This 10-Minute Ab Workout Proves You Don't Have to Spend Forever Building a Strong Core
Long gone are the days of spending a full hour training your abs. To maximize time and efficiency, sometimes all you need is a 10-minute ab workout. Don’t believe us? This is the 10-minute ab workout Tone It Up’s Karena and Katrina swear by and this cardio core workout clocks in at about 10 minutes, too.
As for what *exactly* you’re working when you do an ab workout? That depends on your aim.
If you're looking for a tighter, stronger core, overall, you'll want to target the transversus abdominis, which are deep core-stabilizing muscles that run horizontally around your midsection and, when strong, help prevent back pain and injury during lots of weight lifting moves.
If visible "abs" are what you're after, it's usually two muscle groups at play: the rectus abdominis (RA) and the obliques. The RA are your "six-pack" abs (we work them through torso flexion—a traditional crunch or sit-ups or reverse crunches or leg raises). (BTW, it’s *really* freakin hard to sculpt a full six-pack.) You can activate the obliques when you practice torso flexion and rotation (read: bicycle crunches or Russian twists). These seven rotational moves will seriously sculpt your obliques, too.
Ab workouts (yes, even 10-minute ab workouts) provide serious benefits, too—and that’s true even if your six-pack isn’t visible. A strong core can prevent back pain, help your posture, and protect your spine from everything from carrying groceries to flipping tires (read: why core strength is so important).
That's why we asked YouTuber and trainer Kym Perfetto to come up with a quickie 10-minute ab workout that will toast your core and carve up your midsection. (Like Kym's style? Then you'll love her 5-minute ab workout you can tack onto any routine.)
How it works: Follow along with the video or cycle through the exercises below; do each one for 30 seconds and repeat twice through.
A. Lie faceup on the floor, lower back pressing into the ground, knees lifted over hips and legs at a 90-degree angle. Arms are extended overhead and press into a wall or couch behind head.
B. Keeping legs in the same position (forming 90-degree angles), lower right heel to tap the floor and return to starting position. Then lower left heel to tap the floor and return to starting position. Continue alternating.
A. Begin in a tabletop position on all fours.
B. Lift and extend right leg backwards while lifting and extending left arm straight forward, biceps next to ear.
C. Return to start, then repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Continue alternating.
A. Start in a high plank position.
B. Walk feet a few steps toward hands, piking body with hips toward ceiling.
C. Walk feet backwards to return to plank. Continue walking feet in and out.
Slow Mountain Climbers
A. Begin in high plank position.
B. Keeping core tight and butt down, drive right knee in toward chest, then return to starting position.
C. Drive left knee in toward chest, then return to starting position. Continue alternating.
A. Holding onto something behind head if necessary, lie faceup on the floor with legs extended directly over hips, heels toward ceiling.
B. Exhale and drive heels toward ceiling, lifting hips up a few inches. Slowly lower hips to return to starting position.
Reverse Crunches with a Twist
A. Holding onto something behind head if necessary, lie face-up on the floor with legs extended directly over hips, heels toward ceiling.
B. Exhale and drive heels toward ceiling, lifting hips up a few inches and twisting hips slightly to the right.
C. Slowly lower hips to return to start, then repeat twisting in the other direction. Continue alternating.
A. Lie faceup on the floor, hands behind head and elbows pointing out. Legs are in 90-degree angles with knees over hips.
B. Engage abs to lift shoulder blades off the floor and crunch knees toward chest, keeping knees at a 90-degree bend.
C. Slowly lower back to starting position.
A. Lie faceup on the floor, arms stretched overhead and legs extended.
B. Engage core to lift legs (in a 90-degree angle) and torso until sitting upright, balancing on tailbone. Hold for 1 second at the top.
C. Slowly lower back to starting position.
A. Balance on tailbone with palms flat on the floor directly behind hips, elbows pointing back and shins parallel to the floor.
B. Lean torso back and extend legs, then engage core to return to starting position.
A. Begin in a high plank position.
B. Kick right leg through to left side of body, tapping left hand off the floor.
C. Return to high plank, then repeat on the other side, kicking left leg through to right side of body and lifting right hand off the floor. Continue alternating.
A. Lie faceup on the floor with hands behind head and elbows pointing out.
B. Lift shoulder blades and straight legs a few inches off the floor. Drive right knee toward chest, twisting torso to touch left elbow to right knee.
C. Switch, extending right leg, driving left knee toward chest, and twisting torso to the left. Continue alternating.