A 20-Minute Workout for Sculpted Abs, No Mountain Climbers Necessary

You don't need mountain climbers to get a good ab workout.
Image Credit: LaylaBird/E+/GettyImages

When it's time for an ab workout, do you automatically think of mountain climbers and groan a little? They're one of the most dreaded ab exercises, and while effective, they're not 100-percent necessary.

"Mountain climbers are one popular form of core development, however, there are tons of other exercises that can help you strengthen your abdominal muscles," Warren Kelly, performance coach, mobility specialist and owner of East Coast Strength and Performance, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

Here's a handy 20-minute ab workout you can do anywhere, courtesy of Kelly. And we promise, there isn't a single mountain climber!

Check out more of our20-minute workouts here— we’ve got something for everyone.

1. Plank With Alternating Arm Lift

1. Plank With Alternating Arm Lift
Image Credit: Warren Kelly/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 3
Time 40 Sec
Region Core
  1. Start in a forearm plank with your elbows under your shoulders and your legs extended behind you. Create tension in your glutes and brace your core.
  2. While maintaining a neutral spine, slowly extend your right arm horizontally in front of you.
  3. Return to the forearm plank before repeat the movement with your left arm.
  4. Perform this move for 40 seconds total. Rest for 20 seconds, then repeat for 3 sets total.

2. Feet-Elevated Side Plank

2. Feet-Elevated Side Plank
Image Credit: Warren Kelly/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 3
Time 30 Sec
Region Core
  1. Elevate your feet 6 to 16 inches off the floor on a bench, step or chair.
  2. Press up into a side plank. Stack your elbow under your shoulder with the opposite hand extended overhead. Make sure your hips are stacked over one another and are in line with your feet and head.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side. Repeat for 3 sets total.

3. Reverse Crunch

3. Reverse Crunch
Image Credit: Warren Kelly/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 3
Time 40 Sec
Region Core
  1. Like on your back with your knees bent and your arms directly overhead.
  2. Grab a dumbbell or kettlebell for counterbalance. You can also use any other sturdy object to stabilize yourself.
  3. While bracing your core, peel off one segment of your spine at a time, starting at your lower back.
  4. Once your knees come in contact with your elbows, slowly lower one segment of your spine at a time in the opposite direction until you’ve returned to the starting position.
  5. Do this for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds. Repeat for a total of 3 sets.

Tip

The greatest benefit of this exercise is that it targets the lower portion of your abdominals and promotes a healthy spine, Kelly says.

4. Body Saw

4. Body Saw
Image Credit: Warren Kelly/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 3
Time 40 Sec
Region Core
  1. Start in a forearm plank with your feet on a slider or slide board.
  2. While maintaining neutral spine and tension in your glutes, gradually slide your feet away from your arms. Only go as far as your strength and mobility allow.
  3. Gradually slide back until your shoulders extend beyond your elbows.
  4. Perform this exercise for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds. Repeat for a total of 3 sets.

Tip

If you don't have access to a slider or slide board, use a wood floor with socks or a towel.

5. Hollow Rock

5. Hollow Rock
Image Credit: Warren Kelly/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 3
Time 40 Sec
Region Core
  1. Beginning lying on your back with your arms and legs extended and your core braced.
  2. Lift your arms and legs several inches off the floor until you're in a banana shape.
  3. Seesaw in this position, rocking back and forth with minimal movement from the hips and shoulders.
  4. Perform this exercise for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds. Repeat for a total of 3 sets.

Tip

"Executing a proper hollow rock will increase midline control, which has ample carryover into movements such as push-ups, pull-ups, etc.," Kelly says.

6. Plank to Side Plank

6. Plank to Side Plank
Image Credit: Warren Kelly/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 3
Time 40 Sec
Region Core
  1. Start in a forearm plank.
  2. Rotate to your right side with your elbow stacked under your shoulder. End in a side plank with your left arm extended toward the ceiling.
  3. Return back to a forearm plank.
  4. Turn to the left side for a side plank in the opposite direction.
  5. Return once more to a forearm plank and continue alternating for 40 seconds.
  6. Rest for 20 seconds before repeating for 3 total sets.

Tip

"Ensure you maintain a neutral spine throughout each movement, as this will keep tension in your core," Kelly says.