You might not realize it, but your abs are vital muscles that help you move well in tons of different scenarios. So doing an ab circuit as part of your regular workout routine as a way to strengthen those all-important muscles is always a workout win.
Contrary to popular belief, abdominal work does not have to take a long time to be effective. Case in point: This awesome abs workout that hits every part of your core takes less than 10 minutes.
“A lot of us are intimidated by abs and core exercises,” certified personal trainer Francine Delgado-Lugo, CPT, movement and strength coach and co-founder of Form Fitness Brooklyn, told SELF. That’s because there’s a common misconception that you need to do ab exercises every day – and for hundreds of reps each – in order to see results. With this mentality, “many of us just neglect [abs work] absolutely or we have negative associations with abdominal exercises,” says Delgado-Lugo. “It doesn’t have to be like that.”
In fact, doing abdominal exercises too could often interfere with your fitness goals. That’s because your abdominal muscles are like any other muscle group in your body: they need enough rest after a workout to repair and rebuild stronger, says Delgado-Lugo. If you don’t give your heart that crucial downtime, you can increase your risk of injury and decrease your chances of an effective workout.
With that in mind, Delgado-Lugo has created the following six-move abs workout that you can incorporate into your routine today. It’s packed with exercises that will challenge your abs, as well as the rest of your abdominal muscles, without overworking them. Your core includes your abs, of course, but it’s also home to a whole host of other muscles in your back, hips, buttocks and torso, and it’s important to work everything of them.
Together, your abdominal muscles help you perform many actions in everyday life, including stabilizing to resist a force (think: tying yourself up to keep your body upright when a dog lunges at your lap) as well as dynamic moves where your core is in motion (like twisting and turning to pick up a wriggling child). So if your goal is to have the strongest, most stable core possible, it’s important to do both anti-movement exercises (like planks) as well as dynamic exercises (like crunches and sit-ups). sat). The following routine checks both boxes with moves including plank to side plank, bird-dog crunch, Superman, and dead bug.
Do this ab circuit once or twice a week, either as a standalone workout or at the start of an upper-body or cardio-focused session, says Delgado-Lugo. Just be sure to do a warm-up first so your body is properly prepared – this five-move routine is designed to get you ready for any workout.
Ready to work your abs – and your entire core – with a quick yet effective bodyweight circuit? This way for everything you need to know!
What do you need: Just your body weight. You may also want an exercise mat for added comfort.
- Plank to side plank
- Dolphin Forearm Plank
- Bird-Dog Crunch
- dead bug
- Do each exercise for 10 repetitions, then move on to the next exercise without resting. (Of course, take breaks if your form starts to falter or you feel like you can’t catch your breath.) After all six exercises are completed, rest for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Complete two rounds in total, but for an added challenge more advanced users can shoot for three rounds.
Demonstration of the movements below are Amanda Wheeler (GIF 1), host of the cover the ground podcast; Cookie Janee (GIF 2), Background Investigator and Security Force Specialist in the Air Force Reserve; Gail Barranda Rivas (GIF 3, 5-6), a certified group fitness instructor, functional strength coach, Pilates and yoga instructor, and national and international fitness presenter; and Lanoa curry (GIF 4), a group fitness instructor in New York who teaches classes at Mile High Run Club and Crunch Gym.