You can use Bosu Balls in many core exercises but this is not always ideal. Discover what differences Bosu Ball Russian twists make.
Bosu Ball Russian twists are a variation of regular Russian twists where you sit on a Bosu Ball instead of the ground.
By using the Bosu Ball instead of a sturdy surface the exercise works your core muscles just a bit more and the movement becomes a good amount harder in terms of balance.
This extra challenge can also help you improve your balance more.
However, it is also possible that Bosu Ball Russian twists are too hard in this area to effectively grow and strengthen the target muscles of the exercise.
In simpler words, Bosu Ball Russian twists can be slightly more effective for working your core muscles but you likely want to stick to the regular version.
Unless you want to train your balance and don’t mind giving up some core training effectiveness.
How to do a Bosu Ball Russian twist
As you can expect, you need a good Bosu Ball to do this exercise effectively. With this, take the following steps to do a Bosu Ball Russian twist:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the flat part on the ground.
- Sit on the top of the Bosu Ball with your feet flat on the ground. Keep your spine about straight throughout the rest of the movement.
- Tilt your upper body back until it is at about a 45-degree angle to the ground. Raise your feet slightly so they hover above the ground.
- Slowly rotate your upper body as far as comfortable to one side.
- Rotate your upper body in a similar way but to the other side.
- Alternate between these last two positions for a certain number of repetitions or amount of time.
During Bosu Ball Russian twists you mainly want to focus on keeping your spine straight.
Additionally, keeping your neck in the same position in relation to your upper body will make the exercise more comfortable too.
Bosu Ball Russian twists muscles worked
Bosu Ball Russian twists mainly work your oblique and ab muscles. You can also say your hip flexors have to work to some extent to keep your legs in the air.
Compared to the standard version on a sturdy surface, Bosu Ball Russian twists work your obliques just a bit more to keep your hips at the right angles and balance your body.
One thing you do want to keep in mind is that this extra balance aspect can also interfere with your core training. Especially when you start doing weighted Russian twists.
To grow and strengthen your obliques you want to aim for 2 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 Russian twists.
If the balance requirements make you interrupt these sets regularly, you may want to keep your core training and balance training separate.
Benefits of Bosu Ball Russian twists
Besides the extra balance aspect, the positive effects of the Bosu variation are very similar to the benefits of regular Russian twists. Some of these are:
- Stronger muscles: In combination with a good workout program, Bosu Ball Russian twists can help you grow and strengthen your obliques and abs.
- Balance & coordination: Sitting on the Bosu Ball makes Russian twists (even) harder in terms of balance and coordination. While this can come with disadvantages too, it can also benefit your skills in these areas.
- May prevent back pain: Making your core muscles stronger with something like Bosu Ball Russian twists tends to reduce your risk of back pain (1, 2). Keep in mind that you likely want to skip this exercise if you already have issues in this area.
- Can make your core muscles stand out: Having visible abs and obliques tends to be considered a visual benefit. Once your body fat percentage is low enough, Bosu Ball Russian twists can help with this.
Since other exercises offer these benefits too, you don’t necessarily have to stick to Bosu Ball Russian twists to get them.
At the same time, it is nice to know that adding one movement to your routine can benefit you in these ways.
Bosu Ball Russian twist alternatives
You could conclude that you like the benefits of Bosu Ball Russian twists but not the exercise itself.
In that case, you can consider one of the Bosu Ball core exercises or other alternatives below.
- Pallof presses
- Landmine rotations
- Regular Russian twists
- Wood chop exercise
- (Bosu Ball) Crunches
- Standing cable Russian twists
What Bosu Ball Russian twist alternatives you prefer will depend on details like what muscles you want to work, what fitness equipment you have, and what you like doing.
Are Bosu Ball Russian twists a good exercise?
On the one hand, Bosu Ball Russian twists do offer many valuable benefits if you do enough repetitions with enough weight.
On the other hand, it is hard to really call Bosu Ball Russian twists a good exercise since most people will prefer the effects of regular Russian twists.
The Bosu Ball variation does add a bit of core muscle engagement but it also makes the Russian twists harder when it comes to balance.
In turn, it becomes more challenging to do Bosu Ball Russian twists in the ideal set and rep ranges. Especially when you start adding weights.
So unless you really like doing Bosu Ball Russian twists, you likely want to turn to the regular version or one of the Russian twist alternatives and other core exercises instead.