How to Twerk Your Way to a Better Body
Twerking is one of the sexiest dance moves on the planet — but did you know it’s also one of the biggest calorie blasters? Rapper Iggy Azalea revealed this week that she dropped a massive amount of weight in just one week, in part due to rigorous twerking rehearsals for a music video. And even if you aren’t a pop star, you can hit the dance floor to get in shape too.
“I went on a meal plan before the video because I knew I would have to be dancing fairly skimpily dressed,” she revealed during an interview with New Zealand radio station Nova 96.9’s Fitzy and Wippa about filming her video for “Mo Bounce.” “I did a lot of rehearsals actually, and, man, I lost 15 pounds in a week dancing to that song!”
While Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus and Iggy Azalea all make twerking look easy, she says it is actually quite hard, requiring flexibility and professional instruction for most people to master it. “I did take classes. I do have someone who is very, very good at twerking, and she helped me,” Azalea continued. “I never realized how flexible you have to be to do that stuff. My teacher was like, ‘I really suggest you take yoga.’ I didn’t know you had to take yoga to be a twerker, but apparently you do.”
According to San Francisco personal trainer Ray Tabora, twerking is definitely a fat-blasting and rear-shaping workout. “They’re using their legs and butt, and when you do that, you increase your metabolism because your heart beats harder,” Tabora said about twerkers. “If it gets you moving, all the better.”
Caley Bohn, a certified personal trainer, estimated that twerking burns between five and eight calories per minute for a 150-pound person — which amounts to 300 to 480 calories per hour, similar to the amount of calories burned jogging or doing power yoga.
Other fitness instructors, like Janet Jones, who teaches a twerking-based class dubbed The Vixen Workout, maintains that expert twerkers can burn up to 1,000 calories per hour. That means if Iggy spent 12 hours twerking, she could burn up to 12,000 calories — per day!
Twerkout classes are popping up around the world, including Aussie Twerk, which offers classes, courses and parties all around Australia. There’s also Twerk’Out, a workout class held at Femme Body Fitness in New York City and New Jersey. “Keeping up with the music makes it a cardio-based class,” Femme’s owner and master instructor Carmen Arroyo told StyleCaster. “With twerking, you work your hips and abs at the same time, as well as your thighs, glutes and lower back.”
Beyond the physical workout, experts say there’s an even greater reason to get your twerk on. Freestyle dancing is also a workout for the brain and has even been shown to reduce the risk of dementia. According to Richard Powers, a dance professor at Stanford University, it requires more brain power than other “stricter” forms of dance because you are forced to make rapid decisions about how you’ll move.
And if the physical and mental benefits of taking a twerkout class aren’t motivating enough, just imagine how impressed your friends will be when you start booty-popping at your next party!
What Do YOU Think?
Are you surprised twerking is such an intense workout? Do you have any experience with it? Would you take a “twerkout” class?
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Leah Groth is a writer and editor currently based in Philadelphia. She has covered topics such as entertainment, parenting, health & wellness for xoJane, Babble, Radar, Fit Pregnancy, Mommy Nearest, Living Healthy and PopDust.