Steam engine exercise is a compound exercise that mainly targets your obliques. It also stretches and strengthens your hamstrings, back, core, quads and hip flexors.
This calisthenics exercise is performed by ideally positioning your left leg and left elbow along with your right knee. After crossing your wrist, place the left knee next to the right.
It is fit for any level of physical fitness and exercise experience. Essentially, you need to start with a good posture and contract your core throughout.
This will help you maintain good balance as you exercise the chest, lower back and abs. However, only attempt the steam engine exercise after perfecting the standard high knee exercise.
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HOW TO DO STEAM ENGINE EXERCISE
Here are the steps for performing the exercise.
- Stand tall with your feet slightly apart. Your hands should be firmly interlocked behind your head and elbows in line with your shoulders.
- Lift your right knee slowly as you simultaneously twist your torso to bring down your left elbow toward your right knee. Your right knee and left elbow should connect without you bending over at your waist.
- At the top of the movement, contract your core and obliques in order to push your elbow down into your knee.
- Return your right knee and foot back to the floor.
- Now, lift your left knee as your twist your torso to bring your right elbow toward the left knee.
- Squeeze at the top then, return the left knee and foot back to the floor. That makes one repetition.
- Repeat the movement for the desired number of reps.
STEAM ENGINE EXERCISE MUSCLES ENGAGED
This exercises mostly focuses on the oblique muscles. These muscles together with your transverse abdominis help to execute the movement properly and keep the lower back safe.
Additionally, the core muscles help to stabilize the body during the movement. It also assists to maintain proper form and function.
It also engages to a lower extent other muscles that assist the move like the quadriceps, glutes, calves, hamstrings, hip flexors.
Also, you can squeeze the biceps and triceps as you lower down your elbows to touch the knees.
STEAM ENGINE EXERCISE BENEFITS
INCREASES HEART RATE AND BURNS CALORIES
The steam engine exercise is a cardiovascular exercise that improves your cardiovascular health. The move will have your heart racing as you activate your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes, hips, abs, and upper body.
Alternating your knees and arms will also help you burn calories. This will boost your resting metabolic rate and speed up weight loss.
However, if you want to burn more fat and calories during and after your workout, switch the move with other full body exercises.
Nonetheless, pay attention to strength training as well.
TARGETS YOUR LOWER BODY
As discussed, the move helps improve power in the lower body. This is by working muscles like the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, and hip flexors.
Consequently, this helps to improve muscular endurance, balance, and coordination in these muscles.
RECRUITS YOUR CORE MUSCLES
The move recruits the core or abdominal muscles for assistance. For this reason, it is also considered as a standing ab workout.
Engaging your core makes the move more effective by helping you maintain good balance. It can also help improve your posture while toning your abs.
MAKES YOU A BETTER RUNNER
As a type of high knees, this plyometric exercise improves your neuromuscular efficiency. This results in improved agility, acceleration, and overall speed.
Also, the move trains your body in a running pattern but in a more biomechanically right way at functional speed. So, if you consistently do the move then it will make you a better runner.
If you’re already a runner, your strides will become longer and improve your overall efficiency.
STEAM ENGINE EXERCISE ALTERNATIVES
STANDING SIDE CRUNCH
The standing side crunch is a great variation and addition to your workout routine. It not only focuses on your oblique muscles but also effectively tightens the entire side ab wall.
As a result, you will notice improved balance, and increased strength and stability. Also, the exercise burns more calories as compared to standard side crunches which are done on a mat.
ELBOW TO KNEE CRUNCH
The elbow-to-knee crunch is an ab training exercise that particularly works the obliques, and the lower abdominals.
Start by raising your upper body off of the ground and try to connect your left elbow and right knee. Hold at the top then lower your upper body slowly and with control, back to the starting position. Alternate with the right elbow and left knee then repeat the move.
SUPINE BICYCLE CRUNCH
The Supine Bicycle Crunch is a core strengthening exercise. Not only does it build the abdominal muscles but also controls the rotation of the torso.
For the move, you need to get into a supine position with your hands behind your head and fingers interlaced. Now, flex your hips, knees, and ankles at a 90-degree angle with your lower legs positioned parallel to the ground.
STEAM ENGINE EXERCISE MISTAKES TO AVOID
NOT ENGAGING YOUR CORE
Do not fail to engage your core throughout the move as you may lose stability. Contracting your ab muscles will ground you better as you go down and rise back up to the starting position.
RUSHING THE EXERCISE
Do not do the move too fast as the move will lose its effectiveness. Ensure that you pause at the top of the movement to squeeze your muscles before going back to the start position.
USING INCORRECT POSTURE
Do not fail to use the correct form for optimal results and prevent injury. Ensure that you do not lean too far forward or backward, maintain a good posture, upright back and twist torso toward knee.
The steam engine exercise can be used as a warm-up, cardio or strength training exercise. Also, it can be incorporated as part of a HIIT workout or aerobic exercise regimen.
Your overall fitness regimen can really benefit from this outstanding exercise. It will help improve your cardiovascular health, burn fats and calories, strengthen your core and lower-body muscles, and finally prepare your body for more complex activities.