TikTok, the video sharing app, says one of its aims as a company is to help people share knowledge with the world. So it’s no surprise that the platform has become incredibly popular with people looking to find quick workout ideas and healthy eating inspiration – otherwise known as FitTok.
Given the app’s popularity with the younger generation, we were curious to uncover which workouts are getting the most views on TikTok. Will there be some unexpected surprises in which workout videos are most popular; does the youth of today fixate on a particular body part. And, if so, which one? Or are they more concerned with specific moves or equipment?
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We researched five different categories of workout videos to find out what the favourite workout videos are according to TikTok:
The most viewed workouts for a particular body part on TikTok are ab workouts. TikTok users are obsessed with getting a strong stomach, with over a billion combined views for videos hashtagged with #abworkout or #absworkout.
The next most popular muscle group to shape up is glutes, with over 680 million views on TikTok (#bootyworkout videos have collectively chalked up a staggering 93 million views.) Legs, back and chest are the next three most popular TikTok workouts.
Videos with the hashtag #strengthtraining have been viewed 2.5 billion time according to TikTok. It seems the biggest workout goal is to build strength (further evidenced by #powerlifting videos taking second place with 1.1 billion views) with other goals and motivations such as losing fat, doing cardio or working on general fitness appearing lower down the watch list.
The most popular workout move on Tiktok is the plank, with over 10 million views of videos that feature this. Videos with the #plankworkout hashtag include lots of ideas for plank variations, tips for perfecting technique and some fun plank stunts that involve performing planks whilst doing other activities, from pouring coffee to playing with pets!
Given that most of the world was in a lockdown for most of 2020, it’s unsurprising to see that videos tagged with #homeworkout have racked up more views than #gymworkouts – 6.6 billion according to TikTok. The favourite place in the home to workout on TikTik is the bedroom, with outdoor locations like the beach and the park taking the other top spots.
Our favourite type of workout equipment according to TikTok is NO equipment! The most viewed videos for this category are videos tagged with #noequipmentworkout or workouts tagged with ‘bodyweight’. This is where you build strength just by using the weight of your body and gravity, through resistance exercises like push-ups and jumping lunges. The most viewed workout that involved equipment is a #treadmillworkout followed by a #kettlebellworkout.
Although it’s fantastic that people around the world can use TikTok to inspire them to improve their fitness, it’s important to remember that exercising incorrectly can cause injury.
To analyse the quality of fitness advice on the video app, we asked qualified personal trainer Maiken Brustad to give her professional opinion on the workout recommendations being provided by fitness accounts on TikTok.
The personal trainer watched hours of TikTok videos of workouts, grading whether or not the advice and form was correct. And over one in five videos were highlighted as containing incorrect advice. 5% of video clips analysed were graded with the lowest score possible, which means they PT Maiken doesn’t recommend anyone follow the advice. Her comments included, “this is back injury central”, “Definitely not a video I would use” and “It’s a no from me”.
The analysis showed that the exercises executed incorrectly most were kettlebell swings – a move using kettlebells to work your core, shoulders, quads, hamstrings, glutes and back. Common issues with this movement are 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 this move, 80% had incorrect form.
Maiken doesn’t want this to put anyone off trying new exercises and getting fit, however she does want people to be aware that workout advice might not be from a fitness 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”.
The most popular diet videos people are looking at on TikTok are related to the Keto diet, which priorities foods high in fats but low in carbohydrates (especially refined carbs like sugar). TikToks tagged with #ketodiet show you how to make keto-friendly dishes, such as cheesy jalapeno bacon rolls, chorizo and cheese fritters or a cheesy cauliflower melt – it's a lot of cheese viewing!
The next most popular TikTok for diet inspiration (with over 378 million views) are videos that give tips on how to eat gluten free. As gluten is in flour, there are lots of gluten-free baking videos particularly for brownies, bread and cookies.
Videos that advise on intermittent fasting are the third most watched on TikTok, with 214 million views. Intermittent fasting is more about when you eat, rather than what you eat, and so is typically combined with other diets. The TikToks with this tag typically show users sharing their meal plans for the day or week.
Videos tagged with #plantbaseddiet have more views than #vegandiet videos. But interestingly ,#carnivorediet TikToks have also accumulated more views than #vegandietvideos – it seems TikTok users are more obsessed with watching a well-cooked piece of steak or chicken!
Military diet TikToks come 9. Rather than have anything to do with the rations the armed forces might eat, the military diet is based on a cycle of a strict three-day meal plan followed by four days off.TikTok users seem to love it with 15.6 million views.
Another popular diet trend seen on TikTok is #volumeeating, you eat a large amount of low calorie food. Videos with this tag include lots of stir-fries and salad bowls brimming with vegetables and meats, as well as big fruit salads and smoothies.
With so many people turning to TikTok for their workouts and healthy-eating advice, it’s unsurprising that many fitness influencers on the app have amassed millions of likes and followers.
Unlike other social media apps like Instagram, TikTok will actually pay their creators for the videos they post, depending on the number of views engagements they receive. This means that fitness influencers with some of the biggest followings are earning hundreds and even thousands of pounds for just one 15 or 60 second post.
We’ve analysed the top 20 fitness creators on TikTok and used an earnings calculator to discover the huge amount of money they could be earning per post. Taking the top spot as the highest earning fitness influencer on the app is Demi Bagby (@demibagby), a 20-year-old athlete from San Diego, USA. According to a TikTok earnings calculator, she could be paid over £10,000 per post.
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Top workout and diets lists were compiled by looking at related hashtags on TikTok and number of views.
Estimated earnings of fitness influencers were calculated using Influencer Marketing Hub’s TikTok earnings calculator.
All data correct as of Jan 2021.