I tried this Pamela Reif 10-minute ab workout — here's what happened to my core

Pamela Reif ab workout
(Image credit: Pamela Reif/YouTube)

If you’re looking for a 10-minute ab workout, Pamela Reif is your girl. With over 9 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, Reif is an efficient trainer — she gets straight into the workout, and performs the exercises in real time, making it easy to follow along. Can you torch your core in 10 minutes? I unrolled my yoga mat to find out more. 

As a fitness editor, I’m no stranger to Reif’s workouts. In fact, you can read what happened when I tried her famous six-minute ab workout with over 21 million views here. I’m a fan of how short and snappy Reif’s workouts are — they sculpt into your core without you needing to spend hours in the gym, plus, you can fit them in on your lunch break.

In the caption to this killer six-pack workout, Reif writes that the workout targets “lower abs, upper abs and side abs”, that it’s an advanced workout, and that it’s “100% suitable for men”. You don’t need any equipment for the workout, so pop those best adjustable dumbbells to one side (or check out this 15-minute dumbbells ab workout if you do want to use them).

Looking for more workout inspiration? Read what happened when this writer did 50 Russian Twists every day for a week, and when we tried this 7-minute resistance band glutes workout.

What is the Pamela Reif 10-minute ab workout? 

The Pamela Reif 10-minute ab workout is a series of 20 bodyweight exercises, held for 30 seconds each. The video has a timer in the top right corner, allowing you to follow along in real-time. When it comes to form, Reif writes, “make sure to keep your lower back flat on the mat. Only lower your legs as far as possible, so your lower back is not lifting off the mat.”

Reif also recommends lowering your head back to the mat if you feel like any of the exercises are putting too much pressure on your neck. She also recommends thinking about your abs for the entire workout — “it’s about the mind-muscle connection. Lift your legs with the strength of your abs, not your thighs”. 

As the workout is only 10-minutes long, there aren’t any breaks, although if you’re a beginner, or you’re returning to exercise after an injury, feel free to pause the video and take a break whenever you need. 

The workout is easy to follow along with, but if you like to prepare yourself beforehand, it includes the following exercises: 

Cross knee and leg lift: For this crunch variation, Reif has one leg straight, and the other crossed over, with the knee pointing out to the side, almost like a figure-four stretch. Keeping the lower leg straight, engage from your abs and crunch your torso up towards your legs. Lower back down to your starting position and repeat. 

Dennis knife and clap: For this exercise, start lying on your back, with your arms and legs outstretched and raised a few inches off the ground. Moving from your core, raise your head, neck, and torso off the ground and lift your legs up towards your torso at the same time. Keeping your arms outstretched, clap your hands behind your legs, before lowering back to your starting position. 

Reverse crunch one leg drop: Another Pamela classic — doing two moves in one. For this exercise, complete a reverse crunch, then once you have lowered your glutes back down to the mat, lower one extended leg out away from your body. Raise it back to the ceiling, then complete another reverse crunch. 

I tried the 10-minute Pamela Reif killer-abs workout — here’s what happened 

Reif wasn’t lying when she said this workout was advanced — a few exercises in and my core was shaking.

Reif wasn’t lying when she said this workout was advanced — a few exercises in and my core was shaking. Turns out, I wasn’t alone, a quick glance through the video’s comments confirmed this was a challenging workout, with one person writing, “It's when the plank feels like the easiest exercise that you realize it's working”. 

A lot of the abdominal exercises were challenging, combining two different exercises in one for a real burn. While 30-seconds is a relatively short rep, the lack of break turns this workout into a slow build — you really feel it in no time. 

As someone who suffers from sciatica, I have to be mindful during ab workouts to ensure I’m not arching my lower back. The majority of this workout was done lying on the floor, however, I found I had to reduce the range of motion in a few moves, or raise my legs higher to ensure my back stayed pressed against the ground. 

I also appreciated the activation exercises at the start of the workout. Something often missing from YouTube workouts, the activation exercises got me set up, core engaged, for the workout. Here’s how to engage your core, and why it matters.

Ten minutes later, my core felt like it had gotten a good workout. A few hours later, I was aching. The next morning I only got 20-seconds into my reformer Pilates class before I felt my abs shaking. This is an excellent ab workout for anyone looking for a quick, effective burn. It’s one I’ll definitely be repeating — once my abs have recovered. 

You can check out what happened when I did Pamela Reif ab workouts every day for a week and was shocked by the results.

Fancy another workout? Then check out how we trained like one of the world's top CrossFit athletes. You can also read how I did 50 Bulgarian split squats every day for a week — and the results surprised me.

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

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.