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Twist and sit–knee bodyweight exercise

Master This Move: The Twist and Sit–Knee Bodyweight Exercise

Written by
July 19, 2018
Updated August 25, 2023


What Is The Twist and Sit Knee?

The twist and sit–knee trains scapular stability, rotation in the mid back (thoracic spine), and mobility in the hips. Most people have trouble turning their shoulders and/or hips without bending or extending their lower back, which can lead to injury. Learning to move in rotation while keeping spinal alignment creates greater stability throughout the body and reduces compressive forces on the vertebrae. Furthermore, the twist and sit helps you learn to move the hips while keeping the shoulders stable, and vice versa, which applies to sports and other activities where you have to turn on a dime.

How To Do The Twist and Sit–Knee

Step 1: Get on all fours on the floor. Place your hands in front of you, directly beneath your shoulders. Your knees should be directly beneath your hips.

Step 2: Press your hands into the floor, twisting them outward to activate your shoulder blades and upper back (you’ll feel tension and stability in these areas). Draw your shoulder blades back together and down—think “proud chest.”

Step 3: Pull your knees toward your hands, activating your hips. Your knees should rise off the floor so they’re one hand-width behind your arms. Now brace your core. Your body should form a straight line from the top of your head to your hips.

Step 4: Keep tension in your upper body by pushing into the floor, and twist your hips to the right while keeping your shoulders square to the floor.

Step 5: Turn as far as you can, allowing your right foot to pivot until it’s flat and your toes point straight ahead (perpendicular to where you started). Your right knee should point up to the ceiling. Allow the left ankle to hook behind your right heel as you turn. (Your left leg should end up perpendicular to where you started and just above the floor.)

Step 6: Let your hips stretch so your butt touches the floor (or close to it), while at the same time driving your right knee out. Don’t allow the knee to collapse back inward.

Step 7: Repeat the movement to the opposite side.

Muscles Worked in the Twist and Sit-Knee

– Chest
– Shoulders
– Upper back
– Triceps
– Core
– Hips
– Quads

Twist and Sit-Knee Benefits

– Increased thoracic (T-spine) mobility
– Greater scapular control (the ability to set your shoulder blades down and back, i.e. good posture)
– Improved hip mobility
– Core strength

How To Use The Twist and Sit–Knee

– Include the twist and sit in your warmup to prepare your T-spine, scapulae (shoulder blades), and hips to move and stabilize.

– Use it as part of a bodyweight cardio circuit or finisher. Try performing reps for 20 seconds and resting 10 seconds between rounds.

– Alternate rounds of the twist and sit with sets of conventional exercises. If you’re deadlifting, the twist and sit can help relieve pressure on your lower back between sets, reducing the risk of injury. On squats, it can help activate your hips so you’re better able to push your knees apart and squat more deeply.


If you have trouble keeping your hands on the floor when you twist, do the sit through–knee instead (raise one hand off the floor as you turn). It requires less mobility in your T spine.


When you’ve mastered the twist and sit–knee, try the twist and sit–leg. Extending the trailing leg as you twist increases the challenge.

Sample Workouts

See the twist and sit–knee in action HERE.

The twist and sit-knee (and its variations) also appears in the Onnit 6 Bodyweightprogram, a six-week transformation plan you can do in your home.

Sean Hyson
Sean Hyson is the Editor in Chief of Onnit. A Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (C.S.C.S.), he is the author of The Men's Health Encyclopedia of Muscle, and the e-book The Truth About Strength Training (
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