Having strong abs and obliques goes beyond just the aesthetic benefits… these muscle groups also play a vital role in our overall mobility and functional movement.
A strong core helps improve posture, aid strength training, reduce back pain and support better stability and balance.
We’ve outlined a beginner-friendly, 5 minute ab workout below, that you can do multiple times a week to help improve your core strength and stability.
It doesn’t matter how busy you are, 5 minutes is all you need to see tangible improvements in your core strength, which can have a substantial impact on your overall health. You also don’t need any equipment, so there’s really no excuses for not giving it a go!
Quick 5 Minute Ab Workout at Home
|Plank Shoulder Taps||30 Seconds|
|Flutter Kicks||30 Seconds|
|Ab In and Outs||30 Seconds|
|Bird Dog||30 Seconds|
|Toe Touches||30 Seconds|
|Russian Twists||30 Seconds|
|Side Plank (Right)||30 Seconds|
|Side Plank (Left)||30 Seconds|
|Mountain Climbers||30 Seconds|
|Plank Up and Down||30 Seconds|
This quick 5 minute ab workout is designed for the home or gym, making it accessible for everyone.
You don’t need access to lots of equipment either, making it a great option when you’re traveling too.
The workout includes 10 exercises which means you’ll be doing each exercise for just 30 seconds. This means if you are struggling with any exercise, you don’t have long before you move on to the next one, which should keep motivation high.
This HIIT style workout makes it ideal for those looking for a quick ab workout they can do multiple times a week, as you won’t get bored because it includes so much variety. It also targets the abs (including the hard to reach transverse abdominis), obliques and overall core in a variety of ways.
Because this workout includes 10 exercises over a span of five minutes, it’s very fast paced and intense but it means you can be confident you’ve really engaged and activated your abs by the end of it.
If you struggle with any particular exercises you can skip those and increase the duration for another exercise so it still totals 5 minutes.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
Plank Shoulder Taps – 30 Seconds
The first exercise in this workout is plank shoulder taps. This is a variation to the traditional plank and makes the exercise even harder. As we’ve only got 5 minutes we want to really activate those abs and obliques quickly.
To do plank shoulder taps, get into a normal plank pose with your hands placed on the floor and arms straight. Keep your back nice and straight and avoid twisting your torso during the movement. Shifting the weight onto your right hand side, lift your left hand up to tap your right shoulder. Place your left hand back on the floor and now shift your weight your left hand side and lift your right hand up to tap your left shoulder before placing that back on the floor. Repeat this for 30 seconds.
By lifting your hands off the floor, your abs and core need to work even harder to create the stability to keep you from falling over. This is difficult so after a few repetitions if you need to just hold a regular plank pose to regain your focus then do that before continuing with the shoulder taps.
Flutter Kicks – 30 Seconds
Flutter kicks look like quite a simple movement but you’ll definitely feel your abs working hard. Alternating between your left and right foot, quickly lift your feet a few inches off the floor before lowering them down again. Even the foot that is not being raised should stay slightly above the ground which will force the core to work even harder.
If that is too difficult, you can place the foot that is not being lifted on the floor and you should find that slightly easier.
You should be able to do flutter kicks quite quickly once you’ve got the hang of things and it’ll be tough to do it for a full 30 seconds, so again, we’re really forcing the abs to work hard in such a short workout.
In and Outs – 30 Seconds
In and outs are another great ab exercise that will also get your legs and arms moving too. Similar to flutter kicks you’ll be laying on your back for this exercise. You’ll be bringing your arms and legs inwards and back outwards, keeping them slightly off the ground for the whole movement.
To do In and outs, lay on the floor with your arms extended above your head and your legs out in front of you. Bring your legs and arms inwards towards your core and as you do so, you’ll find your back lifts off the floor so you bundle your torso and legs together. From here, return your arms and legs to the starting position and repeat for repetitions.
This is a great way to target the lower abs as well as the upper abs in a quick workout.
Bird Dog – 30 Seconds
Bird dog is a popular yoga pose that is great for engaging and activating the abs as well as other muscle groups such as the glutes, hamstrings and shoulders.
To do the bird dog, get into the table top position, (quadruped position). With your hands and knees placed on the floor, lift your left arm and the right knee off the ground at the same time. Keep your arm straight and straighten your leg until they’re both parallel with your back. Hold for a moment before lowering them back to the floor and repeat with your right arm and left leg.
As you are lifting your hands and knees off the ground, your core is activated to create stability to ensure that you don’t fall over.
Use Bird Dog Rows for a Complete Upper Body Movement
To increase difficulty, try bird dog rows instead of regular bird dogs. This will activate the lats and arms too.
