Side Planks destroy my waistline – especially if they’re pulsed (continued up and down) or weighted. I understand that no matter what size you are, a waist that’s smaller than you’re your chest and hips is a desirable look to achieve. Side planks can build bulk exactly where I like to slim.
What do I do instead?
No-weight Russian side twists!
I didn’t know they were called this when I started doing them, which was back with Denise Austin’s Super Stomachs / Rock Hard Tummies.
Whether standing upright or sitting/laying on the floor, the focus is about creating a twist between the upper and lower body. I don’t use weights because the more resistance, the more bulk – that’s a foundational fitness truth. Instead, I seek to create endurance fatigue. This means that it should be an easy activity that only becomes difficult because I’m doing it for an extended period of time, without a break.
Standing Russian Twist
The image to the right shows the motion of a standing Russian twist with a kettlebell. You can use lightweight if you desire, but I often do the exercise with nothing but my arms. I really like how this image shows the muscles being activated by this simple twisting motion.
Seated Russian Twist
This next image is a basic diagram of the twist performed while seated in a standard “sit-up” position.
Seated Russian Twist Variations
This next image provides a great breakdown of options for the seated Russian Twist, including:
- Modified Version with the feet on the ground is good if you have low back problems or just starting out.
- Regular Version with the feet being held in the air – The lower body will also do a slight twist.
- Advanced Version with feet off the ground, alternate legs between the bent knee, and straight legs.
Men vs. Women
This post speaks more to women. Though a tapered waist is considered desirable on a man as well, men usually seek to build that six-pack abs definement that requires additional bulk. With this in mind, men, weights, and repetitions are actually encouraged.
NOTE: I’m not against side planks – they can be very useful for establishing balance and continuous movement in things like dance and yoga. I simply don’t use them for my personal fitness goal of a slimmer waist, as they don’t slim – they bulk.
What About You?
What is your favorite waist slimming exercises? Do you have other areas where you want to tighten but not bulk? Share with us your tips and questions.