My favorite abdominal workouts are the ones that end quickly. To get more bang for my buck, I almost always use resistance (in the form of weights or resistance bands). I love body weight workouts, but in my experience adding resistance is the key to getting results. The efficiency gained by adding weights also means I can be done with my ab workout in 5-6 minutes, which is a-okay with me. With that said, always feel empowered to do the exercises without weights for the first few weeks.
Complete these quick-hit ab workouts 2-4 days per week, alternating between the routines each week. For example, do Routine A during weeks 1, 3, 5, etc. Do Routine B during weeks 2, 4, 6, etc.
For both workouts, complete one set of Exercise 1, followed by one set of Exercise 2. Repeat for a total of 3 full sets, trying not to rest in between.
5 Minute Abs – Routine A
Exercise 1: Weighted sit-ups – 20 reps
- Rest the weight against your chest to ensure you’re not using momentum to sit up
- The weight should be heavy enough that your last 2-3 reps in each set are challenging
Exercise 2: Side plank with weight – 30 seconds each side
- You can be on your forearm (shown above) or hand for the side plank – both are effective
- Lift your hips to create a straight line from the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet
- The weight should be heavy enough to make the last 5 seconds really challenging
5 Minute Abs – Routine B
Exercise 1: Weighted V-ups – 20 reps
- Holding one weight with both hands, lay on your back with your legs extended and arms over your head
- Engage your core to bring your arms and legs up simultaneously, forming a “V” shape with your body (touch your toes with the weight if you can)
- Slowly lower back to the starting position
Exercise 2: Side Bends – 15 reps each side
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, shoulders back and down, and length through your spine and neck (no hunching or arching your back)
- With a heavy weight in one hand, slowly bend towards the weighted side, concentrating on stretching through the obliques on the opposite side
- When bending to the right, think about pressing your weight into the left heel (and vice versa). This will provide stability and concentrate the work in the side of the torso
- When you’ve hit your maximum stretch to the side, engage your obliques to slowly pull your torso back to neutral, again without hunching or arching in the back
As always, listen to your body and your doctor when starting a new fitness program. I’m an enthusiast, but not a healthcare professional. Although running and exercising are TOTALLY AWESOME, they also come with risks. Be bold, but be smart!