I don’t know about you, but fitting in exercise in the run-up to the holidays is always a battle. Along with all the socializing, there are fewer hours of daylight, and heading to the gym is far less appealing when it means peeling yourself out of bed in the dark.
That being said, grabbing 10 minutes to fit some exercise in when life gets busy is good for your physical and mental health, so I unrolled my yoga mat one lunch break and tried this 10-minute ab workout, which has over 65 million views on YouTube.
I’m no stranger to Pamela Reif’s workouts. In my quest to help you find the best, free, YouTube workout videos, I tried Reif’s six-pack ab workout and my abs were on fire for hours. In the description of this 10-minute ab workout, Reif explains that this workout was inspired by her popular six-pack routine. A quick scroll through the comments later and I knew I was in for another tough workout (yes, Shinta, you do know a workout is hard when a plank is the ‘easy’ part).
If you’ve not heard of Pamela Reif, she’s a social media influencer from Germany, known for her fitness workouts. She’s also written two books on health and nutrition and has amassed millions of followers on YouTube and Instagram. She also looks incredible in every workout but let’s not hold that against her.
What is the Pamela Reif 10-minute ab workout?
The beauty of this workout is that it can be done from just about anywhere. You won’t need any equipment, however, I’d recommend lying on a yoga mat or a towel. (Looking for a new yoga mat? We’ve found the best yoga mats on the market here). Reif doesn’t talk you through the exercises at all, so if her playlist isn’t to your liking, you can always mute the video and listen to a podcast or music.
As the title suggests, the entire workout takes just 10-minutes, making this one easy to slot in around your life, holidays or not. You’ll work solidly for the whole ten minutes, without any breaks, going through 20 exercises, which are 30 seconds each. There’s a counter in the top right corner which you can glance at when the going gets tough, but remember, you’ve probably spent longer in the queue at Starbucks — you’ve got this!
Here’s what to expect:
Crunch, 30 seconds: To do a crunch, lie on your back, with your lower back pressed into the floor. Engaging your core, crunch your head and torso up off the ground.
Crunch with knee lift, 30 seconds: Similar to the last exercise, but this time as you crunch, bring your knees up towards your chest, still keeping your hips on the ground. As you come out of the crunch, toe-tap your feet to the floor.
Bicycle crunch, 30 seconds: To do a bicycle crunch, lie on the floor with your back flat against the ground. Place your hands next to your head and raise your shoulders off the ground. Bend your knees and draw your legs up off the ground. Bring the right knee towards your chest as you straighten your left leg, as your right knee comes up, twist your body so your left elbow touches your right knee. Repeat on the other side and make sure your legs and shoulders remain off the ground for the entire exercise.
Toe reach crunch, 30 seconds: To do a toe reach crunch, raise your legs up to the ceiling when lying flat on your back. As you crunch upwards, extend your arms and try and touch your toes as you lift up.
Crunch with leg lift, 30 seconds: Starting to see a pattern yet? This time as you crunch, raise, and lower your legs at the same time. At the top of your crunch, your legs should be up to the ceiling as you squeeze your core.
Reach out, tuck in, 30 seconds: This time, start the crunch with your arms extended behind your head and your legs extended outwards. As you crunch up, reach your arms forwards and tuck your knees in, and tap your hands to your feet.
Roll in, 30 seconds: This is also known as a reverse crunch. Engaging your core, crunch your legs in, lifting your hips up off the mat as you do. Keep the entire movement slow and controlled to really feel the burn here.
Bicycle crunch, 30 seconds: Returning to the bicycle crunches, touching opposite knee to elbow, and keeping your core engaged.
Oblique crunch right, 30 seconds: This one will make your core ache. Stack your hips and ankles on the right side and crunch up, engaging your core into the twist. You should feel this in your right oblique.
Oblique crunch left, 30 seconds: This time, stack your hips and ankles on the left side and crunch upwards, engaging your core.
Sitting crunch, 30 seconds: Sitting on your seat bones, place your hands behind your body, palms flat on the floor. As you crunch your torso forwards, tuck your knees into your chest. As you lean back, extend your legs out straight, so you are in a V shape.
Oblique crunch right, 30 seconds: From the sitting position, move your legs over to the right, with your ankles touching. Repeat the sitting crunch, but keep the twist in your body to work the right oblique.
Oblique crunch left, 30 seconds: Repeat the oblique crunch on the left side.
Jackknife, 30 seconds: A jackknife is similar to a toe touch, but you lower your torso and extend your arms behind your head, keeping your neck off the ground, between each touch. Start by lying on your back. With your arms extended behind your head and your legs out straight a few inches off the floor, engage your abs to lift your arms and legs as if you are trying to touch your toes. Hold, then lower back down to the starting position.
Starfish crunch, 30 seconds: In a starfish crunch, you’ll start lying on your back, with your arms and legs extended and your head and neck off the floor. As you crunch, touch your right hand to your left leg, raising your left leg to the ceiling. Lower back to starting position and repeat on the other side.
Reach out, tuck in, 30 seconds: You did this one earlier in the workout, but these 30-seconds are likely to feel a lot harder!
Starfish to jackknife, 30 seconds: Starting with your legs and arms extended, with your head and neck raised off the mat, take your arms and legs out to the side, making a star. As you bring them back in to your starting position, crunch up and tap your hands to your toes.
Roll in, 30 seconds: Again, you’ve done this one before, but the second set will probably feel harder than the first.
Hold, 30 seconds: With your legs outstretched at a 45-degree angle, lift your head and neck from the floor and extend your arms out by your side. Squeezing your core, hold for 30 seconds.
Plank, 30 seconds: With your body weight on your elbows, squeeze your belly button into your spine and hold the plank for 30 seconds.
I tried the Pamela Reif 10-minute ab workout — here’s what happened
Something that never fails to annoy me in workout videos is trainers spending too long talking you through each exercise. I love that Reif’s videos are easy to follow, and that if I’m really into a podcast or audiobook, I can mute the video and know that I’m not missing anything important.
That said, this workout moves fast, so you will need to keep checking back in with the video to see how long you have left if you have muted the audio. Beginners, don’t be afraid to stop and press pause between exercises, Reif makes things look easy, but this one is a killer.
I loved this workout. I loved the challenge, the pace, and the fact I found myself doing exercises I’ve not done in a long time (sitting oblique crunches, I’m looking at you). By the time the 10-minutes was up, my core was burning and I felt like I’d gotten a good workout in before I got back to my desk.
As I’ve mentioned in past workout reviews, I have to be mindful of my lower back during ab workouts, as I suffer from sciatica, but I felt able to get through the workout without too many modifications. It’s definitely one I’ll be doing again when I head home for the holidays, and who knows, maybe if I wish, sorry, work, hard enough, I’ll get abs like Reif for Christmas. A girl can dream, right?