The Russian Twist
Purpose: Improve lower body stability. Develop rotational core strength.
Benefit: Increase strength in the muscles that support the hips and pelvic girdle (glutes). Promote separation of the upper body from a stable lower body.
Selecting A Ball:
The first step to doing this exercise safely is to have a properly sized Swiss Ball. For exercise, the ball should be such that when you sit on it your hips are slightly higher than your knees and your shoulders are directly over your hips. Ball sizes are measured in centimeters. For those of you under 5’7″ choose a 55cm ball. Between 5’7″ and 6’1″ use a 65cm, over 6’2″ choose a 75cm ball.
Brand: I’ve been using Swiss balls for exercise since 1999 and the ONLY ball I will use is a Duraball Pro. It is burst-proof and weight tested to 1100lbs! It’s superior to every other ball I’ve ever tested. The ball should be firm underneath you when you sit on it. If it isn’t it is either under-inflated or it’s crap!
Start by sitting on the ball (as seen above). “Walk” yourself out until your head and shoulders rest on the ball and your hips come off the front end. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth (swallow, and it will land there automatically). This increases the activation of the muscles that stabilize your head and neck.
Press your hips up so that they are in line with your shoulders and knees. (This is known as the tabletop position).
Once your hips are up they stay up!
Bring your arms together, palms touching, over the center of your chest. SLOWLY, begin to rotate your shoulders from side to side. Eyes follow your hands. Hips stay high.
Begin rotating the shoulders side to side, as far as possible, using a slow tempo at first.
Once you feel comfortable on the ball you can increase your range of motion to a full 180 degrees and begin to play with the speed of movement.
Repeat the movement for 6 – 10 reps to each side. Once you perform this exercise with body weight for 4 weeks you can add the load of a small medicine ball. Four to six pounds will be sufficient.
Brett’s Bottom Line:
The Russian Twist requires a stable base and a mobile upper body. The rib cage is moving over a fixed pelvis, much like the golf swing. Eventually, that exercise can be progressed to a much more demanding standing version using a tornado ball and a wall…This one will challenge any athlete.
Have fun. Good luck. Don’t fall!
To longer drives, lower scores, and fewer injuries.
Brett The Golf Guy