8 Disturbing Fitness Trends That Keep Gaining Traction

From thigh gaps to ab cracks, people's ideas of what makes the “perfect” body are definitely getting a whole lot stranger.

There are plenty of people out there working to be fit, but their definition of “fit” might surprise you. As it turns out, people are striving for physiques that are unlike anything you've ever seen, and they're doing some bizarre things to get them.

It seems as though there's always some new trend floating around in the gym or on Instagram when it comes to fitness. There are some people who are usually up for trying just about anything to get the look they want, and there are just as many trends out there when it comes to looks themselves. However, while some of them might make you feel healthy and confident, they could be doing you more harm than good internally. Here are some of today's most common fitness and body trends that are so strange, they're almost a little disturbing.

Here are some of today's most common fitness and body trends that are so strange, they're almost a little disturbing.

Thigh Gaps

These days, it seems like many young women view the thigh gap as the mecca of physical perfection. For those who haven't heard of the trend, it’s pretty much just what the name saysbeing thin enough that, when you stand up, there is a clear gap between your thighs. As cool as some people may think it looks, unless your body is naturally built to have a gap, it's almost impossible to achieve one without being unhealthy.

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First of all, how your thighs sit in relation to one another is the biggest factor in having a thigh gap, and this is largely determined by your bone structureyou can burn all the fat you want, but you can't magically change the positioning of your hips. Speaking of fat loss, for the majority of people who don't have one naturally, achieving a thigh gap can really only be attained by bringing your body down to a dangerously-low level of fat, and also decreasing your muscle mass.

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Just remember that skinny doesn't always equal healthy, and your worth as a person isn't based on whether your thighs touch or not.

Sunburn Tattoos

The trend of using small stickers to create patterns on the skin has been a trend among tanning bed users for quite some time, but this takes it to a new level. People are now taking much larger stencils, applying sunscreen over them, and then peeling them off so that the unprotected areas of skin will burn, showing the pattern of the stencil. While it might seem like a cool idea, it's one that comes with some pretty dangerous consequences.

It is estimated that approximately 90 percent of all melanomas—the most dangerous form of skin cancer—are caused by exposure to UV light from the sun or tanning beds. Even by exposing just a small area of unprotected skin to the sun or UV lamps for a small period of time can increase your risk.

Keep your mom’s advice in your head the next time you go outside and wear sunscreenoh, and just get a spray tan.

Cracked Abs

Meet the ab crack, which is essentially the thigh gap for your abs. It's basically just a line that runs down the middle of your abdomen, and it's a byproduct of having a low percentage of body fat. Is it healthy though?

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To have clearly-defined abdominal muscles, most people need to sit around 6 percent body fat. While we'd never say that anyone with a six pack is unhealthyafter all, you can still nourish yourself well and be really leanyou'll have to go even further beyond this to get an ab crack. Oh, and developing one can also be due to genetics. The medical editor of Health, Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa, notes that "getting an ab crack is probably not a realistic or healthy goal for the average person." Most people will never be able to attain the look with even the cleanest diet and most intense workout regimen.

Most people will never be able to attain the look with even the cleanest diet and most intense workout regimen.

Protruding Ribs

One of the most desired traits among those with eating disorders is having protruding bones due to being so incredibly thin. Lately, one of the biggest trends in this area seems to be “rib cage bragging," which is exactly what it sounds like. People post photos to social media that show their rib cage visibly sticking out, with each and every bone clearly defined under the skin.

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You can guess by now where we’re going with this onewhile some people's rib cages may stick out more than others, having one so clearly defined can only be attained with an extremely low level of body fat.

Thankfully, this is one trend that seems to be on its way out, with many social media users publicly stating they're not buying into the hype. As one said, “‘Ribcage bragging’ is apparently a new trend? Only ribs you'll see of mine are the BBQ ribs on my plate.”

Waist Training

This trend was started in large part due to the Kardashian family, who frequently post pictures of themselves in Victorian-like corsets. The idea is that wearing them can actually force your midsection into the hourglass shape you want it to be, just from wearing a corset for an hour or so each day.

Surprisingly, they're not without benefitsthey can actually help with posture and back support when used correctly. However, people usually aren't using them for these reasons.

When worn for too long, waist trainers essentially push all of your internal organs together and it can lead to some weird side effects. If you ever get heartburn or indigestion, these restrictive devices will only make both worse. Not only that, but it's also pretty common for women to pass out while wearing them because they can't breathe properly.

The A4 Waist Challenge

Perhaps this challenge was inspired by the use of waist trainers? The A4 Waist Challenge, which has taken hold in China, encourages women to take photos of themselves with a picture of A4–size printer paper in front of their waists. Their goal in this images is to show that their waists are as wide or smaller than the piece of paper. If you've never worried about how wide your printer paper is, it's 8.27 inches.

Not only is the challenge a little ridiculous, it prompts many women to strive for a goal that's plain unattainable. Even with a low body fat percentage, your natural shape isn't something you can change. Do yourself a favor and turn the paper on its side or, better yet, don't compare your waist to paper at all.

Alien Yoga

This is one trend in the list that isn't necessarily harmful, but just a tad bit weird. Also known as “nauli,” alien yoga is a yoga move that is said to strengthen your core and detoxify your digestive system. To do it, you start by exhaling fully, pushing your stomach outwards as you do. Then, while you hold your breath, you pull your abdominal muscles up towards your chest and then move them from left to right.

To do it, you start by exhaling fully, pushing your stomach outwards as you do. Then, while you hold your breath, you pull your abdominal muscles up towards your chest and then move them from left to right.

So far, it seems like there aren't any real negatives about the practice, at least for the average healthy person. Though the move should always be done in the presence of an instructor, it isn't recommended at all for those who are pregnant and those who suffer from ulcers, hernias, and any sort of heart conditions.

The Belly Button Challenge

Originating in China, one of the strangest body-related challenges out there has to be this one. Apparently, if you're able to wrap your arm behind your back and around to your belly button, you're said to be at an ideal shape and weight. It doesn't seem like whoever created the challenge thought that maybe they were just flexible, and instead posted their photo to social media, inspiring many others to do the same.

While there's nothing dangerous about the pose itself, challenges like these only further the belief among women that only one body type is ideal, which is the real danger here.

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