Kettlebell Russian Twist

David Lawrence
• Saturday, 19 December, 2020
• 7 min read

In this article I’ll present why I don’t recommend the Russian twist and why I think there are safer and more effective alternatives. The kettlebellRussiantwist is performed by holding a 45 degree sit up position while at the same time rotating through the spine from one side to the other.

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(Source: ignorelimits.com)


The problem is, ask any osteopath or chiropractor, and they’ll tell you that flexion of the spine together with rotation is one of the greatest causes of disc and lower back pain issues. Those with a preexisting lower back pain issues are really chancing their luck by performing this movement.

With the majority of people suffering from weak core muscles and then the addition of an extra load, like a kettle bell, the spine does become flexed very quickly. Think about how you spend many hours of the day and you realize that most of us sit hunched over at a desk, watching TV on the sofa, or bent overlooking at phones or screens.

It is common place now to see forward head postures and bad kyphosis in the upper back. It makes no sense to move from the office where you have been sitting hunched over all day to only go and repeat the same movement in a local gym with a kettle bell.

If anything more people should be using exercises to strengthen the back of the body and correct poor forward leaning postures. If like many people you are performing the kettlebellRussiantwist to reduce your waistline then you may want to choose a more efficient exercise.

Many wrongfully believe that the Russian twist is good for losing weight around the waist due to the localization of the movement. One of the consequences of too many Russian twists is the fact that your obliques will increase in size actually making your waistline look even wider than before.

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(Source: www.projectnext.net)

Scientific research has now shown that the core muscles act to protect the spine against rotation to avoid injury. Beginners can practice this exercise without even using a kettle bell and just simulating the movement from a push up position.

One final reason why there are better exercises than the kettlebellRussiantwist is because it doesn’t offer any functional carry over into daily life. Plus, the kettle bell farmers carry works deep into the oblique and core muscles by preventing your body from falling sideways.

All the exercises listed above have great carry over into daily life whether it’s squatting, used every time you sit down and stand up, or bracing your spine from a pushing and pulling position. There are many more effective kettle bell exercises for the core muscles that will not damage your lower back or degrade your posture.

If fat loss is your goal then Russian twists may even be counterproductive to your cause, full body kettle bell exercises would be a better choice. To reduce your waist useful body exercises to burn calories and a well-balanced diet.

The Russian twist allows you to work the entire core area without doing boring sit-ups and crunches. I suggest a moderately heavy weight, something you can do approximately 15-20 repetitions with.

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(Source: stayfitchronicles.com)

With knees bent, and feet flat on the ground, grab the kettle bell by the horns, or by the bell. Lean slightly back, keep the elbows in tight to the body, and hold the bell about 2-3 inches away from the chest in order to really engage the core.

This ensures that the core is worked by providing a deeper rotation of the entire upper body, and not just movement of the arms. Lower the kettle bell to 2-3 inches off the ground during the twist for additional abdominal activation.

I'm a Personal Trainer, e-500 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher, and expert group fitness instructor. For exercises mostly engaging the upper body, begin with less weight–Brooks suggests roughly 10 to 12 pounds, or four to six kilograms.

Bend your knees slightly and shift your butt behind you as if sitting down in a high chair. Action: Grab the bell’s handle as you actively hinge your hips behind you, keeping your heels planted on the floor.

Keep your legs straight as you extend your hips to stand, squeezing your glutes at the very top. Why: The swing works a ton of muscles, including the glutes, legs, back and abs, while also providing a cardio effect.

kettlebell twist russian training exercises killer strength
(Source: thelifevest.com)

Set Up: Stand with your feet between hip- to shoulder-width apart, with the bell on the floor roughly half a foot in front of you. Maintain a flat back as you grab the handle of the ‘bell (still on the floor) with both hands and tilt it slightly towards you.

Action: Swing the bell through your legs behind you while keeping it close to your upper inner thighs to help protect your back. Next, thrust your hips forward, squeezing your glutes and allowing your legs to extend to a standing position.

Why: This squat variation boosts leg and glutes strength in addition to aiding core stability. It also improves the range of motion in your inner thighs, allowing you to drop lower to the ground as you squat.

Hold a kettle bell by the horns close to your chest, with your elbows pointing downward. Action: Bend your knees and hips to sink into a squat, bringing your butt down with control.

Tip: At the bottom of the squat, try making an “s” sound (like in “hiss”) for a few seconds to help brace your core. Why: This move not only activates the entire shoulder complex, but when done properly, will also strengthen and sculpt the triceps.

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(Source: www.dreamstime.com)

Set up: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the ‘bell in a racked position with one hand (under chin-level but in front of the working shoulder). Action: Keep your knees slightly bent and squeeze your glutes as you press the weight over your head in one straight line without bringing your elbow out to the side; as you lift the kettle bell, allow your knees to straighten.

Note that, at the top, your palm should be facing forward and the weight should be slightly behind your head with your biceps beside your ear. Why: The pulling motion strengthens your biceps and back, and your abs and legs are contracted to help stabilize you throughout the entire set.

Bend your right knee and hold the kettle bell in your left hand, with your arm extended towards the floor. Set Up: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet lifted off the ground, holding the kettle bell by the horns in front of your chest.

Tip: Quickly exhaling on each rotation helps to keep the core tight. If you buy from the links on our site, we may receive an affiliate commission, which in turn supports our work.

Do not sit up too high, which will place stress on your lower back. After we drop her off at the airport, the girls and I tearfully drive to get ice cream.

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(Source: www.trimmedandtoned.com)

Usually when someone comes to visit we spend a lot of time out and about, exploring, dining out, and possibly doing a road trip. Goblet Squat: Place your feet just under your shoulders with toes slightly angled out.

Keep your chest lifted and a tight core as you sink back and down into your squat. Side Lunge with Overhead Press and Knee Raise: Take a big step out with your right leg (holding the kettle bell), with your right foot angled out 45 degrees.

(Your left leg stays straight and strong; toes point forward.) Think about sinking your hips down and back into your lateral lunge as you keep your core tight and your chest lifted.

Exhale to step back towards center, and press the weights up overhead as you raise your right knee. Single Arm Swing: Stand hip-width apart and hold the kettle bell in between your knees with one hand.

Remember that you are NOT using your arms to lift the weight; this is pure glute and core power. Pass the kettle bell through to your left hand, then step back to start position.

kettlebell russian twist workouts
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Bring your weight to your front foot and hold the kettle bell in the opposite hand (pic above). Squeeze your back to bend your arm in next to your torso for a narrow row.

Lower down with control, and exhale to come up to a wide row with your arm at a 90-degree angle. RussianTwist : Sit with your knees bent, feet on the floor for beginners or lifted off the ground for more challenge.

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