This 5-Minute Japanese Towel Exercise Will Give You Flat Abs

September 7, 2018

Let’s face it: sit-ups can be rough – your abs will burn, your neck will strain, and your hips will start to get sore. Truth: A toned abdomen takes a lot of hard work (or a lot of cash, if you can consider the Emsculpt route); and even after a fierce set of crunches, you’re not destined to get washboard abs, those coveted six-packs are based on just as much genetics as they are the amount of work you put in. So when someone tells you about a new quick-fix toned core like a “flat stomach” hack that includes just lying down – it’s smart to be extra skeptical.

This is the case with the recent viral video posted by TikTok user @tiabagha that promises flat abs. The steps in this video go like this. Lie on the floor with a rolled up towel on your lower back (just behind your belly button) and extend your arms and legs away from your body. Point your toes inward until they touch, and bring your pinkies together so that your palms face the floor. Lie there for 5 minutes, once a day for 10 days – that’s it.

Since the video was first posted, it has received over 2.8 million likes and thousands of comments, and has even gotten some attention from fitness influencer and Blogilates creator Cassey Ho – but not in a good way.” I’m so sick of the spread of fake fitness messages,” Ho wrote in an Instagram post she shared on Wednesday, showing off her performance move to prove the towel trick is “the latest trend that needs to be squashed.”

Ho went on to explain the origins of the move, which was actually invented by Dr. Toshiki Fukutsudzi, a Japanese expert in reflexology and massage. According to Ho, Fukutsudzi came up with the stretch to help relieve lower back pain and anchor your spine, but he also claims that the move can help you lose weight by correcting the position of your pelvis – the last part of which Ho says isn’t true.

“If all you had to do to get abs was lie down, we’d all be getting six-pack abs by taking naps,” Ho says, “If you’re really on a journey to build abs, you have to put in a lot of work – and even if they are, a bucket belly isn’t necessarily in your genes because all bodies are different.” I’m really telling you right now, there are no shortcuts.” She said.

New York City-based personal trainer Mallory Creveling, ACE-CPT, agrees, explaining that while the move doesn’t have to be bad for you, it won’t whip you into shape like it claims to.” While the towel technique may be good for body alignment (it may help counteract the anterior pelvic tuck position), I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t do much for weight loss,” she says.” It’s just not a quick technique.”

That said, towels really should have a place in your core workout – just not in a viral TikTok-sharing way.” Towels can be a great tool for increasing core strength,” she explains.” You can use it for things like body saws, knee flips and pik lifts.” Using a towel can also help enhance your post-workout stretching routine and help you go deeper when you’re struggling with flexibility.

Overall, as much as we’d love to lay on the floor for a few minutes a day instead of sweating it out at the gym, if that’s your goal, toned abs are going to be a little more than that. If you need a place to start, you can check out this 10-move core workout or this fun, at-home boxing workout. But fair warning. You’re going to move and sweat.