Skip to main content

I just tried this anime ab workout — here’s what happened

a photo of a woman doing a russian twist and mikasa character
(Image credit: Shutterstock/Instagram/attackontitan)

Before digging into the nitty-gritty of this workout, I must apologize to anime fans all over the globe — I had no idea who Mikasa Ackerman was before trying this ab challenge.

I’ve never watched Attack on Titan or looked for cartoons for workout inspiration (other than maybe channelling Roadrunner at my last marathon), but after a quick google I got it — real or not, Mikasa has a serious six-pack. 

But what is the Mikasa ab workout routine, and would it get me a six-pack good enough for the Survey Corps in seven days? Read on to find out more. It goes without saying that what works for me, or for a fictional anime character, might not be right for you and your body. If you are completely new to an exercise, it’s a good idea to ask a personal trainer to check your form before adding weight or a large number of repetitions to your workout. 

Looking for more workout inspiration? Luckily for you, I’m no stranger to a fitness challenge. Read what happened when I did 100 dead bugs a day for week, 30 sit-ups a day for 30 days, and when I tried J Lo’s ab workout

What is the Mikasa ab workout? 

From the looks of things, Mikasa manages to change direction while flying through the air, which must involve some pretty impressive core strength. The abdominal muscles support the trunk when you move, making them super important for runners, tennis players, or any sport that involves twisting and turning. But how does she do it? 

Luckily for me, fans of the show have beaten me to it, and already written our Mikasa’s ab workout. All I had to do was give it a go. How hard could it be, right? Here’s what it looks like: 

Workout 1: 

20 sit-ups
30-second plank
40 Russian twists
15 jack knife sit-ups
30-second plank
40 crunches
30 scissor kicks 

Workout 2: 

30 weighted Russian twists
40 crunches
20 sit-ups
25 vertical leg crunches
30 bicycles
15 side plank lifts (each side)
20 flat straight leg raises
25 reverse crunches
20 rocking planks
30 toe touches 

Workout 3: 

30 oblique crunches (each side)
20 sit-ups
25 vertical leg crunches
45-second plank
40 Russian twists
30 mountain climbers
45-second side plank (each side)
40 crunches
30 scissor kicks
15 jack knife sit-ups 

Workout 4: 

30 weighted Russian twists
20 rocking planks
40 crunches
30 dumbbell side bends (each side)
25 vertical leg crunches
20 sit-ups
30 bicycles
25 flat straight leg raises
25 oblique crunches (each side)
15 reverse crunches 

Workout 5: 

30 scissor kicks
20 sit-ups
40 Russian twists
60-second plank
25 vertical leg crunches
15 jack knife sit-ups
30 mountain climbers
60-second side plank (each side)
20 toe touches
40 crunches 

Workout 6: 

20 plank jacks
30 dumbbell sidebends (each side)
20 flat straight leg raises
40 bicycles
20 sit-ups
40 oblique crunches (each side)
30 weighted Russian twists
20 reverse crunches
15 side plank lifts (each side)
50 crunches 

The instructions for the workout says beginners should do one set each day, and rest completely on day seven. Those who are at an intermediate fitness level should do two sets every other day, and supplement with cardio on the off days. Finally, those who are advanced should complete all six sets in one day and do high-intensity cardio, lifting, and CrossFit on all of the other days. Ouch. 

I tried the Mikasa Ackerman ab workout — here’s what happened

There’s no doubt about it, on paper, this looks like a lot. That said, it’s similar exercises each day, and actually, you can break the workout down into sets of smaller reps if you’re a complete beginner. For this challenge, I opted for the intermediate level, and do two workouts every other day, as I’m currently marathon training, and needed time to fit my miles in around my anime ab workouts. 

On day one, I did workout one and two and the entire workout took me around six minutes, which isn’t too bad for a quick ab blast. I was impressed with how well it targeted all of the different muscles in my trunk, rather than just hitting the lower abs, or avoiding the obliques like other popular YouTube ab workouts (Daisy Keech, I’m looking at you).

On day three, I was feeling tired and achy from a hard tempo session the day before — the joys of marathon training, but unrolled my yoga mat and tried workouts three and four. Again, they really worked my core and didn’t take me too long to complete. My abs ached afterwards, and I felt ready to fly through the sky and high kick, or just sit at my desk and work for eight hours — we can’t all be superheroes. 

Finally, on day five, I finished the week of cartoon-inspired core with workouts five and six. I wanted to have a complete rest day on day seven, mainly because I wanted to have a lie in and not wear gym kit for a day, so I opted to do workouts five and six before my long run of ten miles. I don’t know if I was tired, or dreading the long run, but I felt the final two workouts definitely upped the ante a little bit, and I could really feel my core was engaged when I started running, although this definitely isn’t a bad thing. 

Did Mikasa Ackerman’s ab workout leave me with a six pack after six days? Definitely not, but no workout would. As I’ve mentioned before, how visible your abs are completely depends on your body fat percentage, not how many mountain climbers or sit-ups you do — here’s how to calculate your body fat percentage, and why it matters. That said, they were quick, enjoyable workouts, that definitely worked my core hard. Who knows, maybe cartoons are the new fitspo inspiration after all? Popeye next…

Jane McGuire
Jane McGuire

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 four 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.