Sculpting sleek abs isn't just about the front-and-center six-pack muscles — it's about your entire core from chest and upper back to glutes and hip flexors. This workout hits all those muscles and everything in between.
Do: each move for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds. Repeat this 5-minute circuit twice (or as many times as you'd like with good form). You can also combine it with any of our other 10-minute workouts, including one for glutes, legs, arms and back.
1. Weighted Crunch
- Lie on your back with knees bent and pointed up to the ceiling. Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell above your chest.
- Using just the power of your abdominal muscles, lift your torso off the ground and sit up.
- Lower back down to the start slowly and with control.
In order to truly improve the strength of your core muscles, it’s important to incorporate this kind of resistance move. Be sure to move deliberately, focusing on the quality of contraction for each rep. Raise and lower your torso only using your abs — not your neck.
Read more: 21 Sit-Up Variations You Won't Totally Hate
2. Bird Dog
- Begin on all fours, hands under shoulders and knees under hips.
- Raise your right arm and left leg to parallel, using your core to stabilize you.
- Lower back down to the start.
- Repeat, this time raising your left arm and right leg to parallel.
- Lower back down and continue alternating sides.
During this exercise, brace your core strongly as if preparing to be punched in the stomach. This kind of contraction emphasizes proper function of the torso and is particularly important for this move.
3. Side Plank
- You can start out in a regular plank and then roll onto one side or start lying on your side and raise yourself up.
- Ensure that your body is in perfect alignment from shoulders to hips to ankles and that your hips are stacked on top of each other.
- Do a right-side plank on the first round and a left-side plank on the second round.
4. Bicycle Crunches
- Lie on your back with your hands behind your head.
- Bring your right elbow to your left knee. Aim to twist from your torso and shoulders without reaching with your elbows.
- Twist back to center before switching sides so that your left elbow meets your right knee.
- Continue alternating sides.
Before you begin your reps, brace your core strongly as if preparing to be punched in the stomach. This will cause the front of your body to hollow out into a contracted position. Hold this contracted position as you execute this move.
5. Boat Pose
- Start seated, then lean back into a V shape, with your arms out in front of you for balance.
- Make sure to keep your neck in alignment and take short, regular breaths.
- Draw inward through your torso and brace your abs as if preparing to be punched in the stomach.
Read more: 10 Yoga Poses to Strengthen Your Abs