By now the majority of us know that a lean, toned stomach or six pack abs takes a lot more than just a bunch of abdominal workouts.
The consistent combination of varying intensities of cardio, total body strength training, and a clean and healthy diet (check out our 4 Week Meal Plan), is key to losing the fat that resides over the ab muscles.
With that said, abs workouts – especially fast, focused and to the point ones like this one – are important for strengthening the core so that you have the strength and body integrity to do those super-effective HIIT cardio and strength training workouts (not to mention simple daily living activities), without injury. Adding this abs and obliques workout video into your rotation of other Fitness Blender workouts will help you further tone your stomach, as well as burn off a few extra calories.
None of the abs exercises in this routine are particularly difficult, which is why we do them for a full 50 seconds. This video is less about demanding, super challenging moves, and more about building endurance throughout your core – another very important aspect in avoiding injuries and strains that might otherwise sideline your exercise plans.
Many of these exercises have multiple different steps and require some coordination – don’t feel discouraged if it takes you a second to get the hang of a movement; mixing things up is part of the point here and it makes your body and your brain have to work harder. Flexibility is also a variable in this routine; press into each range of motion as far as you comfortably can, but never to the point of pain. Adding this routine onto your workout schedule 3-4 times a week will not only result in a more defined stomach, it will also help you increase your flexibility.
One last note; a lot of the exercises in this routine engage far more than just your core, which is a great thing! For many of these exercises, you will also feel your glutes, thighs, arms, chest, and shoulders – just to name a few of the secondary muscle groups involved – working.
We’ve got ten different exercises, and each one engages the core (abs, obliques, lower back) in a different way. We’ll do each exercise for 50 seconds, with just a quick ten second rest/transition time in between each. This way, our core muscles never get a chance to fully relax, and our abs and obliques workout is done quickly, meaning that there’s time for a little but of Fitness Blender cardio or strength training to accompany this workout – both of which are essential to losing belly fat.
Bicycle Crunch Leg Drops
Plank Tucks + Downward Dog Walk
Back Bow Toe Touches
Leg Pedals, alternating directions
Upward Facing Plank + Leg Lifts
2 Oblique Crunches + Bridge (arms up to further engage the core)
Single Leg Drops
Circle Crunches, alternating
First, a quick physiology lesson: Your rectus abdominis is really one, long muscle that includes both your “upper” and “lower” abs. So, there are no exercises that explicitly isolate either half individually (even though you may “feel the burn” more so in one area than another). Still, there are things you can do to really make that lower area pop, says Don Saladino, C.P.T., owner of Drive 495.
Number 1, diet is key: remember that training your core muscles alone simply isn’t enough—you need to have discipline in the kitchen, too. (Here are the best foods to expose your abs.)
Second, switching up your routine by shocking your core with new exercises will help eliminate your love handles and define those elusive sex-lines.
Last, work in exercises that attack your rectus abdominis and obliques simultaneously for good measure (that V-line is where these two muscles meet).
Here are 25 moves, curated by Men’s Fitness Training Director Sean Hyson, C.S.C.S., to add in to your routine.
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10-Minute Ab Workout You Can Do Anywhere
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Don’t let the title fool you. This ab workout is not the ultimate solution to ripped abs. It take serious effort in training as well as smart nutrition and a strong will to achieve the highly sought after “6 pack.”
However, many of us are busy, so any chance we have to knock out a training session in a hurry and go on with our day is a chance we want to take. This 10-minute routine will give your abs a solid workout and allow you to move on to other things.
The 10-Minute Ab Workout
Perform these four exercises in consecutive order without rest. After you complete the fourth exercise, rest for one minute and then start over. After four rounds, it will be the longest 10 minutes of your day, but it will also be the most productive. All you need is a floor and 600 seconds. Simple enough, right?
- Exercise 1 – Crunches for 20 reps. Make sure you squeeze your abs. Don’t just go back and forth without contracting your abs.
