When it comes to ab workouts, you don’t need to spend hours in the gym to really work your core, as Pamela Reif and her plethora of 10-minute ab workouts prove. Far more than just an aesthetic goal, strong abdominal muscles can help you run faster, lift heavier, and sit with a better posture.
If you’re new to Pamela Reif, the German fitness influencer has racked up more than 9 million followers on YouTube for her simple, easy-to-follow workouts. With killer soundtracks, no talking, and perfect form, Reif makes working out from just about anywhere that little bit easier.
I’m no stranger to Reif’s ab workouts — they got me through lockdown, and I’ve written about a few of my favorite routines for Tom’s Guide (read why I rate her 6-minute ab workout with over 21 million views, and her 10-minute killer six-pack workout here).
But what would happen if I tried doing a Pamela Reif ab workout everyday for a week? To find out more, I unrolled my exercise mat, grabbed a set of the best adjustable dumbbells, and scoured YouTube for seven of her top ab workouts. Read on to find out what happened.
I did Pamela Reif’s ab workouts for seven days — here’s what happened
Of course, it’s not recommended to work your abs, or any muscle group for that matter, every day of the week. Your muscles need a chance to recover and repair to build and grow. For the sake of this experiment, I did seven days of Pamela Reif classes to see what the effect would be on my abdominal muscles.
It’s worth noting that if you’re a beginner or returning to exercise following injury or pregnancy, it’s worth checking with your doctor or a personal trainer before doing an ab challenge such as this one. Ready to find out what happened? Read on.
For day one of this challenge, I repeated Reif’s classic six-minute six-pack workout, because I was short on time, and I had vague recollections of it burning my mid section a year ago. Nothing has changed — this workout is still a killer and works your core super hard from the get-go. Like most of the workouts Reif records, you do one exercise for sixty seconds with no breaks. At the end of day one, my abs were burning.
For day two of the challenge, I grabbed a set of the best ankle weights and tried this 10-minute lower ab extreme workout. I soon realized that Reif wasn’t adding weights to all of the exercises in the workouts, as she was using a dumbbell, but rather than keep pausing the video to take the ankle weights on and off, I decided to power through. My abs were burning within the first 30 seconds, maybe from the weights, but more likely from yesterday's workout.
For a 10-minute workout, this left my core shaking at my desk afterward, but also had an unwanted side effect of an ache in my hips. This is likely to be from the addition of ankle weights and improper form. For this reason, if you suffer from hip issues, or you’re new to ab workouts, I’d recommend skipping the weights for this workout.
As I’ve mentioned in workout write ups before, I suffer from sciatica, so I have to be careful when working my abs to ensure I keep my lower back pressed into the mat, to avoid putting any pressure on my spine. After the ankle weights workout, I opted for this 10-minute ab workout from Reif, which promised to be gentle on my back and neck.
I enjoyed this one, with lots of ab holds to really torch my ab muscles, while still keeping my back pressed against the mat. My abdominal muscles were aching by the end of the workout, and I was really questioning my decision to do Reif’s workouts for seven days.
On day four, I could feel my core aching on my five mile run, but in the name of good journalism, I persevered with the challenge, grabbing a 7kg dumbbell and trying this abs circuit when I got back. Again, it didn’t take long for my core to hurt, but I enjoyed the circuit-style workout, repeating the same killer exercises multiple times, with breaks in between.
This one really blasted my abs, and I spent a while in child’s pose at the end of the workout, questioning my career choices.
Another day, another ten-minute ab workout with Pamela Reif. On day five, I opted for this bodyweight circuit, which followed Reif’s usual form of 30 seconds on each exercise with no breaks. This one lulled me into a false sense of security with crunches, but it didn’t take long to really work my core hard. The shake was real, and sitting at my desk a few hours later, I could feel a light shudder in my abs. Two days left.
For day six, I grabbed my 7kg dumbbell and went back in with this weighted ab workout. Again, this was one was tough, and mixed weighted exercises with bodyweight exercises for a 10-minute burn. The side planks in this one were torturous, and I found myself dropping to my knees after a few seconds.
On the final day of this torturous challenge, I opted for this lower abs 10-minute workout, made up of 20 exercises, all held for 30 seconds. By now, I’d gotten extremely familiar with Reif’s killer combos, and this one was no different, mixing ab holds with butterfly kicks and bear holds to really work my lower abs hard.
I did a week of Pamela Reif ab workouts — and I’m impressed by the results
What did I notice after a week of Pamela Reif ab workouts? Firstly, I don’t want to do a Pamela Reif workout for a long time, but secondly, my abs were definitely popping and a lot more visible than they were at the start of the week.
Of course, visible abs aren’t just a product of ab workouts, and are, in fact, purely based on your body fat percentage — here’s how to calculate your body fat percentage, and why it matters. That said, I definitely noticed more definition in my core after a week of workouts with Pamela.
These workouts really challenged me, but they also reminded me that I don’t have to spend hours strength training, or traveling to the gym to really get a good workout. I didn’t set foot in the gym, or spend any money on this challenge, and I’ll definitely be repeating some of the workouts in the future, but I’m looking forward to not working abs every day!