in and enjoy!


2 Comment

  1. Ok, just back from the gym. I will give this a go tomorrow. I tried it once and found it hard to balance, but I am committed to core strength now, as you prescribe. I will think of your encouragement as I struggle through the process of getting good at it.

  2. Did you try it? How did it go?

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