- Exercise 2 – Lying Leg Raises for 20 reps. When you raise your legs, lift your hips up at the top of the movement and squeeze your abs.
- Exercise 3 – Mountain Climbers for 20 steps per leg. Don’t simply move your legs back and forth. Focus on your midsection with each step.
- Exercise 4 – Plank for 20 seconds. As tired as you may be at this point, suck in your stomach and forcefully breathe out. You’ll feel it in your core.
- Rest – 1 minute.
Repeat the circuit three more times. You should finish all four rounds within 8 to 10 minutes. Whether you’re at home, work, the gym, or anywhere, if you have 10 minutes to burn, follow this program and your abs will burn too.
RELATED: The Ultimate Ab Workout for Athletes
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock
When you’re crunched for time, it’s easy to skip your core workout, especially if you haven’t made the connection between strong abdominal muscles and cycling performance. And while it may seem like the logical thing to do, focusing on legs and glutes, while neglecting your abs, will eventually catch up with you.
With that in mind, we asked physical therapist Kellen Scantlebury, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., of Fit Club NY to give us the lowdown on why training your midsection is so critical to your cycling success. “You can never have too much lower abdominal activation, especially when riding a bike,” says Scantlebury. “These all-important muscles work with the hip flexors to help generate power.”
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He also believes in performing abdominal exercises that mimic real-life activities, such as the movement pattern a cyclist makes when riding—like the side plank with hip and knee flexion.
That’s just one of the five moves in the 10-minute abs workout Scantlebury created to help you build core strength. Plus, you’ll get an even bigger bang for your buck, since all of the moves in the circuit will challenge other parts of your body, too. You’ll strengthen your glutes, chest, shoulders, and back while you fire up your core.
How to do it: For this routine, you are following a 1:1 work rest ratio. That means you’ll perform each move for 30 seconds, followed by a 30-second recovery period. This will take five minutes. Perform a second round for a10-minute core-crushing workout that will leave you drenched.
Start in a plank position. Raise your right foot off the floor, keep your leg straight. At the same time, raise your left arm off the floor and extend out in front of you. Squeeze your abs and glutes, and then slowly return your arm and leg to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side (left foot and right arm) with no rest between sides. Alternate for 30 seconds.
Scantlebury says you really have to generate good stability while performing this move, which makes it an advanced level core exercise. Make sure you aren’t arching your back as you’re lifting your legs, and try not to have too much wiggle from side to side.
Hollow Body Rocks
Lie on your back with your legs straight, knees together, and toes pointed forward. Extend your arms past your head. Tighten your core—think belly button to spine—while pressing your lower back into the floor. Move your hands and feet up, keep the legs and arms straight. Looking straight ahead, bring your chest and legs off the ground and rock forward and back without changing body position. Focus on pulling your belly button into your spine and maintaining that brace as your rock back and forth.
Side Plank With Hip and Knee Flexion (Left)
Start in a side plank position, with left forearm on the ground and left foot on its side and planted into the ground. Your body should be in a straight line. Put your right hand on your right hip. With your core tight, raise the top leg (right leg) and bend at the knee. Bring that leg forward and back, like a cycling motion. Make sure not to let the bottom hip drop. Keeping that area strong allows encourages glute activation.
Side Plank With Hip and Knee Flexion (Right)
Start in a side plank position, with right forearm on the ground, right foot on its side and planted into the ground. Your body should be in a straight line. Put your left hand on your left hip. With your core tight, raise the top leg (left leg) and bend at the knee. Bring that leg forward and back, like a cycling motion. Make sure not to let the bottom hip drop.
Lie face-up with your arms extended toward the ceiling. With knees bent at 90 degrees, keep your shoulders down and feet flexed. Engage your core and extend your right arm and left leg away from you. Your heel barely taps the floor. Return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side (left arm and right leg) and alternate for 30 seconds.
Sara Lindberg Sara Lindberg, B.S., M.Ed., is a freelance writer focusing on health and fitness.
