'Shy Girl' workouts are blowing up on TikTok and they're a godsend for any anxious gymgoers

Find the gym daunting? TikTok's 'Shy Girl' workout trend could be a real game-changer for you

A woman, wearing gym clothes, working out on a grey yoga mat/ in a pink and purple template
(Image credit: Getty Images/ jacoblund)

'Shy Girl' workouts are TikTok's latest fitness obsession—and they really could be real game-changers for anyone who finds the gym a bit (or very) daunting. But what do these introvert-friendly routines entail, exactly?

While TikTok is typically our go-to for the latest beauty and lifestyle trends—like the clean-girl and balletcore aesthetic—or where we get the low down on all the latest, weird and wonderful trends, like the 'boyfriend air' theory, it's also a great platform for gym inspo.

Whether you're after roundups of the best resistance bands and the best workout clothes or breakdowns of celebrity workouts—like Kendall Jenner's ab routine—TikTok is a treasure trove of workout-related intel.  

And now it seems, the app is even coming to the aid of the anxiously inclined—who want to frequent the gym but would prefer to fly under the radar unnoticed and avoid contact with anyone, before they scamper on home (*hard relate*). Enter, the 'Shy Girl' workout, TikTok's answer for those who find the gym intimidating—here's everything you need to know...

Why are 'Shy Girl' workouts on TikTok?

As the name suggests, Shy Girl workouts are designed with shy people in mind, who would prefer to keep a low profile in the gym. They enable anyone who is anxious about being in the gym, or those who are just starting out and aren't confident on the machines, to dip a toe in—while still smashing out a great workout!

Currently, videos baring the hashtag 'shygirlworkout' itself have collectively over 319.7 million views, with fitness-toker's sharing their interpretations of the routine, with easy-to-follow moves. See below...


♬ original sound - If The Shoe Fits

♬ original sound - haileyknox

♬ SNAP - High and Fast - Rosa Linn

From our TikTok scrolling, we've deduced that the most popular variation of Shy Girl workout is with a mat (or yoga mat) and dumbbell. Shy gym goers then find a quiet place—where they won't be disturbed—before putting on their over-ear headphones, blocking out the world and setting about to do reps of squats, bicep curls and planks.

Health and fitness expert Ashleigh Tosh, from Goal Getters by MuscleFood.com, says: "The shy girl workout trend is perfect for those who are new to the gym and find it intimidating to use the machines. The idea of the trend is to help people overcome ‘gym-timidation’ with simple exercises that can be done in a private corner with minor equipment."

Ashleigh adds that: "Starting off with these basic exercise routines helps people gradually build confidence in the gym until they’re ready to explore other areas and implement more equipment to their workouts."

Ashleigh notes that if you're a beginner, the best thing to do is book a session with a gym staffer or personal trainer, who can introduce you to all of the machines and advice you on your exercise technique, but acknowledges that this is not always possible, "that is why the shy girl workout trend comes in handy."

How to do a 'Shy Girl' workout

So, for anyone wanting to try out this low-profile workout during their next gym visit —how do we do a Shy Girl workout, exactly?

Well, Ashleigh says for starters, "All you need to do is grab yourself a mat and some dumbbells, find a quiet corner, put your headphones in and do four to five simple exercises for three reps." So, if you're new to weights, be sure to check out the best dumbbells for women.

She then recommends doing 3 sets of Goblet Squats, RDLs (the Romanian deadlift), Shoulder Presses, Rows, followed by Curls and Extensions, doing 10 to 12 reps of each.

Here's a list of moves to screenshot, if you want to try it out:

  • Goblet Squats (3 sets of 10-12 reps)
  • RDLs (3 sets of 10-12 reps)
  • Shoulder Press (3 sets of 10-12 reps)
  • Rows (3 sets of 10-12 reps)
  • Curls & Extensions (3 sets of 10-12 reps)
  • Bonus: throw in some push-up sets

One of the most popular shy girl workout videos on TikTok (which has over 700k likes), from user @nataleefitness, says to again, grab a mat and position yourself near the dumbells, grabbing a pair of the weight you're comfortable with.

Then, to smash out a 'full body workout,' she advises doing the following six exercises; three sets of static lunges, eight on each leg, followed by bicep curls, squats, shoulder presses, a plank and finishing off with a glute bridge.


♬ original sound - nataleebfitness

Here's a list of moves to screenshot, if you want to try it out:

  • Static lunges ( 3 sets of 8 reps on each leg)
  • Bicep curls (3 sets of 10 reps)
  • Shoulder presses (3 sets of 10 reps)
  • Plank (until as long as you can hold it, repeat 3 times)
  • Glute Bridges (3 sets of 10 reps)

So, if your shyness has been deterred from the gym, perhaps give this new workout trend a go—you can even practice your routine at home first before debuting it at the gym, that's the beauty of the shy girl workout, it's seriously versatile.

But remember this important PSA, from Ashleigh: "Even the most experienced gym-goers were probably feeling self-conscious at first and started off with more basic workout routines, building their confidence with time, consistency and knowledge. Also remember that no matter what your gym experience, you have just as much right to be there, taking up gym space, as a person who’s been training for years."

Naomi Jamieson
Lifestyle News Writer

Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team, where she covers everything from entertainment to fashion and beauty, as well as TikTok trends for Woman&Home, after previously writing for My Imperfect Life and GoodTo. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but lept into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing and earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ.

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.