The health and wellness industry is filled with quick-fixes and “genius” life hacks. While some of the new discoveries, like 7-minute HIIT workouts, actually lead to pretty amazing results, others, like guzzling a protein shake before a workout, have not been so pretty. The latest in exercise trends is the five-minute Japanese towel trick.
The Japanese “exercise” involves lying on the floor and placing a rolled-up towel under your lower back. In this position, extend your arms and legs away from your body, pointing your toes inward so that they touch. Then, you touch your pinky fingers together and place your palms on the floor. Next, you lay on the floor for five minutes. And next, you…get up because your exercise is complete. Supposedly, doing this exercise once per day for 10 days will give you the flat stomach of your dreams.
If it sounds too good to be true, in the world of health and wellness, it usually is. Experts recently weighed in on if this technique is effective for getting toned abs, and how it can actually help you.
How can the Japanese towel trick help you?
While fitness influencers on social media have picked up the trick for a quick (and incredibly easy) way to work on your abs, this move actually came from a Japanese chiropractor and reflexology and massage specialist, Dr. Toshiki Fukutsudzi, who came up with this stretch in order to help with lower back pain and overcoming bad posture by fixing your spinal alignment.
Fukutsudzi did also claim that this position could help you lose weight by correcting the placement of the pelvis, which experts have said is not true. While the trick could potentially counteract a problematic forward pelvic tuck posture, the other claims are not supported.
“While the towel trick might benefit body alignment, I’m sorry to say it wouldn’t do much for weight loss,” Mallory Creveling, ACE-CPT, a personal trainer based in New York City, recently told Health. “There’s just no quick trick for that.”
Used in other ways, a towel can also be an incredible replacement if you don’t have exercise equipment at home and help you up the intensity of your workout, which should help in your weight loss journey.
Will this towel trick actually help you get toned abs?
Cassey Ho, fitness influencer and founder of Blogilates, recently debunked this myth of an exercise in an Instagram post after another influencer boasted about it’s effectiveness in a viral TikTok video.
“I am so sick of fake fitness information going viral,” Ho said. “First it was the waist trainer, then skinny teas, then Apple Cider Vinegar, and now apparently you can lay on a towel and get toned abs in 10 days.”
As a certified fitness instructor, Ho wants people to know that unless you are genetically gifted with perfect abs, you are going to have to work for them.
“If all you had to do was lay down to get abs, we would all have six-packs by taking naps,” Ho said. “I am literally telling you right now that there is no shortcut. You need to exercise and eat healthy to burn that layer of fat that’s covering your abs.”
Jennifer Fabiano is an SEO reporter at Ladders.