TikTok's Viral 'Ab Dance' Workout Seems Intense. Is It Actually Safe?

·5 min read
  • TikTok's viral "ab dance" routine has garnered millions of views and many reposts on the platform, promising quick results and an easy workout.

  • While dancing can be an effective way to get your heart pumping, this trend may cause you to seriously injure yourself if not done carefully and correctly.

  • Here's what a trainer says about dancing for fitness the right way.

Dancing is usually fun, effortless and spontaneous for most, so those on the hunt for an easy new fitness routine are surprised when they learn it can be a great way to get the heart pumping. But a new TikTok trend gone viral may dupe users into believing that a certain dance move can magically help you develop muscles and shed belly fat at the same time. The "ab dance" routine making its way around the platform isn't a silver bullet for weight management goals by any means — and may even end up leaving you hurt and discouraged.

Many users on the platform have posted videos of the routine by now using hashtags like #abs #dancing and #abdanceworkout. Our friends at Cosmopolitan note that the trend likely originated with user @Janny14906, who has attracted more than 3.5 million followers and shares a myriad of cardio-based movements. You can view the account's most popular ab dance posts here.

These clips and others have generated millions of likes demonstrating the abdominal and pelvic-based dance, which basically asks participants to tilt their pelvis back and forth rapidly. In the process, the workout "crunches" your abdomen as many times as you can manage in a period of 10 minutes, twice daily.

Stefani Sassos, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer within the Good Housekeeping Institute, explains that performing this pelvic movement repeatedly can put you at serious risk for injury, especially if you're using the wrong form.

"This particular move can cause significant lower back pain and injury if done improperly. It's essentially spot reduction," Sassos explains, adding that this overarching fitness trend has reared its ugly head elsewhere. "Hyper focusing on these small muscles while neglecting the rest of the body, as well as a comprehensive training program, only increases your risk for injury in the long run."

And while some may simply weave this form of exercise into their already existing abs routine, there's evidence that TikTok users can resort to this "ab dance" routine alone. NBC's Today highlighted one woman who had challenged herself for 30 days to do the ab dance routine for at least 20 minutes; she claims to have lost 18 pounds in that timeframe, without any other form of exercise (albeit while trying a new diet plan and other measures).

Editor's Note: Weight loss, health and body image are complex subjects — before deciding to go on a diet, we invite you to gain a broader perspective by reading our exploration into the hazards of diet culture.

Many of the most-watched "ab dance'" videos on TikTok contain subtitles like "Thin belly weight loss dance" and "Do this action with music to burn calories." But those interested in finding solutions to kickstart weight management shouldn't consider this dance routine alone effective. "When it comes to weight management, a well-balanced diet and adequate hydration are ultimately of the most importance," Sassos says.

It's unclear how many people have adopted the TikTok routine daily, but it's likely that doing this exercise without any other lifestyle changes or speaking with a healthcare provider first may only result in injury — even if that's just an emotional blow. Throwing words like "skinny" into the mix when discussing fitness is counterproductive, as adopting a workout routine has a lot more to do with holistic health than weight alone. "Good health has nothing to do with being 'skinny' and isn't just about eating one food, or doing one exercise alone," she adds.

If you're interested in dancing as a form of fitness, or have already tried this particular TikTok "ab dance" routine with zero results, don't be discouraged — dancing may be the easiest (or what fitness experts call "low impact") ways to get your heart pumping these days.

What's the correct way to dance while working out?

Sassos stresses dance routines that are curated by trained, certified professionals can challenge you without putting you at risk for injury. A really good dance routine is a fun, spontaneous way to get a full-body workout that develops your sense of coordination and balance, she adds. "Plus, it can provide both aerobic and anaerobic movements," or routines that are high intensity but short-lived.

If you're determined to incorporate a similar pelvic abdominal core into your existing routine, Sassos stresses the importance of training while maintaining a neutral spine — meaning, doing so off your feet. Rather than repeatedly crunching your abs in a dance-like way, try planks designed to target the same core abdominal muscles. Many other exercises can target the same muscles in question without putting yourself at risk of injury: "Even movements as simple as getting out of bed utilize your core muscles."

Whichever way you choose to incorporate dancing into your life, it's always best to start slow before attempting rigorous dance moves for extended periods of time. "As with any form of physical activity, it's important to ease into it and the routine, and focus on your form above all things," Sassos advises. "It can be easy with loud, energizing music to start moving more quickly and sacrifice form, so it's important to work on the basics before progressing."

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