A sixpack – the dream of every fitness enthusiast. Beautifully ripped abs are the goal of every beginner and even advanced athlete. For many people, this becomes the center point of all their training. And it’s understandable; beautiful abs immediately attract attention and show the default “fitness pro” image.
However, from the fitness point of view, abs are not the only target of the area. A strong core should be the end goal. It’s a vital structure of the human body that supports our health and safety. It keeps us upright and makes our movements strong.
Fortunately, most abs exercises that even beginners pick up also work the core muscle group. Thus, you get esthetics and functionality in one pack.
Speaking of a six-pack… people don’t even expect how easy it is to tone your abs. And, you can really build a nice outline for your abs, provided you have a low fat percentage. (Check the article on body composition to learn exactly that is.) The catch here lies in a proper diet as well. You can train abs for weeks, and they won’t be seen through the fat layer on your stomach. Thus, a six-pact is a complex issue of both fitness and a healthy diet.
And while you can pick up different diet tips from Ana’s articles (e.g., an exceptionally informative article on losing belly fat on keto), I’ll be covering the fitness part of your journey to steel abs.
What Are the Benefits of Strong Abs and Core?
By training your abs and core, you change your body not only visually but also functionally. The review study conducted in 2017 reviewed some of the most popular abdominal exercises and their importance on the “health of the body as a whole.”
A strong core keeps your surrounding muscles and organs under protection. That six-pack can sage you in certain circumstances.
Your core is the base of your upright support. Any movement you make relies on this group of muscles. Thus, the stronger the core, the faster you move and the more powerful your motions.
A strong core empowers your other fitness exercises, both upper and lower body-focused ones.
Studies have proven that regular core and abs training improves your balance, cardiovascular endurance, and strength. Check these two studies on how core strengthening affects physical performance by Angela E. Hibbs and by Tracy Morgan Handzel. The results are astonishing.
Plus, a clear benefit of strong abs lies in the visual aspects. Who doesn’t like toned abs? During the modern days of trending fitness, there is hardly a person who won’t compliment people on ripped abs and want them for themselves.
Can You Build Ab in 5 Minutes?
Well, in one 5-minute session – no. Unfortunately, we don’t have magic in our world. However, if you do regular 5-minute ab and core training sessions, you can reach outstanding results in several weeks!
Our core is engaged in many other full-body and compound exercises. It gets enough load even without training it separately. Moreover, you’ll hear a popular statement from many athletes – they rarely train abs in a specific, targeted way.
However, if you add ab workouts to your regular training, you increase the speed of visual results.
So, let’s do quick 5-minute ab workouts to reach that toned 6-pack!
Disclaimer: note that the following plans also target the core and are not meant to isolate abs only. This is a combination of the general core and more isolated abs-targeted exercises to strengthen the whole muscle group.
Best 5-Minute Abs Workouts
Beneath, you’ll find three offered abs and core workout plans for different fitness levels. If you are a beginner, give yourself plenty of rest during an initial couple of times. Also, feel free to scale up or down any of the plans. The possible scaling options include:
- adding or removing weights
- decreasing or increasing work and rest times
- removing rest periods whatsoever
- doing several rounds of a 5-minute workout
A regular 5-minute abs workout several times a week will bring you incredible results.
- Bicycle crunches (30 seconds, 15 seconds rest)
- Dead bug (30 seconds, 15 seconds rest)
- Toe taps (30 seconds, 15 seconds rest)
- Reverse crunches (30 seconds, 15 seconds rest)
- Cross crunches (30 seconds, 15 seconds rest)
- Mountain climbers (30 seconds, 15 seconds rest)
- Elbow plank (30 seconds)
This program focuses on short training periods and plenty of rest to increase the quality of each exercise. As you only start building your abs of steel, focus on the proper amplitude and form and work at your comfortable pace within the set time limits.
- Russian Twist weighted (40 seconds, 10 seconds rest)
- Knee Crunchies (40 seconds, 10 seconds rest)
- Hollow Hold (40 seconds, 10 seconds rest)
- Mountain Climbers (40 seconds, 10 seconds rest)
- Bear Crawls (40 seconds, 10 seconds rest)
- Side Plank Crunches (30 seconds on each side)
For the intermediate level, you’d want to add some weight and increase the difficulty of your exercises. Now, instead of simple plank hold, you should be able to move in them efficiently and build your abs even faster. This plan is meant to “hit” your core from different sides to create a nice silhouette.
- Ball Rollout (50 seconds, 10 seconds rest; alternately 60 seconds, no rest)
- Plank Step Ups (50 seconds, 10 seconds rest; alternately 60 seconds, no rest)
- Elbow Plank Jacks (50 seconds, 10 seconds rest; alternately 60 seconds, no rest)
- Weighted Crunchies (50 seconds, 10 seconds rest; alternately 60 seconds, no rest)
- Side Plank Crunches (50 seconds, 10 seconds rest; alternately 60 seconds, no rest)
Now, you’ve come to the level where no rest is needed. However, if you feel more comfortable with that short 10-second pause even to change your position without rush, feel free to leave it. We’ll start this workout by stretching your core a bit with ball rollouts (the way Frank Grillo does!) and continue to the challenging exercises.
Overall, abs and core are lucky enough to participate in the big chunk of other full body and more isolated exercises. They are kept in good form if you regularly train anyway. However, to give them a little boost towards those abs of steel that would bring you endless compliments, you can incorporate several 5-minute training sessions per week. The results will come relatively fast if you have the proper body composition to show them off.
Anyway, for health and strength purposes, you don’t need a visibly toned six-pack, you just have to ensure that your core is strong inside. But if you want a little aesthetic boose to your fitness confidence, why not?
- Lisboa de Serpa, Guilherme & Soares, Paula & Fontoura, Emanuele & Godinho, Welton Daniel & Godinho, Nogueira. (2017). Abdominal Exercises: A Review Study For Training Prescription.
- Hibbs, A.E., Thompson, K.G., French, D. et al. Optimizing Performance by Improving Core Stability and Core Strength. Sports Med 38, 995–1008 (2008). https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200838120-00004
- Tracy Morgan Handzel. Core Training for Improved Performance – (Volume 2 Number 6, NSCA’s Performance Training Journal, www.nsca-lift.org/perform)