The squat twist is a strength training that requires simultaneous functioning of your lower and upper body muscles.
You can use this workout as a warm-up exercise since it involves your whole body muscles.
Squat twist exercise focuses on your shoulders, obliques, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and lowers back. It’s a great workout and can burn more calories since it works out more muscles at a go.
This exercise involves a twist motion around the abdomen and is performed in synchronized repetitive sets.
The movements help improve your athletic performance, strengthen your core, and reduce injury risks when done correctly.
You can perform the squat twist in the comfort of your home as no special equipment is needed. However, you can use dumbbells. You can place them in front of your chest for balance and stability.
HOW TO DO SQUAT TWIST PROPERLY
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hip-width.
- Bring your chest out and up as you engage your abdominals. Distribute your weight to your heels and push your hips backward to resume a sitting position.
- Lower yourself towards the ground so that your thighs are parallel with the ground. You should feel a burn in your glutes and thighs.
- Pause in this position and keep your knees slightly behind your toes.
- Breathe out, and push back like you are getting to the starting position. Raise your right leg and tuck it as high as possible towards your left elbow.
- Bring the leg back to the starting position, squat, and repeat with the left leg.
SQUAT TWIST MUSCLES WORKED
The squat twist targets the muscles in your lower and upper body. The muscles are internal and external obliques, rectus and transverse abdominis, spinal erectors, quadratus lumborum, and hip flexors.
It also targets the shoulders, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and other back muscles.
Obliques are muscles running along the sides of your core. They are essential for rotational movements, bending from side to side, and protecting your spine.
Strong obliques are beneficial for your overall health and support good looks and support your back and overall posture.
Exercising obliques help prevent injuries and pain in your lower back and shoulders.
During the exercise, you engage them when you twist your torso.
So, the muscles contract and lengthen on each side of your core, shoulders, and back muscles.
RECTUS AND TRANVERSE ABDOMINIS
The transverse abdominis is the deepest layer of the abdominal muscle. It is located below the internal and external obliques and rectus abdominis.
The transverse abdominis helps protect and hold the internal organs in place. It also supports the torso by maintaining abdominal wall tension. Therefore, keep the spine and the pelvis stable before performing any limb movement.
The Rectus abdominis is a long abs muscle of the anterior abdominal wall. It extends from the ribcage down to the pubic bone. The muscle is visible and forms the “six-pack.”
The muscles help in trunk movement either forward, backward, or sideways. It maintains the abdominal wall tension and helps to stabilize the spine. Additionally, it helps control the activities of the pelvis, which gives the curved shape of the spine.
The quadratus lumborum is a flat quadrangular and deepest of the back muscles. The muscle stabilizes your spine when you bend to the side and straighten your lower back.
The muscle also helps with your straight posture.
Exercising the muscle helps improve body posture and makes you more flexible in your back. It also helps aid in the healing of old injuries and pains while preventing new ones.
Both the muscles help bend your torso and spine forward and sideways during the squat twist.
BENEFITS OF SQUAT TWIST
If correctly done, the squat twist exercise comes with health benefits. They are as follows:
1. IT HELPS IN STRENGTHENING YOUR CORE
The exercise involves engaging your core to activate muscles in your upper and lower body. Therefore, the muscles are strengthened to support your core, which helps to improve your balance and upright posture.
2. IT HELPS IN REDUCING FATS AND CALORIE
As you perform the twist movement, you activate your rectus abdominis, which helps with the appearance of the abs. Exercising the abdominal muscles helps burn calories, giving good looks and an admired body shape.
3. STRENGTHENS YOUR LOWER BODY MUSCLES
Your lower body consists of the most powerful body muscle. The exercise helps activate these muscles to build a strong lower body, which helps with movements.
Muscles such as the glutes, quads, and hamstrings are activated, and strengthening them increases your body’s strength and balance.
4. INCREASES YOUR ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
The squat twist exercise improves body flexibility, a key attribute for a good athlete. It also helps you perform strong, explosive moves and increases your speed.
5. REDUCES AND PREVENTS INJURY RISKS
Squat twist helps in lengthening your muscles and strengthening them too. Strong and lengthened muscles help avoid injuries and muscle fatigue.
ALTERNATIVE TO SQUAT TWIST
DOWNWARD DOG LEG LIFT
The exercise focuses on your arms, shoulders, legs, and back. It helps to strengthen the core and the arms, improving your flexibility.
- Get on all fours with your head shoulder-width apart and shoulders above your wrists.
- Raise your legs off the ground with your toes to the ground. Ensure you maintain a straight lower body from the hips.
- This will be your starting position. Raise your right leg high behind you, keeping your hips aligned and squared with the floor. Keeping it square helps you make a right leg dropdown.
- Get to a high plank and bring your shoulders directly over your wrists. Bring your knee inwards to touch your nose. Stretch it back to a three-legged downward-facing dog position. Perform some reps with your right leg and bring it back to the floor. Repeat with your left leg.
SQUAT TWIST MISTAKES TO AVOID
1. AVOID LOWERING TOO MUCH
While alternating the moves, you might tend to lower too much towards the ground. It’s good as you perform the squat twist to lower yourself as far as you can control to raise yourself back up.
2. AVOID ROUNDING YOUR BACK AND SHOULDERS
Maintain an upright posture to engage the correct muscles targeted by the exercise. Your spine should remain straight as you hold your head in a neutral position.
3. AVOID USING THE EXERCISE MOMENTUM
Performing the squat twist workout requires you to activate your core muscles through the exercise. You will achieve your target and get the full benefits from the exercise by doing this.
4. KEEP A STRAIGHT FOCUS
It’s possible to look at the ground during the workout, but it’s always advisable to focus straight ahead. It helps keep your neck in a neutral position and your head too.