Why One Dance Move Might Actually Save Your Spine

Natasha Nesic, NASM CPT
3 min readDec 13, 2018


© Google

Yes, Google. Twerking is good exercise.

This is because twerking breaks down into three essential movements: a Cat-Cow, a Dumbbell Row, and an Isometric Squat.

From its yogic origins, a modern Cat-Cow is a safe, happy way of turning your spine into a slinky. You need this first, because as you go through it (and please, do go through it with mindful intentionality) it’s going to introduce you to the idea of how your core muscles wrap around themselves. These guys are there to support you on all sides while you’re doing the upper and lower body portions of the twerk.

Then we have the Row. And boy, do we need this, because we do not get enough pulling action in our lives. Personally, I prefer a 2:1 ratio of pull to push in a workout, especially as we consider how much quantitative time we spend pushing during the day. All that pushing ourselves produces a rounded-shoulder position with our pectorals engaged — and yes, any time you press against that keyboard, that counts.

As a result, we need that much more pull to counterbalance it. The Row accomplishes that effectively, and with enough possible variations out there that you’ll have difficulty getting bored.

Now, the Isometric Squat.

If you’re sitting while reading this, then your hips ain’t doing nothing with themselves. The legs are just hanging from their sockets, with minimal muscular activation along the way.

Take away the chair, keep the sitting position, and boom. You have to tense up your entire leg system in order to maintain that stance. It’s total lower body activation and it burns.

Oh, it burns.

But what about abs?” you might ask. “Can I get an abdominal workout from twerking as well?”

Of course you can. You can get an abdominal workout from any dance movement, provided that you’re keeping that specific musculature contracted at all times while engaged in movement.

This is something I see too often in cardio dance classes. Forgive me, but ladies and gentlefolk, you have to hold your parts together while shaking your booty.

That’s why I started you off with the Cat-Cow up there. Your organs need it, so that they don’t jostle all over the place inside your abdominal cavity. And your spine needs it, so that the crucial erector spinae and multifidum remember how to do their job — ’cause they ain’t doing it at your desk right now unless you deliberately squeeze them. But that’s uncomfortable, awkward, and requires a few years of body awareness study.

The good news is that we are human beings, and therefore capable of multitasking. If we as a society are capable of texting while driving, then I have complete faith that we can support the spine while mobilizing it. (The difference is that one of those things will get you potentially injured, and the other will prevent you from it.)

If you’re having trouble twerking, I would suggest studying it thoroughly. Twerks both past — :

— and present:

Then practice in the comfort of your bathroom, (or under the safe eyes of a professional) before taking it to the weight floor.



Natasha Nesic, NASM CPT

Writing about fitness, fiction, and how to feel better about yourself on the Internet. Subscribe for a daily dose of humor and perspective!