Exercises You Shouldn’t Be Doing: Russian Twists

Russian Twists are a popular core exercise but one that falls into the category of “Things We Never Do.” Instead of being a great core exercise, I think they are actually a great way to beat up and cause some pain to your lower back. 🤕

❌ For starters, the function of the core is not to create movement, it is to stabilize the spine and resist movement. With Russian Twists, we are creating movement. 🤔

❌ In addition, it is a well know fact that one of the worst thing we can do is create movement through our lumbar spine — it’s not a part of the spine that is designed to create movement, and doing so is a big reason why so many people suffer from low back pain. Let’s be honest, creating motion at the lumbar spine is incredibly stupid.

❌ And finally, a Russian Twist puts you in a position of flexion, another position we know the spine doesn’t necessarily love. Flexion combined with lumbar rotation seems like a terrible combo to me. 🤷‍

✅ The reality is there are SO many better options for training the core — rollouts, fallouts, deadbugs, body saws, anti-rotation presses/holds, crawling, Carries, front planks, side planks, kettlebell drags, plank rows, push up taps — that there is zero reason to need to program a Russian Twist.

PS — coaches will say they coach the movement so that people are rotating through their thoracic spine and not lumbar spine…which just isn’t true and even if it were, doesn’t justify performing the movement.

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