I tried the Daisy Keech hourglass workout with 10 million views — here's what happened

a photo of Daisy Keech doing bicycle crunches as part of her hourglass workout
(Image credit: YouTube/Daisy Keech)

If you’re looking for a free ab workout to add to your routine this week, I’ve found it — the Daisy Keech hourglass workout. Like her other workouts (find out what happened when I tried the Daisy Keech quarantine abs workout here), her hourglass workout is designed to cinch the waist and give you that hourglass body shape many women seek. It’s a ten-minute workout that requires no equipment and can be done from just about anywhere. Want to find out what happened when I put it to the test? Read on. 

First things first, this ab workout follows the format of many of Keech’s other free YouTube workouts — you perform nine exercises for a minute, without a break in between to really work into the abdominal muscles. 

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As Keech has mentioned in other videos, she doesn’t perform exercises that target the obliques, which are located along the side of the abdominals, as she says this gives the body a squarer torso. It’s important to caveat here that you shouldn’t avoid strengthening your oblique muscles — they’re important for anyone who practices sports that involve twisting from side to side, plus they can help you gain a stronger core. 

Another thing to note here — the music on this workout is hella annoying. It drops in and out, and I ended up stopping and restarting the workout a couple of times, assuming it was my internet connection or ancient laptop that was the problem. It wasn’t. My recommendation would be to follow along with the written instructions below, or watch the video on mute and have your own music playing for motivation. 

What is the Daisy Keech hourglass workout? 

If you’d rather follow the workout without YouTube playing, here are the exercises Keech does in her hourglass workout: 

Basic crunches - 1 minute 

First up, crunches. To do a crunch, start by lying on your back, with your lower back flat against the floor. Keech brings her legs up to a tabletop position for the crunches in her workout, with her legs crossed. With your hands on either side of your head, engage your abdominal muscles and crunch your torso up towards your knees. Return to starting position and repeat. 

Bicycle kicks - 1 minute 

To do a bicycle kick, lie on the floor with your back flat against the ground. Place your hands next to your head and raise your shoulders off the ground. Bend your knees and draw your legs up off the ground. Bring the right knee towards your chest as you straighten your left leg, as your right knee comes up, twist your body so your left elbow touches your right knee. Repeat on the other side and make sure your legs and shoulders remain off the ground for the entire exercise. 

Jack knives - 1 minute, 15 per side 

Start by lying on your back. This exercise is similar to a toe touch, but you lower your torso and extend your arms behind your head, keeping your neck off the ground, between each touch. Start by lying on your back. With your arms extended behind your head and your legs out straight a few inches off the floor, engage your abs to lift your arms and legs as if you are trying to touch your toes. Hold, then lower back down to the starting position. 

Russian twists - 1 minute 

To perform this exercise, sit on the floor with your knees bent. Keep your back straight, lean back, and draw your legs up off the ground. Twist to one side — as far as you can go without touching the ground — and then twist to the other side. Here's more on how to do Russian twists

Toe taps - 1 minute 

This is a classic Pilates exercise that works the rectus abdominals and the traverse abdominals. Start with your legs in a tabletop position. Engaging your core and keeping your knee bent, lower your right and tap your toe on the floor. Your left leg should stay in a tabletop position. Reverse the move and repeat on the opposite side. 

Bicycle crunches - 1 minute, 15 per side 

Similar to the bicycle kicks, lying on your back, bend one leg and rest the opposite foot against your knee, so your leg is at a 90-degree angle. Crunch the opposite elbow in to touch the bent knee. Complete 15 repetitions per side, or do 30-seconds on each side. Here's more on how to do bicycle crunches, and the variations to try.

Scissor kicks - 1 minute 

To do scissor kicks, raise your legs up to a 45-degree angle, keeping your lower back pressed flat against the floor. Engaging your core, kick your legs out to the side, switching which leg is on top.  

Reverse crunches - 1 minute 

To do a reverse crunch, lie on your back and put your legs in a tabletop position. Engage your core and breathe in to lift your hips off the floor and your legs back up over your chest. Breathe out as you lower back into your starting position. That's one rep. Find out which celeb also uses reverse crunches to torch her core

Butterfly kicks - 1 minute 

To do butterfly kicks, lie with your back pressed into the floor with your arms by your side. Raise your legs up to the ceiling, then lower them so that they are at a 45-degree angle from the ground. Kick your legs up and down as if you are swimming, keeping this movement small. 

I tried the Daisy Keech hourglass workout — here’s what happened 

To find out more, I unrolled my yoga mat (check out the best yoga mats here), and gave the workout a go. Here's what happened. 

This worked the deepest muscles in my core

Like Daisy Keech’s other workouts, this one was a killer and really worked my inner core. I loved the versatility of the workout, too — you can literally do this one from just about anywhere and Keech is just using a blanket on the grass rather than an exercise mat.

2. The exercises are gentle on the spine

The exercises themselves are also relatively easy on the spine. As mentioned in some of my other workout reviews, I suffer from sciatica after a horse-riding accident as a teenager, so I have to be careful during certain abdominal exercises not to put too much pressure on my spine. Aside from the butterfly kicks and scissors, which I perform with my legs higher to the ceiling to ensure my lower back stays pressed into the floor, I had no issue with this workout. 

3. I felt the workout in my core

Keech says in the workout description that you should do this exercise every day to see results, and she’s not wrong. After working this simple nine-minute workout into my routine a couple of times a week, I can definitely feel my abs more prominently, and my core has been on fire for the hour or so following my workout. 

How visible your abdominal muscles are is down to your body fat percentage, and no workout can fully ‘target’ your belly fat, but strengthening your core has a number of benefits other than just aesthetics. I find that adding regular ab workouts to my routine helps me focus on my abs more during cardio — I think about keeping my core engaged when I’m running, or on my spin bike, which definitely has a positive effect on my overall performance. 

4. But I'll definitely be working my obliques more in the future

Unlike Daisy Keech, I don't believe in just cutting out a muscle group, especially not one as important as your obliques. As a runner, strong obliques are important when it comes to your running posture and stability — the obliques help control pelvic rotation, so are definitely not one to skip. While Keech's ab workout is a good one to try, it's extremely limiting, as are a lot of her workouts, as it ignores the obliques completely. While I'll be using this one in the future, I'll definitely be mixing it up. 

Looking for more home workout gear? Check out the best adjustable dumbbells here, as well as the best ankle weights.

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.