This ‘Ab Dance’ Has Gone Viral on TikTok—But Experts Say it Could Be Dangerous
FYI: You cannot "spot-reduce" areas of your body, like this move claims.
If you've ever been to a Zumba class or attended a wedding, you know dancing is a great to get your lungs workings and your heart beating. So hearing a specific TikTok dance has gone viral for reportedly helping people lose weight probably isn't too much of a surprise. But the dance in question isn't some elaborate choreographed routine—and its "benefits" are vastly overstated.
The "dance"—which is really just the act of thrusting your hips back and forth, in a crunch-like motion, vigorously to the beat of the music—seems to have originated with TikTok user @janny14906, who's garnered over 3.8 million followers and more than 43.3 million likes from her videos. In some videos, @janny14906 is alone in front of a camera, in others she's leading a class of dancers behind her.
It's unclear what @janny14906's qualifications are that make her the right person to lead classes full of women (and millions of TikTok followers) on their exercise journeys, but people still seem to flock to her. User @janny14906 touts the benefits of her ab workout on screen during the videos—primarily tagging them as "weight loss dance" and "thin belly."
Various videos on TikTok show other users trying out her moves, like a series from Charlice Melody Drexler (aka @melofficial97 on TikTok). Drexler has posted numerous videos of herself doing the ab workout. "Great workout," she wrote in one of the captions. It's unclear how long Drexler has been doing these ab dance workouts, but her videos doing the dance date back to early April.
Does the TikTok ab dance really work—and should you try it?
Real talk: This is a big waste of time, and it could be dangerous.
"As a form of exercise, I'd rank it pretty low on my list," Doug Sklar, CPT, a personal trainer and founder of New York City-based fitness training studio PhilanthroFIT, tells Health. Albert Matheny, RD, CSCS, co-founder of SoHo Strength Lab and advisor to Promix Nutrition, agrees: "There is not really much going on here," he tells Health, noting that the move is not engaging your muscles in any significant way. "This is not very impactful on your muscles," he adds.
One overarching theme of this move is the idea that you can tone and train specific parts of the body, sidestepping others. This idea is called "spot reduction," says Sklar, and it "has been debunked ad nauseam." Overall, he says that the idea that any particular exercise can remove body fat from a specific area is bogus.
In fact, this move is probably not even going to work your abs much. "I would not consider this a strong movement for abdominal work," Sklar says. "This particular move appears to be more of a pelvic tilt without significant abdominal engagement."
How much you'd get in the way of results really depends on your current level of exercise. "If you currently exercise regularly at a moderate to high intensity, this isn't going to do very much for you," Sklar says. "If you are just coming off the couch or limited in mobility, there is always a benefit to moving safely." But, he adds, "I wouldn't expect any significant results from this move."
While Matheny says that this abs dance is "mainly just a waste of time," he points out that it can even lead to injury. "You could hurt or sprain your lower back if you are jerking your pelvis around," he says.
If you want to get stronger abs and lose weight, Sklar recommends doing compound movements (that is, exercises that work several groups of muscles at once) like deadlifts, pull-ups, and squats. To work your abs in particular, Matheny says that planks or "any exercise where your abs are bracing under some significant load" will help. "Muscle responds to appropriate stimulus by getting stronger which, if you are 'working,' your abs, that is what you are looking for," he says.
Overall, though, experts say that losing weight and getting firmer abs comes down to eating well and doing strength training—not moving your pelvis. "It's best to perform a comprehensive, full body strength-training program, complemented by healthy eating habits, to truly achieve fitness success," Sklar says.
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