In an interview with the Health Channel, Brian Betancourt, Exercise Physiologist at Baptist Health South Florida, talks about different abdominal exercises and how to do them correctly. Russian Twists are one of the most popular ab exercises you will see people doing, but Brian Betancourt says that despite its popularity, it is not that good of an abdominal exercise.
Instead, Brian suggests that people do the Pallof Press. The Pallof Press has the lifter pulling on a resistance band that is sternum-high, with the goal of utilizing your core to keep yourself from rotating. You want to find a weight that is reasonable for you, but not too heavy, even 20 pounds is too much for most people. Brian says that people who do Russian Twists as their abdominal exercise of choice will be surprised doing the Pallof Press because they realize their core is not as strong as they thought.
Brian says that Russian Twists do not isolate your core as well as people think they do. “That’s all just your lumbar grinding, rotating sideways. You’re flexed and your hip flexors are firing, a bunch of things that aren’t necessarily for the core,” Brian explains.
In order for Russian Twists to be effective, you have to know how to stabilize your core and allow the movements to come from the thoracic spine or from the hips. This is how you can avoid any risk of back pain. In order to reach that stability in your core, you have to train your core beforehand. So, Russian Twists are not the most beginner-friendly abdominal exercise and actually require a lot of prior training in order to do them correctly.
Watch the full segment of Brian Betancourt talking about different ab exercises, here: https://youtu.be/frwArPAa2nc