Sitting Twists: How To, Benefits,…

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You can work out your core with many movements. Discover how to do sitting twists and what the benefits are.

Sitting twists are a variation of Russian twists where you have your feet on the ground instead of in the air.

This movement will mainly work your obliques responsible for upper body rotation dynamically and your abs and hip flexors isometrically (in a static way).

Compared to regular Russian twists, sitting twists are easier to do and generally work your abs slightly less.

In simpler words, sitting twists can be a decent/good exercise for working your obliques and to some extent your abs if you don’t find them too uncomfortable.

Keep in mind that you still have to work these muscles with enough weight and repetitions to see results.

How to do a sitting twist

Something soft to sit on can make this exercise more comfortable to do.

That aside, take the following steps to do a sitting twist:

  1. Sit down and put your feet flat on the ground with your knees bent.
  2. Keep your spine straight and tilt your upper body back until it is at about a 45-degree angle to the ground.
  3. Slowly rotate your upper to one side as far as comfortable.
  4. Rotate your upper body to the other side as far as comfortable.
  5. Keep alternating between steps 3 and 4 for a certain number of repetitions.
How to do a sitting twist

Keeping your spine straight and not rotating your upper body too far are the most important technique attention points for sitting twists.

Besides that, you also want to rotate your head together with your upper body for neck comfort.

You can make this second point easier by pointing your hands forward and looking at them.

Sitting twists muscles worked

Sitting twists mainly work your oblique muscles responsible for upper body rotation.

At the same time, you also work your abs and hip flexors in an isometric aka static way.

This difference is relevant because isometric exercises tend to be less effective for growing and strengthening muscles.

Besides that, it is worth mentioning that sitting twists will work your abs and hip flexors slightly less than Russian twists.

Whether this is bad or not depends on your training goals and the rest of your workout program.

Lastly, keep in mind that you may need to do sitting twists with weight to challenge your muscles enough.

Some equipment options you can use for this include a dumbbell, kettlebell, sandbag, and similar options.

Sitting twist benefits

If you don’t overdo or underdo it with them, sitting twists can offer nice benefits. Some examples of these are:

  1. Stronger muscles: By challenging your core muscles with sitting twists you could grow and strengthen them.
  2. May prevent back pain: Strengthening your core muscles with sitting twists can prevent back pain (1, 2). If you already have this issue you do likely want to turn to other exercises.
  3. Balance and coordination: Sitting twists could be challenging enough in terms of balance and coordination to benefit your skills in these areas.
  4. Could make your abs stand out: Sitting twists are not ideal for growing these muscles but they could help your abs stand out more. Keep in mind that your body fat percentage needs to be low enough to see this benefit.

You can consider other core exercises for these benefits too but sitting twists can be a good option if you like doing them.

Sitting twist alternatives

It is also possible that you want to switch things up or not do sitting twists altogether.

In these cases, you can also consider some of these sitting twist alternatives:

  • Russian twists
  • Pallof presses
  • Standing cable Russian twists
  • Lying leg raise twists
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Hanging sideways knee raises
  • Ab wheel V-rolls
  • Side bends

If you are not sure what sitting twist alternatives are the best for you, you can think about what muscles you want to work, what your body can deal with, and potentially try out a few options.

Are sitting twists a good exercise?

Sitting twists can be a decent/good exercise for working your obliques responsible for upper body rotation and to some extent your abs and hip flexors.

You do want to keep in mind that you still need to implement sitting twists in a good workout program to see results.

Additionally, one downside of sitting twists is that some people will find them too uncomfortable on their backs.

If this applies to you, you can also consider a variety of no-equipment oblique exercises or other movements.

At the same time, it is also worth noting again that sitting twists can still offer nice benefits.

If you like doing this exercise, it could deserve a spot in your workout program.


What are sitting twists good for?

Sitting twists are mainly good for working your oblique muscles and to some extent your abs and hip flexors.

Are sitting twists effective?

If you do them with enough weight and repetitions, sitting twists can be effective for growing and strengthening your obliques.

For working your abs and hip flexors there are alternatives that are more effective than sitting twists.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.