You don’t need a cheesy ab roller or a million crunches to get the rock-hard core you want. What you need is a powerful ab routine that’s designed to raise your heart rate, blast calories and strengthen your six-pack.
This routine is a simple circuit. Each set of exercises is done as a pair — the first 20 seconds is a heart-rate boosting movement, followed by 40 seconds of a static or slower-moving ab exercise. Complete each pair of exercises consecutively, then perform the whole circuit two times through.
1. Half burpee to plank
- 20 seconds: Half burpee
- 40 seconds: Plank
Perform the half burpee by starting in a full plank — your body weight supported on your hands and your toes, your core tight and straight. In a single movement, hop your legs up toward your hands, landing with your knees bent. Immediately hop them back so you land in a full plank position. Continue as fast as you can with good form.
After 20 seconds, switch to a full plank hold, simply holding a static plank for 40 seconds. Lower your knees to the ground if you find your back sagging or your butt pointing up toward the sky.
2. Spider climbers to sit-ups
- 20 seconds: Spider climbers
- 40 seconds: Sit-ups
To perform a spider climber, start in a full plank position, then draw your left knee up and out laterally toward your left elbow. Return your left leg to start, repeating immediately on the right side. Continue alternating from side to side as fast as you can, even hopping your legs up and back if you’re able.
After 20 seconds, roll to your back and perform 40 seconds of full sit-ups. Avoid using momentum to throw yourself up and back, and don’t use your arms to pull your head forward.
3. Oblique twist to side plank left
- 20 seconds: Oblique twist
- 40 seconds: Side plank (left side)
From a seated position with your heels on the floor, your toes pointing upward, lean back slightly with your hands directly in front of you. Rotate your torso to the right, aiming to touch the ground on your right side without moving your arms, then rotate 180 degrees to the left. Continue rotating back and forth as fast as you can for 20 seconds.
Roll to your left side and press yourself up to a full side plank, balancing on your left palm and the outside of your left foot. Keep your torso tight, forming a straight line from heel to head.
4. Oblique twist to side plank right
- 20 seconds: Oblique twist
- 40 seconds: Side plank (right side)
Repeat the oblique twist/side plank series, but this time perform the side plank to the right side.
5. Skaters to bird-dog plank
- 20 seconds: Skaters
- 40 seconds: Bird-dog plank
Perform a skater hop as fast as you can for 20 seconds. Start in an athletic stance — your knees and hips slightly bent, your hands in front of your body. Hop laterally to your right by a foot or two and step your left leg behind your right foot as you reach toward your right foot with your left hand. After touching down, hop your left foot laterally to the opposite side, crossing your right foot behind your left as you reach toward your left foot with your right hand. Keep your core tight and controlled throughout the movement.
After 20 seconds, position yourself in a full plank, your core tight. In a controlled fashion, extend your right arm in front of you as you lift your left leg a few inches off the floor. Slowly return to start and repeat on the opposite side. Continue switching back and forth for 40 seconds. If this is too difficult, leave your legs on the ground and simply alternate sides as you extend your arms.