There are so many ways to work your abs, but sometimes, you just don’t have time for a long, complicated routine. The good news? You can get in a solid abs blast in fewer than 5 minutes. The key is keeping your muscles under constant tension the entire time.
Your abdominals are endurance muscles in terms of strength. Because your abs help you maintain good posture and help with pretty much every movement you do, it makes sense that these muscles have good endurance.
In order to work them to the point of fatigue—”where you feel that burning sensation in your abdomen that indicates they’re getting tired and change is happening”—your best bet is to stay in the work zone. It’s that place where you feel like you need to take a quick rest after each rep.
Especially for a short, 4-minute blast, keeping the muscles contracted the entire time will give you the best results. Slow down, but try to stay in it and embrace the burn. It helps to also put your mind into it—think about what you’re doing and focus on keeping the abs contracted, and give it all you have both mentally and physically.
Here’s the workout:
- Forearm Plank/Oblique Knees/Plank Jacks — 30 to 45 seconds
The 4-Minute Abs Blast
- Alternating Knee to Chest — 5 reps
- Extended Leg Pulses — 10 reps
- Leg Lifts/Hip Tips/Crunches — 15 reps
- Knee Pulses — 10 reps
- Bicycle Crunches — 20 reps
Do moves two through six all on one side. When you finish, repeat them on the opposite side. Stokes also suggests adding a few reps at the end for a “bonus burn,” if you’re feeling good and have an extra minute or two to spare.
Related article: 6 Standing Abs Exercises For A Sexy Six-Pack And Slender Body Sculpt
Here’s how to do it:
Forearm Plank/Oblique Knees/Plank Jacks — 30 to 45 seconds
- Start in forearm plank
- Bring your right knee to your right elbow, and then back to start. Repeat on the left side.
- Do one plank jack (on elbows) by jumping your feet out and in (like a jumping jack).
- Keep your core engaged and hips stable to minimise how much your butt bounces up and down.
- Alternate between oblique knees and plank jacks for 30 to 45 seconds.
Alternating Knee to Chest — 5 reps
- Lie on your back and extend one leg out a few inches off the ground. Hold the opposite knee into your chest.
- Switch legs, bringing your nose to the knee that is in toward your chest each time.
- Keep your lower back down, head lifted off the ground, and abs engaged.
- Alternate for five reps.
Related article: 6 Exercises for Lower Abs That Will Set Your Core on Fire
Extended Leg Pulses — 10 reps
- Bring your right knee to your chest and extend the right leg to the ceiling (perpendicular to the floor). Keep your left leg extended and off the floor about 3 to 5 inches.
- Interlace your fingertips behind your right knee.
- Using your abdominals, not your hands, pulse your upper body up 3 to 5 inches. Make sure your low back stays planted firmly on the floor.
- Pulse for 10 reps.
Related article: A Curvaceous Core Workout for Flat Abs in Only 4 Simple Moves
Leg Lifts/Hip Tips/Crunches — 15 reps
- Bring your hands behind your head and raise your right leg toward the ceiling.
- Lift your left leg to tap the back of your right leg. Keep your low back planted firmly to the ground.
- Once your left leg is touching the right, crunch your upper body and slightly lift your hips.
- Lower the left leg back to start position and “half release” the crunch—that is, lower down about halfway—so you are never completely releasing the upper or lower body.
- Continue this sequence for 15 reps.
- On the last rep, keep your left leg behind the right and zone in by performing just the hip tip and crunch 15 times, with both legs remaining straight in the air. Keep this movement small and controlled.
Related article: The Fat Burning Abs Workout For A Fabulous Toned Tummy
Bicycle Crunches — 20 reps
- Without putting your leg down or releasing your abs, immediately start doing bicycle crunches.
- Think about extending your leg long, not kicking, and keep the pace under control so you can fully rotate your core.
- Do 20 reps (10 to each side), alternating sides.
After this, go back and repeat the entire sequence on the left side.