When you get bored doing crunches and planks, get your core a-burning with a new move: the Russian Twist with a kettlebell. Now you might be more familiar with working with kettlebells by swinging them around. But with this exercise, the name of the game is slow and controlled.
Russian Twist Benefits
You already know what a strong core can do for you–prevent injuries, reduce the potential for back pain, achieve amazing posture, and let’s not forget help you look fierce in a trendy crop top. While strong abs may be the goal, getting them is no easy feat.
Sit ups, leg raises, and flutter kicks are just a few ways to switch up your midsection workout, but there are special benefits that come particularly from the Russian Twist using a kettlebell.
That’s because this movement really works to involve multiple sections of the core, with twists targeting obliques–those stubborn side sections–and building stabilizer muscles for better balance. There will be plenty of focus on both the upper and lower abs, not to mention your lower back thanks to the position of this seated exercise. If that wasn’t enough belly blasting, there’s a bit of cardio thrown in to get your heart pumping and the sweat pouring. All this from one exercise–no joke!
How to Do a Russian Twist with Kettlebell
- Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the floor in front of you, holding the kettlebell in front of your chest (which at this point may be resting on your stomach).
- Lean back so that your upper body creates about a 45-degree angle with the floor. Be sure to keep your back straight and your chest lifted. Adjust the kettlebell so that you are now holding it at your chest with your elbows angled out to the sides.
- Lift your toes so that they hover off the ground, keeping your knees bent.
- Engage your core imagining that you are trying to touch the back of your belly button to your spine.
- With a deep breath in, slowly twist from your ribs to the right, avoiding using momentum and instead making it a concentrated movement. Rotate your upper body as far as it takes to touch the kettlebell to the floor.
- On the exhale, repeat this same pattern but move to your left side. This completes one full rep.
Russian Twist with Kettlebell Tips
- Too Tough: This movement may take a bit of practice before you find your groove. If it’s too difficult, decrease the weight of the kettlebell or put it aside and instead clasp your hands together in front of you. If this is still too hard, lower your feet so that just your toes touch but your heels are off the floor. This will help to give you a bit more stability.
- Too Easy: Ready to take this exercise to the next level? Upping the weight of your kettlebell is one way but not the only way. Another is to try straightening your legs, so that your upper and lower body make a wide V formation. You can also try extending your arms so that the kettlebell is held out in front of you, causing your core to further engage.
- Go Slow: Speed may be crucial to other workouts, but for this exercise, the slower you go, the more you’ll test–and tighten–your midsection.
- Form First: When you belly starts to burn, it’ll be easy to let your form slip. Focus on keeping a straight back and really rotating just from the lower ribs instead of from the waist or hips. Turn your shoulders and eyes with the rotation direction to help make sure your are using the right muscles.
The Russian Twist is a great addition to your warm up, core day, or as a finisher after a day of heavy lifting. Add this in whenever you want to ignite your mid-region, and you’ll be on your way to six-pack abs and a stronger self soon.
What’s your favorite twisting exercise? Share with us in the comments!