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I tried the Daisy Keech ab workout with over 9 million views — here’s what happened

Daisy Keech ab workout
(Image credit: Daisy Keech/YouTube)

I’ll start this article by saying I know I’m very late to the party with the Daisy Keech quarantine go-to clinch waist workout, which has already racked up over 9 million views on YouTube. Always keen to join a workout trend, (find out what happened when I tried the Bretman Rock ab workout, the 12-3-30 viral treadmill TikTok workout and the Pamela Reif six pack ab workout), I unrolled my mat and pressed play, and, wow. 

Core workouts are part of my weekly workout routine as a runner. And as an avid Pilates fan, I wasn’t too worried about this workout. I was wrong. Despite looking OK on paper, my lower abs were aching for a good few hours after this workout, and I definitely noticed them looking more defined the next day. 

Daisy Keech explains in her intro that the moves are designed to give you more of a “clinched waist than build your obliques outwards." By this, the YouTuber means that by working on the external oblique muscles, which are located along the side of the abdominals, you can get more of a squarer torso and if you’re hoping to make your waist smaller, you should target the abdominal muscles.

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. 

The exercises Keech has put together are designed to target the lower abdominal muscles; “a lot of ab routines tend to focus on your upper abs and your obliques, however, if you start to increase the blood flow into the lower abs, it’ll help you burn that stubborn belly fat” the fitness model explains. 

What is the Daisy Keech ab workout? 

On paper, the Daisy Keech 8-minute clinch-waist workout is as follows: 

1 minute of elevated crunches: Like a normal crunch, an elevated crunch involves keeping your legs and knees bent in a table top position. Engaging your core, crunch your upper torso up towards your knees, then lower back down to starting position. 

15 seconds rest 

1 minute of bent toe taps: This is a classic Pilates exercise that works the rectus abdominals and the traverse abdominals. Start with your legs in a table top 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 table top position. Reverse the move and repeat on the opposite side. 

15 seconds rest 

1 minute of reverse crunches: To do a reverse crunch, lie on your back and put your legs in a table top 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. 

15 seconds rest 

1 minute of bicycle kicks: 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. 

15 seconds rest 

1 minute of Russian twists: 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.

15 seconds rest 

30 seconds leg raises: Start lying on your back, making sure your lower back stays pressed into the floor. Keeping your legs straight and pressed together, lift them up towards the ceiling and lower them back down, never putting them fully back on the floor. Keech keeps the leg raises quite low to the ground to engage the lower abs. 

15 seconds rest 

30 seconds superwoman’s: To do the superman (or superwoman) exercise, lie on your stomach and extend your arms out in front of your head. Lift your arms and head and legs off the floor, as if you’re flying and hold. 

I know what you’re thinking, that doesn’t look that bad — there are not even any planks involved?! Read on to find out what happened when I put the workout to the test. 

I tried the Daisy Keech ab workout, here’s what happened

First things first, I loved how this workout didn’t require me to have any equipment — you can do this just about anywhere. Keech developed this workout routine during quarantine, so you don’t have to worry about having hand weights or access to a gym to feel the burn. 

Secondly, I liked how easy the exercises were on my spine. I suffer from sciatica after a horse-riding accident in my teens, so often find I have to modify workouts to ensure I’m not putting too much pressure on my lower back. The only exercise I had to tweak was the leg raises — instead of keeping my legs low as Keech does in the explainer video, I opted for higher leg raises to ensure my lower back stayed pressed against the floor. 

When it came to the workout itself, I was shocked at how much my core ached from the simple moves. I’ve done all of these exercises before, but I think the combination of the high reps and short rest time really worked my inner core. The Russian twists really fired up my core and by the superwoman’s at the end, I could feel my abs were engaged. Surprisingly, like a Pilates workout, it wasn’t until I’d rolled up my mat and sat back at my desk an hour later that I really felt the effects of the workout. My core felt like it had been through a hard workout, and I’d only done eight minutes of exercise. 

While there’s no quick-fix when it comes to building visible ab muscles (how visible your abs are is down to your body fat percentage, so no amount of bicycle kicks will give you abs overnight). But this quick, easy, zero-equipment workout will definitely be one I add to my weekly strength training routine.

Jane McGuire

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 four 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.