You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get a decent ab workout. In fact, some of the best ab workouts out there involve intense bursts of hard work. Studies have shown that short bursts of high-intensity training can be more effective than 45 minutes of less strenuous exertion.
This is good news for me, a fitness editor who is often trying to cram workouts in between meetings and testing the best fitness trackers and running shoes on the market. I often look for a 10-minute ab workout I can do mid-afternoon to break up the monotony of sitting behind my desk, and to inject some movement into my day. So when I saw Krissy Cela’s 8-minute ab workout, I unrolled my exercise mat and got ready to blast my core. Read on to find out what happened.
I’ll caveat this article by saying what works for Krissy or me might not be right for you and your body. If you’re completely new to exercise, or you’re returning to exercise following an injury, you might want to check with a personal trainer to ensure you’re doing the moves correctly. Beginners might also need to reduce the amount of time they are doing each exercise for, or increase the rest time between exercises.
Looking for more ab workout inspiration? Here are seven of the best ab exercises to try right now, according to Chris Hemsworth’s PT, what happened when we did 50 oblique crunches every day for a week, and when we tried Lily James’ 600-rep ab workout.
What is Krissy Cela’s 8-minute ab workout?
Krissy Cela, a trainer and co-founder of workout app Evolve You shared this workout on her Instagram page, calling it a mid-week pick-me-up to add to the end of your next strength training session. Unlike Krissy, I didn’t tack this onto the end of a longer workout, as I’m currently rehabbing from a twisted ankle (don’t tell my doctor I’m still doing ab workouts).
All you need for the workout is an exercise mat, and a dumbbell — check out the best adjustable dumbbells for strength training at home here.
The workout is as follows:
Plank drags: 30 seconds on each side
To do plank drags, get into a side plank position, with your body weight on your elbow and your legs outstretched, hips stacked. If this is too difficult, lower your bottom knee to the ground. Hold the dumbbell in your top hand and twist it underneath your body, then lift it up to the ceiling, arm outstretched. After 30 seconds, switch to the other side.
20 seconds rest
Bear crawl drags: 40 seconds
To do bear crawl drags, get into a bear crawl position — start on all fours, with your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Engage your core, and lift your knees a few inches off the ground. Holding this position, grab and drag a dumbbell underneath your body to the opposite side — for example, grab the dumbbell with your left hand and drag it underneath your body to your left side, then repeat on the right.
20 seconds rest
Front hold in and outs: 40 seconds
For this exercise, start by sitting on your seat bones, holding a dumbbell in both hands. Lean back until you feel your core engage, then raise your legs off the ground and straighten your arms, holding the dumbbell out in front of you. Keeping your torso still, your abs engaged, and the dumbbell in your outstretched arms, extend one leg, then the other.
20 seconds rest
V-ups: 40 seconds
To do V-ups, start by lying on your back with your arms and legs outstretched. Hold a dumbell in your hands, and engaging your core, crunch your hands up to your toes by raising your arms and legs at the same time. Then lower both your arms and legs back down to the floor, pausing when they are a couple of inches off the ground. To make the move more intense, keep your head and neck raised for the entire 40 seconds, although if this is too much on your neck, lower it to the ground.
20 seconds rest
Repeat the entire circuit twice for the core workout.
A photo posted by on
I just tried Krissy Cela’s 8-minute workout — here’s what happened to my abs
As mentioned in my intro, I recently sprained my ankle, so have been told to keep my ankle elevated and avoid exercise while it heals. Unfortunately, I’m not very good at sitting still, so I unrolled my exercise mat and gave this one a go, as it didn’t involve putting too much weight through my legs.
For the plank drags, I modified the exercise on my injured side, lowering my left knee to the floor so I wasn’t balancing on my injured ankle, but even with the modification, I still felt the exercise in my obliques. As the entire workout was only 8-minutes long, I opted for a 5kg weight, but it was a long 30 seconds.
The bear crawl drags were equally as gross and really forced me to suck my stomach muscles into my spine in an attempt to stop my hips rocking as I moved. One thing I noticed quickly was that 20 seconds of rest is not a lot at all — this workout moves quickly, and keeps your heart rate elevated for the entire eight minutes.
The front hold in and outs and the V-ups really torched my core, and by the end of the first set, my abs hurt. For the V-ups, Krissy didn’t add a time to the Instagram caption, but as the previous exercises were 40-second intervals, I followed suit. Each of the four exercises is challenging, and there’s not a lot of downtime here.
Eight minutes later, I felt like I’d gotten a good core workout, and it turns out I’m not alone. One user in the comments wrote, “Somebody arrest Krissy. She always killing people with her ab workouts."
This ab workout was no walk in the park, but it’s a good reminder that workouts don’t have to be long or require tons of equipment to raise your heart rate and work your muscles hard. Who knows, perhaps my forced break from cardio will give me abs of steel if I carry on with workouts like this…
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.