The dreaded obliques, affectionately called the "love handles," can be a thorn in your side. Your sides are where these muscles are located and they are worked when you rotate your torso. The Russian twist is considered an intermediate to advanced abdominal exercise, so add it to your fitness program when your abdominal routine needs more than the traditional situp. As with all exercises, you have choices. A regular Russian twist is done on the floor, with or without additional resistance. Add a stability ball to the Russian twist to get you up off the floor and provide support for your back.
Lie face up on the floor. Bend your knees. Place your feet on the floor underneath something stable like the edge of a couch, or have a partner hold down your feet.
Sit halfway up, so the angle in your hips places your legs, hips and torso in the shape of a "V."
Straighten your arms in front of you and at shoulder height. Keep your hands close together, or clasp your fingers.
Exhale and rotate your arms and torso to the right. Keep your arms parallel with the floor. Inhale and remain twisted. Exhale and return to the starting position.
Repeat the twist to your left. Complete eight to 12 Russian twists to each side. Keep your chest lifted and your back straight throughout the movement.
Sit on an exercise ball. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Slowly, lie back as you walk your feet away from the ball. Position the ball underneath your upper back and head. Your knees are still bent with your hips lifted and feet flat on the floor.
Raise your arms up and as a natural extension of your shoulders. Place your hands together, or clasp your fingers.
Exhale and rotate your arms and torso to the right. Keep the back of your right shoulder on the ball and your lower body in the starting position. Inhale and remain rotated.
Exhale and rotate your arms and torso to the left. Leave your left shoulder in contact with the ball. Inhale as you maintain the position.
Complete eight to 12 Russian twists to each side.
- Once the exercise becomes easy, add resistance in the form of a medicine ball or dumbbell between your hands.
- Use caution with the Russian twist if you have a pre-existing back condition. Always check with your health care provider before you begin a new exercise routine.
A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.