Use this 10 Minute Abs Workout to focus on strengthening and toning your midsection. This workout can be used by itself or you can use it in addition to another routine to get some extra abdominal work. Though you only go through each exercise once, the 45 seconds straight for each move is more than enough to get a good burn.
Using this routine by itself:
If you are only doing this routine, we suggest doing it two to three times a day at random times throughout the day and do this daily set up three to four days out of the week. To get more muscle definition out of this workout, you also need to incorporate a reduced calorie diet and more physical activity to get rid of any excess fat content that may be covering your midsection.
Using this routine with other workouts:
If you are using this routine in conjunction with other workouts (we suggest doing it this way) then you don’t need to do it as often. On top of a regular workout program (2-4 days per week strength training plus 1-2 days per week 45-60 minutes cardio or 20-40 minutes HIIT; for example) then add this ab workout in on your cardio days and on two or all of your strength training days. On the cardio days you can do this ab routine before or after the cardio but on the strength training days try and do this routine at the opposite end of the day from your regular workout. This helps keep you from over stressing your core muscles, as well as increasing the number of calories burned in a day compared to doing both the strength and abs video at the same time.
Other free Fitness Blender workout videos to use with this abs workout:
- HIIT Cardio and Abs Workout – Insane At Home Fat Burner – Interval Cardio Training and Core
- 100 Rep Squat Challenge: Most Effective Squat Challenge Workout to Lift & Shape the Butt & Thighs
- 1000 Calorie Workout Video: 94 Minute Insane Bodyweight Workout Challenge – Attempt at Your Own Risk
- Tank Top Arms Workout – Best Upper Body Workout for Toned Arms, Shoulders & Upper Back
- Total Body Toning Strength and HIIT Cardio Workout – You vs You
For best results in belly fat loss, reaching a healthy bodyweight, and getting a lean, fit, healthy body check out Fitness Blender’s 8 Week Fat Loss Programs and Meal Plans
A female weighing 140 pounds would burn an estimated 70 calories in the 10 minute of this routine. A male of 185 pounds would burn roughly 86.
Printable Abs Workout – The following is a list of the exercises you are going to be doing and the muscles they target.
Flutter Kicks: Though this motion does not cause the abs to move through a range of motion, they do cause the abs to contract to stabilize the hips. Focus on keeping your back on the ground to fully engage the stomach.
Rotation Reach Crunch: This motion not only works the abdominals but also targets the obliques because of the shoulder rotation.
Pilates Side Hip Raise: This focuses on the obliques and outside thigh for the motion but also uses the lower back and abdominals for support and balance.
Russian Twist: Using the abdominals and lower back for support, this exercise focuses on the rotational motion through the obliques. If you want to make this exercise a bit more challenging, lift your feet up off of the ground and you will also more heavily engage the hip flexors and quads, as they are called on to help you keep your balance.
Toe Touch Crunch: This is a great abdominal isolating exercise for both the upper and lower abs. To make sure you are getting the most out of this exercise, don’t let your abs relax when you are at the bottom of the crunch motion (when your shoulders are closer to the ground).
Pilates Leg Pulls (facing up): These work your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. The hip flexor is also employed to complete the leg lifting motion and your quads are relied on for balance.
Pilates Leg Pulls (facing down): This facedown variation of the Pilates move also targets multiple major muscle groups, making it an excellent option for burning calories and toning up. You will feel this in your glutes, abdominals, lower back, hamstrings, deltoids, pecs, and quadriceps.
Pilates toe Taps: This is a simple move that is very effective at toning the abdominals and the front of the thighs. The constant tension in the abs makes this just slightly harder than it looks; be sure and keep your movements slow and controlled throughout the entire range of movement to keep it as effective as possible.
Knee Tuck Crunches: These are a great bodyweight exercise for abs that effectively engage the upper and lower abdominals simultaneously.
Remember that nutrition and eating habits are a huge part of having a flat stomach and defined ab muscles. Check out Fitness Blender Recipes for ideas on healthy meals.