5 Moves, 20 Minutes: The Ab Workout You Need to Try
Seeking a six-pack but short on time? You don’t have to spend an hour carving out your core to get the abs of your dreams. The abdominal wall is made up of three major muscle groups: the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and the obliques (internal and external). To get an effective workout in a short amount of time, you should focus on challenging all three areas through a series of exercises set up in a circuit to tone and tighten the abs. This ab-blasting workout involves just five moves and can be completed in 20 minutes.
How it works: Set a timer for five minutes and complete the first circuit as many times as you can. Repeat this process until you total 20 minutes. This should be about four circuits.
Full Sit-Ups (20 reps)
How to perform it: Lie flat on your back, knees bent, and press your heels into the floor. Pull your belly button toward the ground to engage your abdominal muscles. With a slow and controlled movement, lift your head up off the ground, followed by your shoulder blades and torso. Roll up until your chest almost reaches your thighs. Slowly lower your torso back down to the ground and then roll back into the starting position.
Repeat for 20 reps.
Weighted Bent-Leg Jackknives (15 reps)
How to perform it: Lie flat on your back firmly gripping a weight in both hands. Make sure that the weights are heavy enough to cause ample resistance but not so heavy that you strain to get up. Make sure that your elbows remain tucked in throughout the movement. Keeping your feet together, contract your abdominal muscles and bend your knees in toward your chest while simultaneously bringing the weights up toward your knees. Slowly lift your head, shoulder blades, and torso off the floor and contract your abs. Release the weights and let your legs out and lower back down to the ground.
Repeat for 15 reps.
Ab Bikes (40 reps, 20 on each side)
How to perform it: Start flat on your back with your abs engaged. Raise your head, place your hands behind your ears, and bend both knees so that they are 90 degrees to your hips. Bend your left leg in toward your chest while twisting so that your right elbow meets it in the middle and then switch sides. Repeat this movement, alternating each side until each side reaches 20 reps.
Repeat this 20 times on each side.
Russian Twists (30 reps)
How to perform it: Start by sitting on the ground, knees bent, feet on the floor, and lean slightly backward without rounding or curving your spine. Place your arms out straight in front of you, contract the abs, and twist slowly to the left. To get the full range of motion, your fingertips should be able to touch the ground on the left side when you twist. Inhale through your center and rotate to the right. This completes one rep. To make this exercise more challenging, you can hold either a medicine ball or a dumbbell in your hands as you twist. You can also elevate your feet off the floor to engage the core throughout the movement.
Repeat this 15 times on each side.
Toe Touches (20 reps)
How to perform it: You should start out flat on your back, legs raised straight up at a 90-degree angle. Bring your hands up toward your feet, slowly lifting your head, shoulder blades, and torso off of the floor, trying to touch your fingertips to your toes. Contract the abs and hold for three seconds before lowering the upper torso back down to the ground. The legs should remain up for the duration of the exercise.
Repeat this 20 times.
There you have it. A quick 20-minute workout that is sure to leave your core feeling sore and on its way to developing rock-hard abs. Feel free to mix up the order of the workout or challenge yourself by adding more repetitions.