Health Advocate Blog

Workout of the Week: Seated Russian Twists

This week’s workout is Seated Russian Twists. Unlike crunches, in which you rest your back on the floor, Seated Russian Twists force you to hold your spine in a neutral position off of the floor the entire time, strengthening the smaller muscle groups in your abs, back and chest used for balance, twisting and bending. This exercise calls for holding a weight, like a kettle bell or medicine ball, but beginners can try this exercise without any added weight.

Here’s how to do them:

  • Begin by sitting on the floor with your knees bent. Your feet should be kept together and your torso should be kept straight with your back off the ground at a 45-degree angle.476174503
  • Holding a weight in both hands, extend your arms away from your chest while holding the weight in front of you. Be sure the weight isn’t so heavy that you can’t keep your back at the 45-degree neutral position.
  • Next, begin slowly swinging your arms from one side to the other in a twisting motion, with each swing to a side counting as one repetition. The slower you move your arms, the more you work your muscles rather than relying on momentum—this works the abdomen better. 476174441
  • Try doing 2-3 sets of about 15-20 repetitions on each side of your body.


  • The farther you hold the weight from your chest, the tougher the exercise will be. If the set becomes too difficult, bend your arms to bring the weight closer to your body.
  • Remember to constantly breathe in and out as you go from side to side.
  • Do not stop between repetitions or else you will lose the effect of working your abdomen.
  • Do not jerk your back as you twist; gently swing your arms. If you experience any pain, specifically in your lower back, stop doing this exercise immediately and consult your doctor.

We hope you’ll try Seated Russian Twists over the weekend and then build this exercise into your daily routine Monday through Friday of the coming week.

Want more fitness ideas? If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching program, reach out to your Wellness Coach for more healthy ideas to get—and stay—fit. And remember, talk to your doctor before beginning any new fitness regimen.