How to Do Standing Russian Twist Properly

As the name suggests, the standing Russian twist is a standing variation of the Russian twist exercise. It is an isolation exercise that particularly targets the obliques.

The side-to-side twisting motion involved trains the ab and oblique muscles that support your spine and steady the core as you work out.

You can use resistance bands or a cable machine to improve the effectiveness of this workout. The standing Russian twist is more intense than the seated Russian twist due to the weight used and the range of motion involved.

Consider adding this drill to your routine depending on your convenience, preference, or workout goals.

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Also known as Standing Oblique Twist

Targeted Muscles: Abs, Obliques

Required Equipment: Dumbbells

Exercise Type: Strength/Bodybuilding

Exercise Mechanics: Isolation

Difficulty Level: Advanced


  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Pick a dumbbell or an alternative weight with both hands.
  • Hold the dumbbells and stretch your arms out. Bend your legs slightly.
  • Keep your head, back, and spine neutral. Extend your spine.
  • Engage your core and turn to one side as far as you can go comfortably.
  • Rotate the opposite leg of the active side with the movement.
  • Switch the motion and rotate to the opposite side.
  • Repeat the movement until you achieve the desired sets of reps at a controlled pace for an effective cardio workout.


  • Keep your knees slightly bent.
  • Ensure your torso angle is the same throughout the workout along with the entire range of motion.
  • Lean back to engage your obliques and force the rotational weight as you work out. Tighten your core to avoid leaning back too far.
  • Execute the side-to-side trunk rotation from your waist, not the delts.
  • Maintain your hips stationary and rotate starting from the spine.

Expect to engage several trunk muscles like the rectus abdominis, spinalis, latissimus dorsi, and erector spinae.

This exercise can be hard on the core muscles even when implemented with the correct technique. Focus your gaze on your hands and allow your head and neck to follow your torso.

Do not twist too far back as this will put unnecessary strain on your spine and back muscles. If you have any existing neck, back, hip, or shoulder problems, pass on this workout.


The standing Russian twist is a resistance exercise that works muscles that stabilize the spine. Likewise, it works the back, arms, shoulders, and hips depending on your contraption or fitness level.

This workout mainly targets the abs including the rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis.

  • Obliques: Facilitate the side-to-side bending of your torso.
  • Upper and Lower Abdominals: Facilitate lumbar spine stability.
  • Serratus: Allows for swift arm rotation and pulls the scapula frontwards as you perform the exercise.



The standing Russian twist is a hypertrophy exercise that strengthens and increases the torso muscle mass. A strong torso aids better strength lifts and a more sculpted chiseled midsection.

This exercise improves overall enhancing muscle benefits, making the body generate greater tension when the core is engaged as a result of more muscle mass.

Strong obliques facilitate the core and pelvic stability as you perform heavy weightlifting workouts.


Core training exercises like the standing oblique twist are known to alleviate or reduce back pain. If you have existing back pains, be sure to talk to a certified fitness trainer before implementing this workout.


Performing the standing oblique twist will force you to generate much more energy than you are likely to use to execute the regular activities.

Effective muscle will let you burn more calories. However, if your workout goal is to shed some weight, consider other exercises known for weight training.



Try this alternative workout that works the core, improves flexibility and balance, and also engages the obliques to sculpt your waist.


  • Place an exercise mat on the floor and lie on it on your left side. Bend your knees slightly.
  • Put your left hand on your abs and support the side of your head with your right hand.
  • Exhale, brace your core, and lift your torso off the ground by moving your elbows in the direction of your hips.
  • Maintain this position for a few seconds.
  • Exhale and slowly resume the starting position.
  • Repeat for the recommended sets of reps.



Speed is not ideal for this motion. When you rush the motion, you reduce the time under tension. You will not work your abs and obliques to their full potential.

Likewise, rushing the motion is likely to generate momentum and reduce the effectiveness of the workout.

Fix this by performing the exercise in a slow and controlled motion and making every movement targeted. Do not cheat your way through the reps.


Remember the standing Russian twist majorly works the core, therefore, the back only aids stability and should not move a lot.

When you twist your lower back, you will not keep your torso as rigid as required when you execute this workout. Likewise, over-rotating the spine can pose a significant danger. Ensure only your arms move.


Performing the standing Russian twist with a sloppy technique will put unnecessary tension on your spine and pose you risk of injury.

Likewise, the sloppy technique will put all the stress on your back and shift the tension from your abs and obliques.

If you realize you’re twisting your lower back or rounding it, do the exercise without weight plates and focus on perfecting your technique first.


Many health and fitness benefits are guaranteed by the consistent performance of the standing Russian twist. Remember consistency is key with all workout plans.

You can level up the challenge by performing the bodyweight variation of this exercise.

If you are weak or sensitive in the neck, back, shoulders, and knees, consider performing other strengthening workouts before you resolve to this one. Consider working with a certified fitness instructor before performing the standing Russian twist.

If you decide to include this drill in your routine, be sure to nourish your body with enough nutrients and rest enough to allow your muscles to repair and grow effectively.

Push your limits and achieve the sculpted strong physique you desire.