You don't need weights to build a stronger core, just this 9-move bodyweight abs workout

 Man performing mountain climber exercises at home.
Credit: Prostock-Studio/Getty Images

If the idea of spending hours (and hours) in the gym completing sit-ups, crunches and planks leaves you sweating at the thought of it, then this six-minute ab workout will be a welcomed addition to your workout routine.

Thankfully, the ticket to building stronger abs doesn’t require you to carve out hours of free time in your day. And it doesn’t even involve stepping foot inside a gym to make use of the best gym machines for building abs.

Instead, you just need to find enough spare floor space to roll out one of the best yoga mats and set aside six minutes to help strengthen your core and give your metabolism a boost at the same time.

It’s all thanks to this quick and fiery six-minute workout, designed by ISSA-certified personal trainer, Jenna Collins of Jenna Collins Fitness.

So no matter whether you’re short on time, or just want to get your body moving (and reap the many rewards doing so can bring), this workout will help fire up your abs and hit multiple muscles all at once.

Ready to get going? Grab a water bottle so hydration is close by and let’s get training.

Watch Jenna Collins' 9-move abs workout

This quick session is designed as a high-intensity interval training workout (HIIT) and will see you complete nine exercises in total with no repeats included. As is the case with HIIT workouts, you’ll have a short burst of work, followed by a rest period.

In this example, you’ll tick off an exercise for 30 seconds, before enjoying a 10-second break — which is just enough time to catch your breath and prepare for the next move.

Be warned: in this workout, Collins has gone hard on the crunches. But she’s mixed it up with crunch alternatives to keep things interesting. There are the likes of reverse crunches, raised leg crunches and vertical leg crunches included.

Featuring two types of planks, including running planks and plank dips, Collins also uses a handful of compound exercises in this HIIT session to help you hit a few muscle groups in just one swift move.

And, while it’s pitched as an abs workout, some exercises in this intense session will work your whole body while getting your heart rate up, helping burn energy throughout the session and boost your metabolism.

She says: “This abs workout combines ab exercises that work your upper and lower abs as well as your obliques. When performing abs workouts it's important that you hit all areas of your abdominals.”

The benefits of HIIT workouts

Collins has marketed this workout video as a way to burn fat. And research, like this paper published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, has shown that cardio workouts like HIIT sessions can be effective at reducing body fat. However, it’s important to note that fat loss goes hand in hand with diet.

Plus, exercise has the power to go way beyond aesthetical goals. Of course, coupled together with a healthy diet and sustainable exercise plan, it can do that too. But let’s not forget that exercise can tap into pretty much every avenue of your health and wellbeing.

From reducing stress levels and boosting mood to reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and bettering overall quality of life. And, as one recent meta-study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh found, exercising three times a week can even help preserve your memory in late adulthood.

What is the most effective ab workout?

Everybody and everybody is different. So when it comes to the most effective ab workout, one size won’t fit all. Essentially the best, and therefore the most effective, ab workout is whatever ab exercises you enjoy doing.

For example, if you favor low-intensity workouts that target your abs with the likes of mountain climbers or toe taps, a Pilates workout that targets your abs could be your best bet.

If you’ve got a need for speed and love high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes, packed to the brim with sit-ups and crunches, then a core-crushing HIIT workout could be the most effective ab workout for you.

Alternatively, you might enjoy mixing your ab exercises up and doing a handful of both. But either way you look at it, building stronger abdominals takes time, consistency, and effort.

So the most effective ab workouts are going to be the exercises that you’ll happily weave into your workout regime. If you’re undecided on what workouts are your thing, you’ll find lots of inspiration in our guide to the best ab workouts.

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