The Only 4 Moves You Need for a Quick, Effective Ab Workout

calendar for the 5 Minutes of Movement challenge, showing how each day you'll do a new workout, including lower-body, mobility, upper-body, HIIT, mobility, core and walks
A strong core makes all movements easier.
Image Credit: Creative

Stay active and accountable during one of the busiest times of the year with 5-minute daily workouts.

While stronger, more sculpted abs are often at the top of many people's workout goals, they don't always take priority during actual sweat sessions.


But adding on even five minutes of core work to the end of your workout (or taking a five-minute ab break in the middle of your day) can make a significant difference in strengthening your core muscles and achieving that sought-after midsection.

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Try this four-move workout from New York–based trainer Noam Tamir, CSCS, owner and founder of TS Fitness NYC. He created this HIIT workout as part of our 5 Minutes of Movement Challenge to keep you active all month long.

If you're following along with the challenge, you can do this workout as part of the program. If you're not, you can perform this as a separate workout, warmup or finisher — whatever works with your fitness routine!

5-Minute Core Workout

‌‌Do:‌‌ 30 seconds of each of the following moves, then repeat the circuit for a total of 2 rounds.


  • Low plank
  • Alternating jackknife
  • Side plank with reach (left side)
  • Side plank with reach (right side)
  • Bicycle crunch

1. Low Plank

Time 30 Sec
Region Core
  1. Lie face down with your forearms on the floor and your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your feet flexed with the bottoms of your toes on the floor.
  2. Press into your forearms and rise up on your toes so that only your forearms and toes touch the floor. Your body should hover a few inches off the floor in a straight line from shoulders to feet.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds before lowering yourself to the floor.

Modifications and Variations

To modify, place your forearms on a raised surface like a step, chair, table or wall. You can also perform planks with arms straight, balancing on your hands instead of forearms.

2. Alternating Jackknife

Time 30 Sec
Region Core
  1. Lie flat on your back.
  2. Keeping your left leg on the ground, lift your right leg straight up toward the sky. At the same time, lift your shoulder blades off the ground and reach for your right foot with your left hand.
  3. Return to lying flat.
  4. Then, lift your left leg, reaching for it with your right arm.
  5. Return to lying flat.

Modifications and Variations

To modify this move, bend your knees as much as needed. Avoid using momentum to "throw" your upper body toward your leg.

To make this move harder, don't let your feet or your hands touch the floor in between reps.

3. Side Plank With Reach

Time 30 Sec
Region Core
  1. Lie on your left side with your left forearm on the ground, elbow directly under your shoulder. Your hips and feet should be stacked.
  2. Bracing your core, lift your hips off the floor so your body forms a straight line from head to toe.
  3. Keeping your torso stable, stretch your right arm overhead.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch to the other side for another 30 seconds.

Modifications and Variations

To modify, drop your bottom knee to the floor for additional support. You can also straighten your arm to balance on your hand instead of your forearm. Lastly, take out the overhead reach if needed.

4. Bicycle Crunch

Time 30 Sec
Region Core
  1. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your elbows out wide.
  2. Contract your lower abs to raise your head, shoulders and legs a few inches off the ground.
  3. Twist your torso and bend your left knee so that your right elbow crosses your body and reaches toward your left knee.
  4. Now switch and twist to the other side so that your left elbow reaches toward your bent right knee.
  5. Keep alternating sides without tucking your chin toward your chest.

Modifications and Variations

To modify, perform this move standing, lifting one knee at a time and twisting to meet the opposite elbow.

Follow Along With the Challenge

Use the calendar below to help you stay on track with the 5 Minutes of Movement Challenge. Do the workout listed, then check off each day as you complete it. (Get a printer-friendly version here.)


Image Credit: Creative



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