Dumbbell Russian Twists

Dumbbell Russian Twists

Twists to one-side

Dumbbell Russian Twists

And, the other side.

Here’s another “old-school” exercise that most people will benefit from by performing regularly: strengthening your core and helping to avoid against injury: Russian Twists. Many day-to-day activities and/or sporting endeavours involve a rotational movement of some kind, whether it’s making a cup of tea, passing a baby to your partner, throwing the dog’s ball, the swing of a golf club, or, for the more venturesome, boxers twisting whilst punching or MMA fighters grappling. It stands to reason that mimicking such a movement under load in a controlled manner within our exercise regimen is advantageous when it comes to replicating it in a “real-life” circumstance. As most sports involve this rotational movement whilst standing, many sports coaches will suggest performing rotation exercise in a standing position. Personally, whether for the athlete or leisure trainer, I prefer to advise that it be predominantly performed whilst seated, as is common with Russian Twists. The reason, concentrate on trunk rotation and therefore avoid against additional stress on the tendons and ligaments surrounding the knee complex.

Here’s how Russian Twists are performed:

  1. Select a suitable weight (dumbbell, weight plate, medicine ball, bottle of water, etc.). 
  2. With the weight rested against your thigh, sit on the edge of a bench or chair.
  3. Using both hands, curl the weight from your thigh in order that your forearms are parallel to your thighs and the floor, with your fists pointing forward. [Side note: Rather than increase the weight to increase difficulty, you may choose to extend your arm at the elbow joint (outstretched) so that your forearms and upper-arms are parallel to the floor]. Lock this arm position. This is the Start-Position.
  4. Inhale. Then, exhale as you twist in a controlled manner to one-side, fully contracting your Obliques muscles. This is the Mid-Position. You may keep looking forward throughout or move your head with your torso. 
  5. Return to the Start-Position and inhale. You may choose to repeat the movement on the same side, then swap sides, or, twist from side-to-side (pausing in the middle for inhalation).

Using a dumbbell (preferable) for this exercise, I choose to slip my favoured Globe Gripz on to the dumbbell shaft, interlocking my fingers around a single globe. This proves more comfortable for use and the grasp more alike to holding most everyday objects, including holds performed by grappling MMA athletes.

This article is featured in the July 2013 edition of Living magazine.

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