TikTok is full of terrible fitness advice, from long-debunked myths spiced up with new sound clips, to misinformation on strength training, to diet tips masquerading as “gut health.” A recent study on the platform’s messaging found a concerning amount of inaccurate and diet-glorifying content on food and wellness. But there’s another side to the algorithm: There’s also a ton of good health and fitness content on TikTok, if you only know where to find it. So let’s take a look at some of the trends that are actually worth trying.
Shy girl workouts
Who among us wasn’t intimidated the first time we went to the gym? If you’re nervous about having to find available equipment, ask people to work in, and stand by the mirrors where everybody might be looking at you, TikTok’s “shy girl workouts” might be the perfect gateway. These are workouts that you can do in a quiet corner with a few dumbbells or other minimal equipment, like this one that includes goblet squats and Romanian deadlifts.
Should these be your entire workout forever? Probably not. But can they get you through your first few weeks in the gym, or even be your backup for days you’re not feeling up to your usual workout? Absolutely.
I’m not sure I fully understand why dead hangs are the latest TikTok trend, except that they’re usually filmed from the back so you can watch the creator’s butt as they dangle. Often accompanied by a caption about how it is “so satisfying,” a dead hang just means that you hang from a pullup bar without doing a pullup.
These are the first step in a traditional pullup progression: You practice dead hangs until you can do active hangs (with your shoulder blades engaged) and then begin working on negatives and other exercises. But the dead hangs are good all by themselves: They work on your grip strength and endurance, and they’re a great stretch for your shoulders. I actually do a few dead hangs before my weightlifting workouts, and it helps my shoulders get ready to hold a barbell overhead. But you can also just hang there and look pretty.
Incline treadmill walking
Incline treadmill walking went viral as the “12-3-30” workout (12% incline, 5 km per hour, 30 minutes). While those particular settings are not appropriate for most beginners, incline walking is an underrated alternative to jogging or running. Anything that gets you breathing a bit harder than at rest is considered moderate cardio, and if you don’t enjoy jogging, you might find this more enjoyable.
Planks are boring and hard. Dance moves, on the other hand, are fun, and even when they’re hard they’re more “challenging” than “gruelling.” Put the two together, and you get plank challenges like this one and this one. Follow along to your favourite, or make up your own.
Hot girl walks
The most amazing thing about TikTok, to me, is that literally anything can go viral if a hot girl does it. Behold: walking. The Hot Girl Walk is when you are a hot girl and you go for a walk.
It of course comes with all kinds of baggage, depending on which hot girl you follow. Some use it as a time to meditate on self improvement, or they’ll credit the walks with weight loss. Whatever. I prefer to think that we can take on any adjective and noun we like, and lean into that persona by simply walking a mile in its shoes. Now excuse me while I go on my Grumpy Old Lady Walk.
My son came home from fencing practice one day and showed me a little partner drill they had done in warmups. You sit back-to-back, and then try to stand up while leaning on each other. We gave it a try, and fell down laughing multiple times before we finally got it.
TikTok has endless variations on this theme, like this challenge where you and your partner raise one foot and then the other. Like the plank dances, they come in a variety of difficulty levels, from realistic partner workouts to acrobatic performances.
The 29 kg challenge
TikTok has discovered barbell complexes! In the “65-lb. challenge,” women use a 29 kg barbell to perform a deadlift, curl, row, clean, press, and back squat. (This requires some changes of grip along the way.)
Once you’ve tried this just for the challenge of it, consider working barbell complexes into your routine more often. (You can use the empty bar if you’re a beginner.) String together a combination of movements that are each pretty easy on their own, and you’ll find that they make a killer conditioning workout when you do a few cycles in a row without taking a break.
The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans
Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.