Many people just know the regular version but you can also do standing Russian twists. Find out how and the benefits.
You can describe standing Russian twists as standing up straight and rotating your upper body to each side.
The first thing to note is that most people need equipment options like a barbell landmine setup, resistance bands, or a cable machine to get results from standing Russian twists.
If you do this, standing Russian twists can be a good way to grow and strengthen your oblique muscles responsible for upper body rotation.
Compared to sitting Russian twists, the standing version makes it easier to only focus on these muscles instead of also worrying about ab engagement and balance.
Something you do want to keep in mind is that some people will find standing Russian twists uncomfortable.
In that case, an alternative like the Pallof press where you work the same muscles but don’t rotate can be better.
How to do a standing Russian twist
As an example, take the following steps to do a bodyweight standing Russian twist:
- Stand up straight with your hands together right in front of your chest.
- Slowly twist your upper body as far as comfortable to one side and then to the other side. Keep your legs and hips in the same position during the movements.
- Complete a certain number of repetitions on each side and return to starting position.
Bodyweight Russian twists are not the most effective but they are helpful for showing how the exercise works.
The first thing to pay attention to is not twisting your upper body too far.
This is mostly a case of carefully feeling it out since there are big individual differences in this area.
Secondly, you want to turn your head together with your upper body to avoid discomfort in your neck. Looking at your hands can help with this.
Standing Russian twists muscles worked
Standing Russian twists mainly work your oblique muscles responsible for upper body rotation.
You can also say your abs and erector spinae have to work to some extent to keep your body upright.
Additionally, muscles like your glutes, calves, and quadriceps have to work a small amount to stand up.
To grow and strengthen muscles you have to challenge them with enough pressure.
Since bodyweight standing Russian twists are not that challenging, you will likely need to add weights to see your desired results.
Some of the most convenient ways to do this are a barbell landmine set-up, resistance bands, and a cable machine.
That being said, you could also consider using a medicine ball or dumbbell if you don’t have the equipment options above.
Standing Russian twists benefits
If you combine them with a smart training routine, standing Russian twists offer a few nice benefits. Some examples are:
- Stronger muscles: Standing Russian twists make it relatively easy to work your oblique muscles to the point of growth and strength progress.
- May prevent back pain: Strengthening your obliques with standing Russian twists can help you avoid back pain (1, 2). People with this issue do likely want to start with easier movements.
- Can make daily activities easier: Core muscles like your obliques are responsible for keeping your upper body upright. By strengthening them with standing Russian twists things like standing up and walking around can become easier.
These positive effects are very similar to the benefits of regular Russian twists and other oblique exercises but can be helpful anyway.
Standing Russian twist alternatives
While standing Russian twists can be good for the right people, you may conclude that they are not entirely for you.
In that case, you can consider some of these alternatives to standing Russian twists:
- Regular Russian twists
- Oblique crunches
- Pallof presses
- Bicycle crunches
- Ab wheel V-rolls
- Side bends
What muscles you want to work and what movements your body is comfortable with will influence what standing Russian twist alternatives are the best for you.
Are standing Russian twists a good exercise?
If you do them with the right resistance, standing Russian twists can be a good exercise to grow and strengthen your obliques.
You will likely find it easier to focus on these muscles than in regular Russian twists because you don’t have to think about engaging your abs or balance.
Something you do want to know is that some people will find standing Russian twists too uncomfortable on their spines.
In that case, one of the standing Russian twist alternatives is likely a better choice.
Besides that, you also want to keep in mind that personal preference matters too.
How much you like doing standing Russian twists influences how good they are for your situation.
Are standing Russian twists effective?
Standing Russian twists can be effective if you use enough resistance, do enough repetitions, and don’t get injuries from the exercise.
Is a standing or sitting Russian twist better?
To work your oblique muscles alone, standing Russian twists are typically better than sitting Russian twists assuming you use enough resistance in both.
On the other hand, sitting Russian twists will train your abs and balance more. You also don’t need as much equipment to make this variation challenging enough.