When your goal is strong abs, you don't need to spend hours and hours doing mountain climbers, holding planks or crunching on a stability ball. The most efficient ab workouts are the ones that incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Cut your routine down to snack-size and strengthen your abs with this routine from Elise Joan, Beachbody trainer and creator of Barre Blend. It only takes 20 minutes, and you can modify it to fit any fitness level.
Joan designed this routine as part of our 30-Day Abs Challenge, but you can do this workout even if you're not participating in the rest of the month-long program.
Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we've got something for everyone.
Do: 30 to 45 seconds of each exercise, resting for 15 to 30 seconds before the next move. Repeat the entire circuit once more (or twice more for a 30-minute workout).
- Halo Squat: Step sideways into your squat, then bring your hands around your head like you're making a halo. If you have limited mobility, you can step out to the side instead of squatting or skip the halo.
- Shuffle Twist: Shuffle to the right twice, drop and twist to the right, then shuffle back and twist to the left. Continue alternating sides. Skip the twist if you have back issues.
- Twisting Skater: Leap side to side, letting your back foot swing behind you. Drop your opposite hand to your front foot as you twist. Step instead of leap for a lower-impact version.
- Triceps Step-Up: Lower from high plank to forearm plank one arm at a time, keeping your core (especially your hips) stable. Drop down to your knees if needed.
- Burpee: Modify by skipping the jump or by lowering to your knees for the push-up.
- Goddess Squat to Curtsy Lunge: Step out wide with your right leg and lower into a squat. As you return to center, bring your right leg behind you and lower into a curtsy lunge. Repeat on the left, then continue alternating sides. Only bend as low as your strength and mobility allow.
- In and Out: "Keep your knees slightly bent and your upper body as still as possible," Joan says.
- Crab Walk Shuffle: Crab walk four steps to the right, stand, then shuffle to the start and back, before repeating to the left. Trouble getting down to the floor? Skip the crab walk.
- Hip Circle With Side Kick: Keep your core engaged as you work on your hip mobility. Only kick as high as your strength and mobility allow.
- Core Jump: "Really try to get some height on these," Joan says, and land softly. Beginners can step or pulse instead of jumping.
Do: at least 30 seconds of each stretch to bring your heart rate back down and relax the muscles you just worked.
- Low Lunge With Twist: From standing, step your left foot back and lower into a lunge. Place your left hand on the floor and twist to the right. Repeat on the other side.
- Half-Kneeling Hamstring Stretch: Kneel on your left leg with your right leg straight in front of you. Lean forward gently to feel a stretch in the back of your right leg. Switch sides.
- Pyramid Pose: Keep your legs straight and only fold over your front leg as far as you can go for a comfortable stretch.
- Wide-Leg Forward Fold: Fold from the waist and reach for the floor.
Back to the 30-Day Abs Challenge