My sister, a physiotherapist, gives the low-down on what twerking actually does to your body

For someone who, up until two weeks ago, had never twerked once in her entire life, I sure am writing a lot of posts about twerking lately.

If you missed my first post, in which I go on about my new daily pandemic twerk from home routine, you can find it here.

Now I’ve got something even better for you. I was so excited about twerking that I suggested to my sister Emma that she give it a try. As first born, she took all the good bum genes for herself, leaving me with nothing, so she should be a fairly good contender for an effective twerk.

Here’s her review. Remember, this should not be taken as medical advice…go and see your GP for that.

Emma says:

I’m a newcomer to twerking, but having watched a tutorial and had a go, I can see it’s a fantastic workout!

I am slightly breathless from about ten seconds of twerking, having attempted both a high level twerk and a deep squat twerk, and I was somewhat and not unpleasently surprised to see my ‘booty’ shaking in a similar manner to the instructor on the video.
I have a twerky bum!

From a physio point of view – and bear in mind I am both on maternity leave and can often barley remember my own age, let alone how to do the paid job I know I used to do in the dim and distant past of ten months ago – twerking appears to be a combination of squatting and alternately posterior pelvic tilting, then thrusting into an anterior pelvic tilt.

I know, I’m fun.

Muscles used: Drawing the pelvis into a posterior pelvic tilt (tucking your tailbone underneath you) uses your abdominal muscles.

In a lying position, this is a useful exercise for people with lower back problems because you can focus on engaging the important core muscles: transvers abdominus. You’ll also be working on the obliques (which as well as being an important postural group of muscles, also help give the appearance of a tight waist, depending on the level of coverage).

On top of all of that, the rectus abdominus will be helping too. This is the muscle which gives the appearance of a six pack. From a healthy body point of view, the trans abs are the real star of the show though. You can have a great six pack but have weak inner core muscles and so get back ache.


If you want to work your core well when twerking, engage your trans abs and your pelvic floor.

When moving higher and lower in a squatting position, you are working all your big muscles groups: quads, hams, calves and glutes (bumbum, as I would say to my 8 month old).

This uses up energy and helps with the old calories deficit but it will also give you some functional stretches in a similar way to yoga or pilates.

Going into a good quality squat will stretch tight calves. Pulling into a posterior pelvic tilt, with the core muscles engaged, will help to strengthen the core and improve mobility around the hips.

You use your glutes to posteriorly tilt your pelvis, so repeatedly doing this must be a good glute work out.

Having said all that, with twerking it looks like the focus of the movement is on the quick and jiggly thrust into anterior pelvic tilt. Not something I’d recommend a back pain sufferer to do because this pelvic movement puts the lumbar spine into extension, which closes the joints within the spine.

Without good muscle control, this could put strain on the joints and cause some back ache. However, with good strength and control of the core muscles I think you’d be getting a good mobilisation of the lower back.

All in all I’m happy to give twerking a go but I will be boringly engaging my inner core and pelvic floor muscles to ensure good form and technique 😉

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