How To Do A Medicine Ball Russian Twist


Chris Freytag demonstrating a russian twist with medicine ball wearing a black top and workout pants.

A medicine ball Russian twist is a core body exercise that strengthens all parts of your abdominals, including your obliques, for a toned waistline and a stronger back. The twisting motion of the medicine ball Russian twist is the key to this move. By taking the weight of the ball and controlling it from side to side, you are firing up the muscle fibers around your waist as well as pulling in the lower abs for a strong, flat tummy. If you want to learn how to do a medicine ball russian rwist you should start with mastering the Russian twist. The Russian twist gives an option to use a light weight or just practice free-hand. This will strengthen your muscles without putting your back at risk. Once you are confident in this motion, adding the weight of the ball will really make you feel those muscles work!

Medicine balls come in a variety of sizes from 2 pounds all the way up over 20 pounds. When you choose your medicine ball for the Medicine ball russian twists start with a lighter weight to protect your back and build strength slowly. You can increase weight as you get stronger and feel more confident.

It is crucial to pull your lower abdominals in during this move. Imagine you are zipping up a tight pair of pants. This is the same muscle contraction you should use the entire time you are twisting with the medicine ball. Make sure to keep breathing.

Try this move and some other great core moves using the medicine ball, try our workout 8 Medicine Ball Moves to Sculpt Your Core.

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How To Do A Medicine Ball Russian Twist

Here are the steps to performing a medicine ball Russian twist:

1) Begin in a seated position with knees bent, feet off the floor and holding medicine ball in front of chest a few inches.

2) Twist the ball to your left hip bone, keeping body centered.

3) Twist the ball to your right hip bone, keeping body centered.

4) This is one repetition. Continue to twist back and forth for desired number of repetitions or length of time.

See the video below to see Chris Freytag break down how to properly perform a medicine ball Russian twist.

What Muscles Do Medicine Ball Russian Twists Work?

Medicine ball Russian twist is a challenging core exercise that strengthens your obliques while also working your upper and lower and low back.

Benefits of Medicine Ball Russian Twists

There are many reasons you should incorporate medicine ball Russian twist into your workouts. Here are just a few:

Strengthen Your Obliques

The medicine ball Russian twist is an excellent way to strengthen your obliques, which are the muscles that surround your waist. The side-to-side motion draws from both the external and internal obliques for strength. If the ball adds too much intensity, simply set it down and do the twist with empty hands. It still works!

Work Your Transverse Abdominus

Although your focus will be on the twisting motion and your obliques, the medicine ball Russian twist is a killer move for your transverse abdominus, or low abs. This muscle will not only keep you stable while twisting, but also protect your lower back. If you feel your low back hurting, pull your low abs in tighter. You can also set the ball down or keep your feet on the ground for relief.

Ab Exercise At Home

So much of our workout time can be spent preparing for the gym, driving to the gym, parking at the gym, … you get the picture. It’s always great to have exercise ideas that you can do at home. A medicine ball is a smart way to spend a little money and get a lot for your dollar! There are so many exercises that can be done with a medicine ball including medicine ball Russian twist!

How Many Calories Does a Medicine Ball Russian Twist Burn?

People often ask how many calories they are burning in their workouts. Most exercises will generally burn about 100 calories for every 10 minutes you are working. Since the medicine ball Russian twist is done in a seated position it will be more challenging to get your heart rate up high enough to burn this many calories. But keep in mind that the main goal is to strengthen your core. The calories you burn are a bonus!

Other Exercises Similar to Medicine Ball Russian Twists

If you like the idea of getting a great core move using the medicine ball right in the comfort of your own home, try these too!

How To Do Medicine Ball High to Low Chop

How To Do Medicine Ball Roll Up Toss

How To Do Medicine Ball V-Up 

Incorporating Medicine Ball Russian Twists Into Your Workouts

Medicine ball Russian twist is an amazing core exercise all on its own! However, you could also incorporate Medicine ball Russian twist into other workouts to mix them up. Here are some ideas to make that happen.

Use Medicine Ball Russian Twist in a Cardio-Core Workout

Mixing cardio and core has become a favorite workout combo for many! Medicine ball Russian twist is used in this workout to accomplish an amazing heart rate push along with some awesome core strength. Try this 10-minute Cardio Core Challenge:

10-Minute Cardio Core Challenge: 1 min. jog in place to warm up. Do each of the following for the time given with no rest between moves:

Lateral Jumps – 45 seconds

Medicine Ball Russian Twist – 30 seconds

Medicine Ball Mountain Climbers – 45 seconds

Army Crawl Plank – 30 seconds

Medicine Ball Squat Toss – 45 seconds

Side Plank Lifts – Right Side – 30 seconds

Power Skips – 45 seconds

Side Plank Lifts – Left Side – 30 seconds

Repeat one more time!

Use Medicine Ball Russian Twists in Your Circuit Training

Circuits are a fun way to exercise and get your strength and cardio in all at the same time. The idea behind circuits is to go from one move, or one “station”, to the next with little or not rest in between. Check this out:

Medicine Ball Circuit Training Workout: Move directly from one exercise to the next with little to no break in between. Rest for 1 minute at the end, then repeat the sequence.

30 seconds medicine ball reverse lunge rotation

30 seconds medicine ball rolling push up

30 seconds medicine ball Russian twist

30 seconds medicine ball single leg deadlifts

30 seconds medicine ball chest press

30 seconds medicine ball high to low chop

30 seconds crab walk (no ball for this!)

Rest 1 minute. Repeat. Stretch.

Use Medicine Ball Russian Twist In Your HIIT Training

High Intensity Intervals are all the rage because they get the job done in record time. Go as hard as you can for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and then go hard again. Here’s a super easy way to kick butt!

Hot HIIT WorkoutDo each move for 20 seconds and rest 10 seconds in between moves.

Plank Jacks

High Knees

Medicine Ball Russian Twist

Squat Jumps

Go through this sequence 4 times

Here are 3 more workouts that incorporate Medicine ball Russian twist into your workout!

Medicine Ball Workouts

Total Body Medicine Ball Workout

10-Minute Medicine Ball Circuit Video

Targets: core, arms

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