Russian twists are mainly a resistance training core exercise but they can also help you burn a few extra calories. Find out what you can expect.
The average person can expect to burn around 41 – 71+ calories per 15 minutes of bodyweight Russian twists. How many calories you personally burn in reality depends on many factors.
For example, the 41 calories burned during 15 minutes of doing bodyweight Russian twists is an estimation for a 125-pound (56 kg) individual.
When you switch to 215 pounds (97 kg) body weight in the prediction formula, this estimation of the number of calories burned during 15 minutes of bodyweight Russian twists goes up to 71 calories.
Even if you take body weight into account, these are still very rough predictions. For example, doing weighted Russian twists can increase these amounts a lot.
That being said, even then, Russian twists are not a great exercise for burning calories and/or losing weight.
This article will also go over predictions for different time frames and amounts of Russian twists, ways to burn more calories, and how many repetitions you will have to do to actually lose weight.
Things that influence calories burned with Russian twists
It can feel annoying but exactly how many calories you burn with exercises like Russian twists is hard to estimate in advance and takes special devices to come close to measuring these amounts correctly.
Add to this that not all calories are equal when it comes to losing weight and trying to balance what you eat with the exercise you do becomes a real guessing game.
That being said, even if you ultimately don’t get the exact amounts, getting some rough estimations and knowing what some of the things are that influence how many calories Russian twists burn can still be useful to know.
Some of these factors include:
- Weight: Your body requires energy to move around. Similar to how a bigger car tends to use up more fuel, more weight typically means burning more calories.
- Body composition: A certain body weight can be the result of different types of tissues. For one person this weight could mainly come from fat. For the other, this could come from muscle. The same weight in different types of tissues can burn different amounts of calories.
- Movement speed: Another aspect that influences how much energy your body uses is how fast you move. Faster speeds tend to burn up more calories.
- Weight used: Bodyweight Russian twists are often challenging enough but you could also do the exercise while holding weights. Similar to how more body weight requires more energy, holding weights will increase how many calories you burn.
Estimations calories burned with Russian twists
A report from the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention gives a rough general that light calisthenic exercises like Russian twists will burn between 3.5 to 7 calories per minute (1).
That being said, there are always ways to get more precise predictions. For example, you can use MET values in combination with a formula to estimate more precisely how much energy people use during activities.
MET values are estimations of how intense specific exercises and activities are. 1 MET is roughly how intense sitting still is. An activity with an MET of 5 would be 5 times as intense.
You can use these values in the following formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute
At the time of writing, there is no precise MET for Russian twists specifically. Even so, the MET for light effort calisthenics should be at least somewhat close to reality (2).
You can find a table below with rough estimations about how many calories Russian twists burn during different time frames and for different people.
After that, there is a table with the number of calories burned during different amounts of Russian twists.
Keep in mind that these are rough estimations. The MET formula above does not take certain important factors that do influence reality into account.
Lastly, to put these estimations into perspective, 100 grams of boiled potatoes contain about 87 calories (3).
Calories burned with Russian twists in time frames
If your main goal is burning calories it can be easier to look at the total amount of time you spend doing Russian twists.
In reality, these numbers will depend a lot on your exact intensity. However, they do give you somewhat of an idea about the results you can expect with this exercise.
|1 Minute||5 Minutes||15 Minutes||30 Minutes||60 Minutes|
|3 calories||14 calories||41 calories||83 calories||165 calories|
|3 calories||17 calories||51 calories||103 calories||205 calories|
|4 calories||20 calories||61 calories||122 calories||245 calories|
|5 calories||24 calories||71 calories||142 calories||284 calories|
Calories burned with different amounts of Russian twists
You may also wonder how many Russian twists you should do to burn certain amounts of calories. The table below shows how much energy certain repetition ranges require.
Another piece of potentially helpful information is that the average person needs to do somewhere around 420 to 725 Russian twists to burn 100 calories.
These amounts and the ones in the table below assume you do about 20 Russian twists (one turn to each side per repetition) per minute.
|# Russian Twists|
|0 calories*||3 calories||4 calories||7 calories||14 calories|
|0 calories*||3 calories||5 calories||9 calories||17 calories|
|0 calories*||4 calories||6 calories||10 calories||20 calories|
|0 calories*||5 calories||7 calories||12 calories||24 calories|
*Rounded number but does make a good point
How to burn more calories with Russian twists
The tables above may give a different impression but the number of calories you burn with Russian twists can definitely be influenced.
If have extra time, doing more Russian twists (or other exercises) tends to burn more calories.
However, most people want to use up more energy in a shorter amount of time. This is more busy-schedule-friendly.
The first way to do this is by doing Russian twists with extra weights. First of all, this will burn more calories during your exercise sessions.
However, it can also grow and strengthen the muscles worked in Russian twists just a bit more. In turn, this burns some extra calories over time.
Secondly, you can build more muscle mass in other places with different resistance training exercises. The extra muscle mass will make you heavier in a way that is generally healthy.
In turn, you burn more calories with Russian twists because your body has to move more weight.
Lastly, in theory, you could do Russian twists faster. However, you want to avoid turning too far in this movement so going faster is generally not recommended.
Is the Russian twist good for weight loss?
Russian twists can help you burn a few extra calories. In turn, this means Russian twists can help you lose weight in combination with the right habits in other lifestyle areas like nutrition.
At the same time, it is important to note that Russian twists are definitely not the best exercise for losing weight either.
Next, how fast you will lose weight from doing Russian twists will also depend on the things you eat.
That being said, let’s assume you were at a routine that maintained your weight and now plan to implement more Russian twists while keeping everything else the same.
10 sessions of 10 minutes of Russian twists can help a 155-pound (70 kg) person burn an extra 340 calories which are about 0.1 pounds of body fat.
30 Russian twist sessions of the same duration will burn around 1020 calories (= +- 0.3 pounds of body fat).
With the information that one pound of body fat is about 3500 calories (one kg +-8000 calories), you can get more precise estimations for your own workouts too.
Are Russian twists good for burning calories?
While they do help to some extent, you should definitely not do Russian twists as your main exercise for burning calories.
This movement can be helpful for growing and strengthening your core muscles but when it comes to burning calories, slimming your waist, and giving you a flat stomach, there are many better alternatives.
Even if you do add other forms of exercise, you want to keep in mind that other lifestyle habits like what you eat stay important for losing weight.
You can burn a lot of calories with workouts and still gain weight with suboptimal habits in other areas.