Got Gym Anxiety? Try TikTok's "Shy Girl" Workout Trend

All you need is a mat and a corner.

Originally Published: 
Got gym anixety? Try FitTok's shy girl workout trend.
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Exercising in front of strangers can either be motivating or it can make your blood run cold. If you fall into the latter category and hate the very thought of being perceived at the gym, TikTok’s shy girl workout trend is for you.

There are over 408 million views for shy girl workouts on TikTok, which goes to show that gym anxiety — or the desire to keep a low profile when exercising — is very real. Click on one of these videos and you’ll see what looks like a regular workout... but whoever’s doing the workout is alone despite being in a gym. And that’s the point: The shy girl community on FitTok is all about folks who don’t want to parade past strangers or elbow their way up to the weight machines. Instead, they prefer to set up shop in a corner by themselves where they perform their exercises in solitude before skedaddling back home.

If this sounds like your ideal workout scenario, you’re definitely not alone. “It’s completely normal to feel nervous about going to the gym, especially when you’re new to working out or trying out a new location,” says Alayna Curry, an AFAA-certified fitness instructor. If you have gym anxiety, she says you might worry that others are judging you. Or maybe you feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of equipment at the gym, especially the machines you don’t know how to use. Whatever the reason behind your shyness, TikTok’s workout trend can certainly help you feel safe and secure while you get your sweat on.

Besides feeling more comfortable as you exercise, the idea behind carving out your private space at the gym is to help you build confidence over time. “As you get more comfortable with your body and what muscles certain exercises work, you may feel ready to explore more parts of the gym,” Curry tells Bustle. That’s when you might venture over to the rowing machine, try a few deadlifts with a barbell, or even take a group fitness class if it strikes your fancy. Read on for more intel on shy girl workouts so you can try them out for yourself.

What Are Shy Girl Workouts?

At its core, a shy girl workout is all about keeping to yourself in one part of the gym. “If you stay in one corner you’re less likely to encounter and engage with a ton of people,” Curry says, and that can come as a huge relief when your anxiety is running high. You could also bring a pair of headphones and pull on a hat for added incognito effect.

As for the workout itself? You can do anything you want, really, but shy girl workouts tend to keep things simple. “Focusing on the basics that can be done in one place — like core work, chest presses, rows, squats, and lunges — will build a solid foundation before you work with equipment at higher loads or try more dynamic moves,” says Alison Roessler, a strength and conditioning specialist. They also don’t take up much space or require much equipment, which is ideal when you’re nervous to walk to the weight rack.

Scroll through TikTok if you’re looking for some shy girl workout inspo. Or, grab a set of dumbbells, roll out a mat, and do this full-body routine from Curry. Do 10 reps of each exercise and repeat for three rounds in your little corner of the gym.

  • Narrow row
  • Reverse fly
  • Alternating hammer curls
  • Conventional curls to overhead press
  • Alternating forward lunges with a twist to the side
  • Romanian deadlift
  • Overhead extension
  • Kickbacks
  • Chest press with leg raise
  • Chest fly


Alayna Curry, AFAA-certified fitness instructor

Alison Roessler, strength and conditioning specialist

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