For an ab workout to have been viewed 50 million times, it must be good, so when I stumbled across dancer and model Alexis Ren’s ab workout, I had to unroll my yoga mat and give it a go.
As a fitness editor, I love nothing more than digging into a celeb’s workout routine, but from her time on Dancing With The Stars, it seems clear that Ren is someone who works hard in the gym, rather than following fad diets and fitness trends.
In the description to the video, Ren writes, “I try to do this every morning. It's quick, to the point, and you'll feel it the next day” — sounds like my kind of ab workout. Despite being posted in 2018, the video has thousands of recent comments from users who have been giving the workout a go and raving about the results.
Intrigued, and keen to find out more, I put the workout to the test. Read on to find out what happened.
Editor's Note: A reminder that what works for me, or for Alexis Ren, might not be right for you and your body. If you are completely new to some of the exercises in this video, or you’re returning to fitness after time off with injury, it’s a good idea to check your form with a personal trainer before upping the reps to ensure you’re not putting yourself at risk of injury.
What is Alexis Ren’s ab workout?
The ab workout is 30 seconds of each of the following. There are no breaks in this workout, but a reminder that if you’re a complete beginner, there’s no shame in pressing pause on the video and taking a break:
- Knee-touch crunches
- Side-to-side heel taps
- Bicycle crunches (here’s how to do bicycle crunches with the correct form)
- Russian twists (here’s how to do a Russian twist with good form)
- Reach-through crunches
- V-up crunches
- Elbows-down leg lifts
- Flutter kicks (here’s what happened when I did 100 flutter kicks a day for a week)
- Scissor kicks
- Double leg lifts
- V-up crunches
- Seated knee tucks
- Mountain climbers (here’s how to do mountain climbers, the benefits and the modifications to try)
- Elbow plank
- Side plank (right) (here’s what happened when this writer did side planks every day for a week)
- Side plank (left)
- Elbow plank (here’s how long you need to hold a plank to see results)
- Elbow plank with hip dips
- Spider-Man plank
I tried Alexis Ren’s ab workout — here’s why it has 50 million views on YouTube
First things first, this workout moves quickly. 30-seconds isn’t a lot, but it forces you to push yourself and work hard for the entire time. I’m guilty of stopping and taking short breathers in the middle of my home workouts, without a burly instructor to shout at me, but the shorter intervals kept me engaged and working hard throughout this workout. I also appreciated the countdown in the top left corner of the screen, particularly in the more difficult exercises.
As well as moving quickly, the 10-minute workout did a good job of working all of the different parts of the core. While there are some influencers out there who opt to skip the obliques — the muscles running down the sides of your torso — in fear of it creating a ‘boxy’ look (cough, Daisy Keech), a strong core comes from working all of the different muscles. I felt like my entire mid-section was working, and I really could feel it after ten minutes, and when I returned to my desk afterward.
If I wasn’t sweating after seven minutes, ending the workout on, effectively, a three-minute plank sure did the job. This one wasn’t pretty, but it did the job. It served as a good reminder that intense workouts don’t always require you to spend hours in the gym — with the right combination of exercises, you can get a great workout in between meetings.
While no amount of crunches can give you abs (visible abs are down to your body fat percentage — here’s how to calculate yours), my core definitely felt like it had worked hard.
Huge kudos to Ren if she does this every single day. I’ll be repeating this one again, once the ache has subsided.
Looking for more workout inspiration? Read what happened when I tried Emma Lovewell’s four-week ab challenge here, when I did 100 dead bugs a day for a week, and when I tried that famous Daisy Keech workout.