After a long day of mothering, I lie in bed exhausted, scrolling my Tiktok FYP. It’s mostly fashion hauls and videos of strangers falling down captured via Ring cams, but peppered in also are #momworkouts — one-minute clips of women showing me how to flatten my mom tummy and get a quick, efficient workout despite the massive time-crunch that is parenthood. And while I typically scroll by, rolling my eyes a bit at the idea that TikTok could be the effective personal trainer that I so desperately need right now, today I am desperate. I feel sluggish and frustrated that I can’t manage to get myself moving. So I decide to give these TikTokers a whirl.
And so here I am, several workouts later with feedback on whether these particular TikTok trends are even worth a crap. Spoiler alert: It’s complicated.
You’ll see a lot of quick exercise videos that claim to target specific elements of your body on FitTok. So I decided to give several of the most featured ones a whirl, so you don’t have to.
Take, for example, First up, The Mombelly Workout. This three-exercise showcase was captioned “sexy abs” — a big promise! — and to be honest, it left a lot to be desired. Now, I could be wrong, but I felt very little burn after doing these, and so they just didn’t seem super effective to me. Maybe these exercises are meant to be more rehabilitative in nature, geared to restoring and re-strengthening belly-muscles post-baby, rather than delivering a six pack. But the caption DID promise “sexy abs” and so I’m evaluating the workout on those terms. Basically, doing these exercises certainly didn’t hurt — but nothing life-changing here.
Then there’s the No More Fupa Workout. We’re going to agree to ignore the start of this video, in which the video’s instructor points to the “fupa” she is targeting, which is in fact her six pack, and we are going to see it through, because this is a good one. (She also does it all while wearing Crocs, which feels both relatable and disarming.) Anyway, I did two rounds of 20 reps of each of these five exercises and they kicked my butt. And best of all, with no equipment needed and minimal space necessary, I could do all of these on my living room rug, with my curious 2-year-old next to (and sometimes on top of) me. Two weeks in, and my belly might just be looking a little tighter — and if soreness is any indicator, it’s working.
Then there were the whole body videos, like the Quick Full Body Workout.
Now, this one was the real deal! It gave me that “I just did a full, effective, worthwhile workout” feeling afterwards. While the previous workouts felt like a good little blast of something, this felt more legit. I did exactly what my #TiktokTrainer said and completed all of the circuits. The only change I made was substituting a dumbbell for the kettlebell, since that’s what I had on hand.
I will say this felt a little more advanced, with some of the moves like the kettle bell swings requiring proper form to avoid injury. This workout felt more geared toward the mom who has some prior strength training experience. (A beginner could always just Google or Youtube all the correct form instructions for each move prior to doing them — but that kind of defeats the purpose of “easy and convenient,” right?) I will definitely be keeping this workout in my circulation on the days that motivation strikes.
And finally, I tried the Beginner Full Body Mom Workout. Another great full-body, easy to follow, sweat producer. This required no advanced moves, but still packed a punch. As long as I minimized rest between moves and rounds, this series left me feeling accomplished. I did make the jumping jacks low-impact, as my wonderfully awesome and attractive #rectocele (a type of prolapse, in my case caused by pushing out four big-headed babies in seven years) makes jumping and other high-impact movements very uncomfortable and typically ends in me peeing my pants.
Other than that, I kept this workout the way it was, and loved the combination of exercises used. I will keep this one in the rotation for sure.
Overall, I am not sure TikTok is the place for my #mommyworkout needs. The quick targeted exercise videos are fine, but you’d need to string many of them together to get a full workout in and at that point convenience feels a bit out the window. The full body circuits are good, but I think YouTube is overall a better option, where the longer videos can carry you through the full experience, rather than rattling off the exercises and then leaving you to do them on your own. Personally, I think I will gravitate to other platforms for fitness, and leave TikTok to what I feel it does best — fashion, some humor, and a quick food recipe or two. But I can’t promise I won’t continue trying all the trends – it’s pretty fun after all.
Samm is an ex-lawyer and mom of four who swears a lot. Find her on Instagram @sammbdavidson.