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Russian twists for baseball builds rotational core strength and explosiveness that will allow you to throw faster, hit farther, and sprint faster.
Russian twist exercises primarily target the abdominal muscles.
To be more specific, this exercise will target the rectus abdominis muscles (front portion of abs), and the transverse abdominis muscles (side portion of the abdominal) which support the rectus abdominis.
In addition to your abdominals, these exercises may also target your lower back, making it a complete core exercise. This exercise can incorporated with ab planks to see maximum results in your core strength.
3 Russian twist exercises
Russian twists have many variations including performing it while standing or sitting, with or without a medicine ball, or utilizing a barbell. This post will outline the unique variations of the Russian twists, and how to properly perform each one.
- Standing Russian twists
- Sitting Russian twists
- Barbell Russian twists
For beginners, performing the standing Russian twists may be more suitable.
Once you have progressed, you can advance to sitting version. While squeezing your abdominal muscles , you will rotate the upper half of your body from left to right. Preferably, you should use a medicine ball on this exercise. Hold the ball straight out in front of you.
The farther you can rotate your upper body, the move efficient the exercise becomes for your transverse abdominis muscles. Depending on your level of core strength, you should be able to perform this movement for 10-15 repetitions.
Rotating left and rotating right is considered one repetition. As soon as your abs have built up a tolerance for the standing version, you should then advance to sitting Russian twists.
Sitting Russian twists can be considered the intermediate stage, and will be more difficult than the previous standing variation. There are several variations to the sitting twists depending on your level of advancement. Let's start with the most basic version.
First, find something soft to sit on like an exercise mat.
You then need to find something or someone that will hold your feet flat on the ground.
Start with your legs bent at the knees, elevate your upper body so that it creates a V-shape with thighs, and fully extend your arms to shoulder height with your hands clasped together. In this starting position and with your core squeezed tightly, you will then rotate your upper body one way, slight pause, and rotate to the opposite side.
Make sure your breathing patterns are natural, and perform this exercise in a slow and controlled manner.
One variation of the sitting russian twists , is to use a medicine ball or any type of weight. Instead of having your feet planted on the ground, you will actually raise your feet and legs up. You will then lean your upper body backwards so that you are balancing on your gluteus maximus.
With the same exact motion previous stated, rotate the weighted device back and forth to each side. By leaning back as far as possible and keeping your feet about six inches from the ground, the harder this exercise will become. This is a very advanced version, and will take some considerate core strength to be able to perform it correctly.
Barbell russian twists are the most advanced version of this exercise. This variation will greatly build your core strength so that you can generate baseball-specific power.
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To get to the next level, preparation is everything. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching.
If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my latest strength training, conditioning and throwing programs for baseball pitchers of all ages.
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