Bad Form: One In Four TikTok Workouts Contain Incorrect Advice, Study Reveals -
  • Qualified personal trainer analysed hours of fitness advice shared on TikTok
  • 27% of videos contained incorrect advice and form and 5% were graded ‘awful’
  • The worst exercise was kettlebell swings, 80% of the advice and form viewed was incorrect

With gyms currently closed, the popularity of working out from home has unsurprisingly skyrocketed and many of us are turning to social media for quick and free fitness routines. The video-sharing app TikTok has become hugely popular in the past year and millions of people are using the app for their workout inspiration – in fact, there have been 27.6 billion views of videos with the hashtag ‘workout’ and it is known as ‘FitTok’. However with no checks being made on the fitness advice being given on TikTok, there is a risk that the routines and techniques being recommended are, at best, ineffective or, at worst, could cause injury. To investigate the quality of Workouts on TikTok, conducted a study that analysed hours of TikTok fitness videos to assess whether or not the advice being provided was correct. Professional personal trainer, Maiken Brustad, analysed hours of TikTok video footage across a range of Workouts and graded them based on the technique and form. Common mistakes that Maiken was looking out for included: elbows not placed under the shoulders during planks, landing on your toes when doing squat jumps, not keeping your chest high whilst lunging and bending your back during deadlifts, as well as lots of others. The findings revealed that over a quarter (27%) of TikTok Workouts contained influencers using poor or incorrect form, meaning the advice they were giving was not suitable to follow. Shockingly, 5% of videos viewed were given the lowest score possible by our personal trainer expert, with Maiken’s comments including, “this is back injury central”, “definitely not a video I would use” and “it’s a no from me”. The analysis showed that the exercise which was incorrectly executed the most was a kettlebell swing – a move using kettlebells to work your core, shoulders, quads, hamstrings, glutes and back. Common issues with this movement include not driving through the hips and only using arms, not locking your hips or squeezing the glutes enough in the top position, not packing the shoulders and leaning too far forward and not keeping the chest high. Of the videos watched which included kettlebell swings, 80% had incorrect form. Sometimes known as the ‘king of lifts’, deadlifts was another move that many influencers were performing incorrectly. This exercise is where you lift a barbell off the ground whilst standing to your hips and is very popular. Common mistakes made whilst performing this exercise include keeping the weights too far from your body, bending the back, not packing the shoulders and looking up. The research showed that 57% of these exercises on TikTok were done incorrectly. A huge 42% of renegade row moves, another weighted exercise where you’re in a plank and lifting a weight one hand at a time, were shown with incorrect form on TikTok. Bending the back, not keeping a straight plank, lacking controlled movements were all incidents spotted during the research.

Top 10 Exercises Performed Incorrectly:

  1. Kettlebell Swings – 80% incorrect
  2. Deadlifts - 57% incorrect
  3. Renegade row – 42% incorrect
  4. Plank - 37.5% incorrect
  5. Lunges- 37.5% incorrect
  6. Burpees – 33% incorrect
  7. Side plank - 28% incorrect
  8. Squats - 14% incorrect
  9. Leg raises - 13% incorrect
  10. Push-ups – 12% incorrect
Personal trainer Maiken doesn’t want this to put anyone off getting fit, but does want people to consider that not all advice they see on social media is good or from a qualified professional: “It’s amazing that people can use apps like TikTok to get inspired to get fit, but not using the correct form can lessen the impact of your workout or even cause you an injury. I’d recommend taking new exercises slowly and if you’re using weights, start out very light. If possible, research the person who’s made the workout and look for influencers with professional personal training backgrounds”.
To read the full FitTok report visit:
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