Thanks to my body’s questionable choice of fat distribution, I’ve got an arse that’s flatter than Kendal Jenner’s stomach.
Unlike my (very un-Kendal-like) stomach, my backside is pretty much pure muscle; hard as a rock. I wouldn’t be surprised it if had its own six pack. Because of my ridiculously fat-free buttocks and my ingrained British uptightness (do you think these two things are in some way connected?), I’ve always wistfully dismissed twerking as something other, cooler, more confident, plumper-buttocked women do.
Women like Megan Thee Stallion, who over the last few years has earned international acclaim for the astounding strength of her knees as she effortlessly twerks and butt jiggles (this is also a thing) her way through music performances.
But I wasn’t prepared to live a twerkless life
It’s just such a mesmerising dance, isn’t it? I bet you can’t stop looking at that GIF up there. And not just because it’s sexually suggestive… and yes, it is sexual – but in a self-empowering, expressive, womanly way. The twerk says: “yes I’m sexy, and this sexy body is mine so fuck off”.
The twerk is also a remarkable display of muscle control, athleticism and an undeniable celebration of female body fat. The more bum fat you have, the more of that mesmerising undulation you get. Apparently some hardcore twerkers can even make a clapping sound with their butt cheeks. Amazing! Imagine being able to applaud with your buttocks.
A little research tells me that twerking grew from New Orleans bounce culture in the 1980s but it has its roots in the gluteal dances performed at weddings and rituals in Africa to boost fertility and strengthen the pelvic muscles after birth. Through slavery, the African diaspora took these dances to Brazil, Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and the US.
Then in 2013 former Disney child-star Miley Cyrus shocked the world by twerking at Robyn Thicke at the MTV VMAs, and the dance became a social media trend which a lot of people saw as a crass commercialisation and misinterpretation of black culture. Today everybody’s twerking. There are worldwide twerk championships and even established twerk workout classes you can attend at the gym (although I’ve never seen one).
Unwilling to let a flat bum crush my dreams, I took to YouTube, where I found this tutorial for a basic twerk:
My first twerk: how did it feel?
Stiff. I’m not very good at the anterior pelvic tilt (the fancy word for arching your bum out). Maybe this is because, being so tall, I never wear high heels (which realign your body so your bum sticks out more). Maybe it’s because I slipped a disc in my lower back when I was 21. Maybe it’s just because that’s my personal physiology.
I do cat-cow and other backbends every day as part of my yoga practice – but I do them slowly, with great care and control. A twerk is like cat-cow on speed, and it’s all in the lumbar spine.
It’s one heck of a workout
When you twerk, you start with a deep squat which immediately engages the core muscles, glutes, hamstrings, calves and the ankles. It also requires flexible hip flexors and strong abs to get those controlled, precise thrusting movements.
I consider myself pretty fit but my first foray into twerking really wiped me out! I’ve practiced every day for the last couple of weeks, just for a few minutes at a time, and I already feel sooo much more flexible in my lower back and hips – it’s like some old rusty screws have been loosened in my body.
Twerk from home
If you’re working from home because of the pandemic, or for any reason – this is the perfect time to start a twerk routine. Get up every now and then, put on Cardi B’s WAP, and twerk your heart out. If you’re a tight-buttocked Brit like me, you’ll definitely feel silly at first. But stick with it…it’s really fun and REALLY good for you.
Also…it’s probably my imagination, but I feel like my bum has developed a bit more perkiness in recent days.
That’s my argument for daily twerking! Give it a go and let me know how it feels.