>Russian Twist

>My favorite abdominal/core workout is called the Russian Twist. This ab exercise targets your obliques, but your deep abs and your back muscles should be working together to support your spine while your ribcage rotates around your center. This is a tough exercise, but you can really feel it working, even after only one set.

  • Sit in a V position, evenly on your sitting bones, with your knees bent and your heels about two feet from your seat.
  • Lean slightly back without rounding your spine. It is really important, yet difficult for some, to keep your back straight. However, to do the exercise properly and keep from injuring yourself, keep your spine in line.
  • Place your arms straight out in front of you. Your hands should be level with the bottom of your ribcage.
  • Inhale your navel to your spine, and on the exhale twist slowly to the left. The movement is not large and comes from the ribs rotating, not from your arms swinging. Inhale through center and rotate to the right, repeating the same movement. This completes one set.
  • Do two sets of 12.

To make this exercise more challenging, one could hold a medicine ball or low-weight dumbbell, with your elbows slightly bent. You could also try to keep your feet off of the ground, so you are balancing in a V-shape throughout the exercise. Conversely, if you have a compromised or injured low back, this exercise is not recommended for you. The bicycle crunch would be a great option to try instead.
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