People are always on the look out for the next fitness trend to slim their midsection and get those enviable six-pack abs.
The latest craze? The "ab dance" making its rounds on TikTok.
The standing abdominal movement requires participants to tilt their pelvis forward and back, crunching the abs and swinging the arms back and forth at a fast pace.
It's unclear where the dance originated, but it's gaining steam on TikTok, with users posting videos of themselves doing the exercise and many claiming they are seeing weight loss and toning results.
Carline Marques Lauriano has documented her experience with the workout by posting a video a day to her TikTok page. She first came across the "ab dance" one month ago and she committed to doing it every single day for 20-30 minutes. She has lost 18 pounds in 30 days.
"I enjoy doing the dance because it is fun and easy ... you are having fun and losing weight at the same time,” Lauriano told TODAY Health. “I do 10 minutes in the morning, then 10 before bed; I do it during the day in between … You can literally do it whenever you want, you can be cooking or doing laundry, all you have to be doing is standing and make sure you move your abs.”
While the “ab dance” is the only form of exercise Marques has been doing since she gave birth three months ago, she is also eating a clean diet and drinking lots of water, she said. “It’s amazing, I couldn’t believe myself … when I look at my tummy I am so happy because now I get to wear dresses and do other things I haven’t been able to do since I had my baby,” she said.
Clearly it has worked for Lauriano. But do fitness experts agree that this is an effective workout? And more importantly, is it safe?
“This is actually an effective move to tone your core — but only if performed correctly!” Stephanie Mansour, certified personal trainer and weight-loss coach, told TODAY. “Essentially it's like a standing pelvic tilt, which engages your low abs and muscles of the low back in the forward motion, and releases them on the backwards motion. By tilting the pelvis forward and backwards, your core must kick on in order to control this movement.”
Dr. Dennis Cardone, osteopathic sports medicine specialist and chief of primary care sports medicine at NYU Langone Health, agreed that the "ab dance" can be a safe and effective exercise to perform. "It is low impact and it works the core and abdominal muscles," he told TODAY. But like all exercise programs there is the risk for injury when doing too much too soon, he added.
Poor form can also increase your risk of injury. “It is very easy to do this move incorrectly especially with the blaring beat of the music. It almost turns into a fast dance move, which wouldn't require core engagement,” said Mansour. “If done too quickly and out of control, this can put strain on the low back, specifically the lower lumbar spine.”
To avoid injury, Cardone recommended starting slowly and gradually increasing the duration and intensity of the “ab dance” — and to not perform it more than 3-4 days per week.
As with any exercise regimen, you should speak to your doctor before trying this workout.
If done correctly, can this move really result in a chiseled midsection? "Yes, the ab dance can help build the strength of the core and abdominal muscles," said Cardone. "The 'six-pack ab'? Well that is more about calorie restriction and low body fat, which in many cases can be unhealthy."
The right way to perform a pelvic tilt
If you want to give the move a try, Mansour suggested performing this exercise against the wall to start.
Stand about a foot away from the fall with your feet as wide as your hips. Rest your upper back against the wall, and allow your low back to have its natural arch (this would be the backwards motion in the TikTok video.) Then, pull your navel in towards your spine like you're zipping into a tight pair of pants, and gently press your low back into the wall behind you, tiling your pelvis forward. (This would be the pelvic thrust forward you see in the video.) Repeat this 10 times.
More standing ab exercises to try
Stand tall with both hands behind your head. Tilt the pelvis forward, and then perform a crunch just as you would as if you were lying on the ground, by squeezing your abs and crunching your chest towards your thighs. Be sure to keep your hands light on your head as to not pull your neck. Return to standing. Repeat 10 times.
This move is similar to the Pilates exercise performed while seated. Stand tall and press your hands together at your chest. Act like you're diving forward, rounding your back and pulling your low abs in towards your spine. Return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.