As a fitness editor, there’s nothing I love more than a 10-minute ab workout I can fit in between meetings. One trainer who is often my go-to is Pamela Reif — her workouts are tough from the get-go, and having done her ab workouts every day for a week, I know she gets results.
So when her latest ab workout dropped, aptly named “10-minute send my abs to heaven — killer sixpack workout volume 2”, I unrolled my yoga mat, keen to find out more.
The workout, like all of Reif’s YouTube videos, can be followed along, with the instructor displaying the moves to a music track. The name of each exercise is displayed in the top right corner of the screen, along with a countdown timer. Following a few activation exercises, you perform each exercise for 30 seconds, without any breaks. The workout includes reverse crunches, ab bicycles, and dead bugs, amongst other moves.
As with all ab workouts, it’s important to protect your lower back by keeping your spine pressed into the floor throughout. If you suffer from lower back pain, you’re a complete beginner, or you’re returning to exercise following an injury, it’s a good idea to have your form checked by a personal trainer, to ensure you’re not putting yourself at risk of injury.
I just tried Pamela Reif’s killer sixpack workout — here’s what happened
Ready to hear how it went? Read on.
My core was on fire
This one really worked all the different parts of my core — the deep transverse abdominals, the outer ab muscles (rectus abdominis), and my obliques. I felt my entire mid-section working hard to stabilize my body throughout this workout, and by six minutes in, I was checking in to see how much longer I had to endure this one.
My pet peeve amongst YouTube personal trainers is that sometimes their shorter workouts don’t work the entire muscle group (Daisy Keech I’m looking at you). If you want to achieve strong, defined abs, that’ll improve your posture, help you run faster and lift heavier, all while protecting your lower back, you need to work all the different muscles in your abs. Reif does this here.
I had to reduce my range of motion
As I’ve mentioned before, I do suffer from lower back pain, especially when my sciatica flares up, so I have to be careful during a lot of the best ab exercises to ensure I’m not arching in my lower back. I really appreciated the activation exercises at the start of this workout, which focused on tilting the pelvis and getting the lower back pressed into the exercise mat. However, I found during the workout, I had to reduce my range of motion to ensure my back stayed in the right position.
I also didn’t move quite as fast as Pamela during the ‘power mode’ sections, again, to ensure I was moving with the correct form. This one served as a reminder that sometimes you need to listen to your body and modify exercises.
The lack of rest got me
There’s a reason why this advanced ab workout burns — instead of downtime, any rest that comes is in the form of an ab hold. As well as being a form of active recovery in this workout, the ab hold targets all of the muscles in the core, as well as the quads, hip flexors, inner thighs, and lower back. Your core has to work hard to hold the posture, so even if your heart rate might lower slightly, there’s no rest for your abs.
Of course, 10 minutes is not nearly enough time to notice any physical changes in my body (visible abs are the result of a low body fat percentage), but my core did ache when I returned to my desk. I’ll definitely be repeating this one again — once my abs have forgiven me.
Looking for more ab workout inspiration? Here are 9 of the best Pilates exercises for targeting your core, plus, read what happened when our fitness editor did 100 plank jacks a day for a week.