7-minute ab workout
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It Takes More Than Crunches to Build Your Abs—Try This 7-Minute Ab Workout Instead

Training your abs (and working out in general) can often seem like a chore. When you have 50 things to get done in a day, spending one hour or more at the gym may feel like a waste of time.

But there are many ways to consolidate your workouts so that you can get more out of them. For instance, by performing high-intensity interval training (HIIT), you will get much more bang for your buck from your workout (1). However, HIIT workouts are not for the faint of heart. These workouts force you to work near your maximum intensity for a period, then allow you to work at a lower intensity for a period. You continue in this pattern for the full workout.

Also, you might consider incorporating circuit training as well. Circuit training consists of performing one exercise after another in succession (2). You can do this with time intervals, rep ranges, or in a variety of other ways. 

Both HIIT training and circuit training are great ways to save time while still getting a killer workout. For this reason, I have combined these two forms of exercise into one killer 7-minute ab routine.

You can perform this workout up to four times per week, but I recommend starting with 2 or 3 times per week. This way, you’ll prepare your body for more intense, time-restricted workouts without putting too much stress on your body. Then, in time, you can add a workout day, increase the interval times, or otherwise modify the routine if you’d like!

Without further ado, let’s take a look at your new time-saving ab routine!

Specifics About The 7-Minute Ab Workout

Specifics About The 7 Minute Ab Workout
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For this routine, you won’t need any equipment. This is a purely bodyweight-based program. Over time, you might consider adding some weights to a few of the moves to make them more difficult and to impose a greater demand on your muscles. But for the first few months, you’ll be just fine with bodyweight only.

The only pieces of equipment that might be beneficial are a stopwatch, a water bottle, and a mat to lie on.

Other than that, bring good energy and a positive attitude. You’ll do great!

I recommend that you perform each move for 20 seconds, with 15-second breaks in between. Move from one exercise to the next, completing each exercise 1 time and you’re done in under 7 minutes! 

1. High Knees

Some exercises on this list will combine plyometric movements with ab work. This helps to burn extra calories while also strengthening the abs, giving you more benefit per movement!

How to Perform

  • Start in standing.
  • Lift your right knee to your chest.
  • As quickly as you can, return your right leg to the ground and lift your left knee to your chest.
  • Continue to alternate in this manner for the duration of the interval. 

2. Jackknife

Jackknifes are a traditional, yet high-intensity, core exercise. This move will really get your abs burning.

How to Perform

  • Start by lying on your mat.
  • As you perform a crunch, simultaneously lift both of your legs off of the ground.
  • Return to the starting position and complete as many reps as you can in the time interval. 

3. Bridges

The bridge can be performed isotonically (with regular tempo) or isometrically (holding the contraction). I recommend performing this isometrically, but feel free to perform it any way you like!

How to Perform

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your hips off of the ground and squeeze your buttock muscles. 
  3. Hold this contraction for the duration of the interval.

4. Bicycle Ab Situps

While it’s not quite as easy as riding a bike, the bicycle ab exercise is very effective for core strengthening. 

How to Perform

  • Start on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Place your hands on your temples or across your chest.
  • Lift your shoulders off of the ground as you simultaneously lift your legs.
  • Tuck your right knee to your chest as you rotate your left elbow to meet it.
  • Perform the same move on the opposite side.
  • Continue to alternate in this manner throughout the interval.

5. High Knees with Hands Overhead

This exercise is the same as the first one, but with hands extended overhead. Perform this movement for the duration of the interval.

6. Reverse Situps

Situps require you to lift your shoulders off of the ground. The reverse situp is just the opposite but is equally effective.

How to Perform

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift your legs up in the air, bringing as much of your back off of the ground as you can at the same time. 

7. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers simulate a climbing motion but on the ground. This move is both a cardio and ab-strengthening exercise.

How to Perform

  • Start in a pushup position.
  • Bring your right knee to your chest then, as quickly as you can, return it to the starting position and bring the left knee to your chest.
  • Continue to alternate in this manner for the duration of the interval. 

8. Wipers

In your car, the wiper blades move back and forth in a constant motion. This is the movement to emulate during the wiper exercise.

How to Perform

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Kick your legs up to the ceiling with your knees straight.
  • Allow your legs to fall to the left, keeping both feet together and ensuring that your legs don’t lose the height they started with.
  • Move your legs over to the right in the same way.
  • Continue to alternate in this manner throughout the interval.

9. Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks are an old-school classic. This move has been a part of the gym class curriculum for generations, and it’s not going away anytime soon.

How to Perform

  • Start standing, with your feet about hip-width apart.
  • Jump your legs out to the sides as you simultaneously bring your hands up over your head.
  • As soon as your feet land, bring them back to the starting position, while also bringing your hands down by your sides.
  • Repeat in this alternating manner for the duration of the interval. 

10. Pike to Plank

Alternating between a pike and a plank gets tons of muscles working throughout your shoulders and core.

How to Perform

  • Start in a pushup position.
  • Next, pike your hips into the air and move your body backward.
  • Continue to alternate in this manner for the duration of the interval.

11. Cross Crunches

Adding a bit of rotation to your crunch brings your obliques into the game. This makes for a much more effective exercise overall.

How to Perform

  • Start in a supine position, with your legs out straight.
  • Next, perform a crunch and elevate your legs as you simultaneously reach your right hand toward your left foot.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Continue in this pattern for the duration of the interval.

12. Boat Pose

As always, it’s a good idea to mix in some isometric exercises with your plyometric and isotonic work. This move comes from yoga origins and is very effective for both strengthening and mobility.

How to Perform

  • Start by lying down on your back.
  • Lift your legs off of the ground as you simultaneously lift your shoulders up.
  • Hold this position for the duration of the interval. 

Conclusion

It really doesn’t take much time to get a great workout. Using principles from interval training and circuit training, you can maximize your efficiency and get a great workout with very little time commitment. 

If you’ve got big fitness goals, but are short on time, give this routine a try and see how you feel!

Works Cited

  1. Atakan MM, Li Y, Koşar ŞN, Turnagöl HH, Yan X. Evidence-Based Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training on Exercise Capacity and Health: A Review with Historical Perspective. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jul 5;18(13):7201. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18137201. PMID: 34281138; PMCID: PMC8294064.
  2. Ramos-Campo DJ, Andreu Caravaca L, Martínez-Rodríguez A, Rubio-Arias JÁ. Effects of Resistance Circuit-Based Training on Body Composition, Strength and Cardiorespiratory Fitness: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Biology (Basel). 2021 Apr 28;10(5):377. doi: 10.3390/biology10050377. PMID: 33924785; PMCID: PMC8145598.

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