Toe Touches – 30 Seconds
Toe touches are another great exercise that will also test your hamstring flexibility, as well as your core strength. Lay on your back and lift your legs up straight in the air, hinging at the hips. Ideally, keep your legs straight but if you don’t have very flexible hamstrings and calves, you may find you need to bend your knees slightly to adopt this position. With your arms extended above your head, lift your back off the floor to try to touch your toes with your fingers. Once you tap your toes with your fingers, or as close as you can, lower your back down to the floor before repeating this movement.
(If you discover your hamstrings really are too tight for this exercise, we’d recommend looking into stretching straps and bands. These can be used to help stretch out tight hamstrings really effectively and are a popular Physical Therapy tool.
Russian Twists – 30 Seconds
Russian twists will really engage the obliques as well as the abs and help to create better rotational mobility in your torso. If you are a beginner you can sit on the floor with your knees bent and twist your torso from side to side. To increase the difficulty, lift your feet off the floor so that your core has to balance you as you twist from side to side.
If you want to add even more progression you can hold a weighted object such as a medicine ball, dumbbell or kettlebell.
Make sure you are rotating your torso by contracting your abs as opposed to just trying to move your shoulders. Similarly, this should be a controlled movement and you shouldn’t try to use momentum or rocking too aid the exercise.
Side Plank (Right) – 30 Seconds
Back to the planks, this time we’re going to hold a side plank for 30 seconds. We’ll hold it on the right hand side first and then the following exercise involves holding it on the left hand side, so we engage both obliques.
To do a side plank on the right hand side, lay with your right forearm and right ankle touching the floor. Lift your hips up off the floor so there is a triangle shape underneath your body on the floor.
Hold this for 30 seconds.
To increase difficulty, you can also lift your left leg up as well as reaching your left hand into the air too.
Side Plank (Left) – 30 Seconds
You’ll now want to do the side plank but on your left hand side. This involves exactly the same process but with your left forearm and ankle touching the floor.
Mountain Climbers – 30 Seconds
Mountain climbers are not only a great way to strengthen the abs but they are also a great way to burn calories too. Depending on how challenging you want to make it, you can do mountain climbers at varying intensities. The quicker you go, the harder it will be.
To do Mountain climbers, adopt the standard plank position with your hands placed on the floor. Lift your left foot off the floor and bring your left knee towards your right elbow before placing it back on the floor. Repeat this on the other side.
You could bring your knee towards the elbow of the same side but by bringing it to the opposite side you create a twisting motion in your torso which helps to engage the obliques as well as the abs.
Plank Up and Down – 30 Seconds
It’s back to another plank variation and this one is another difficult one. Plank up and downs involve moving from your elbows to your hands within the plank position. This creates instability meaning that your core and abs have to work harder and it also engages your shoulders and arms more.
This is another functional movement that carries a lot of similarities to everyday situations whereby you might need to lift yourself off the floor and have the strength and stability to hold your own bodyweight.
It will also give a burst of cardio into the workout.
What Makes a Good Quick Ab Workout?
A good quick ab workout is all about efficiency. We want to challenge and test the abs as much as we can, due to the limited time.
This means including a variety of exercises is better than just holding a plank for 5 minutes, for example. This is because different exercises can engage the ab and oblique muscles differently, by using different training approaches, such as isometric, concentric, and eccentric movements.
A 5 minute ab workout is also going to benefit from high intensity and really pushing hard for the whole duration.
Can You Train Abs Every Day?
Your abs will need rest, so you shouldn’t train them every day. However, it really depends on what your ab workout looks like and how intense you’re exercising.
You could definitely train abs using a quick workout multiple times a week, but you’ll want some rest days so the abs can recover and build back stronger.
Is 5 Minutes Ab Workout Enough for a 6 Pack?
Diet and body fat percentage play an integral role in the appearance of a 6 pack, so ab workouts alone would be unlikely to create a 6 pack, without an improvement in diet too.
Will 5 Minute Ab Workout Help Lose Weight?
Yes. Any exercise is better than none. To lose weight, you want a balanced fitness routine that includes ab exercises, as well as training other muscle groups. You’d also benefit from including both strength training and cardio.
How Should I Track My Workout?
You might find it useful to track your workouts, including just a quick 5 minute ab workout. This will help you visualize your progress and boost motivation. Apps like Alpha Progression are a popular way to log workouts and fitness routines.
What Are Some Wrist-Friendly Core Exercises?
If exercises like shoulder taps, bird dogs, and high planks cause discomfort in the wrists, there are alternative exercises that have a lower impact on the wrist joints. Our wrist-friendly workout includes lots of ideas to try. Exercises like dead bugs (and weighted dead bugs) that involve lying on your back, tend to be gentler on the wrists because you don’t need to support your bodyweight).