This resistance band workout sculpts your abs in just 5 minutes

a photo of a woman with abs holding a resistance band
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Bored with your normal ab workout? Grab a mini resistance band and get ready to torch all of the muscles in your core with this workout, devised by fitness trainer Lindsey Bomgren. The workout hits your deep core muscles, glutes, hips, and pelvic floor, and only takes five minutes of work. Ready to get started? Read on to find out more. 

A strong midsection is far more than just an aesthetic goal — it can help you lift heavier, run faster, sit with better posture, and protect your spine from lower back pain. Yet a strong core doesn’t come from endless sit-ups — Bomgren writes, “In my opinion, the best ab exercises are the ones that train your core to not move because, during a workout and everyday activities, your core is designed to stabilize your body.” The addition of a resistance band in this workout puts more tension on the muscles, forcing them to work harder. 

The workout targets the deep abdominal muscles (transverse abdominis), the obliques, and the outer core muscles (rectus abdominis). It also works the muscles along the lower back (erector spinae), the pelvic floor muscles, as well as the glutes and hips. 

What is the 5-minute resistance band workout? 

The workout includes five different exercises, which you do for 40 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest. You don’t repeat any of the exercises, and all you’ll need is one of the best resistance bands

The exercises are as follows: 

Lying V-Pull Aparts: Lying on your back, with your lower back pressed into the mat, raise your legs to the ceiling with the resistance band looped just above your ankles. Pull your legs apart and keep your core engaged. Make sure your lower back stays against the mat. 

Split Leg Raises/Lowers: From the same position above, peel your head and neck off the mat, with your hands resting by your temples. Keeping your core engaged, lower one leg about a foot, and then the other. Keep raising and lowering your legs, keeping your core tight throughout. 

Banded Dead Bug: For the banded dead bug, loop the mini band around your feet to increase the tension as you extend one leg, then the other away from your body. Read more on how to do a dead bug and the variations to try, and what happened when our fitness editor did 100 dead bugs a day for a week here

Bear Crawl Kick Bands: Start in a bear crawl position, with your hands stacked underneath your shoulders, and your knees under your hips. With the resistance band looped around your feet, extend one leg out behind you, then back to your starting position. Repeat on the other side and keep swapping. 

Rotating Side Plank with Band: Start in a high plank position with the resistance band looped around your hands. As you rotate into a side plank, pull the resistance band up, bending at the elbow. Repeat on the opposite side 

This workout uses the resistance band to add tension to the exercises, but like all of the best ab exercises, it’s super important to get your form right during the workout. Keep your abs engaged throughout by thinking about sucking your belly button in towards your spine. It’s also important to ensure you’re moving with control, and not arching your back, or letting it lift off the mat during the exercises.

If you’re completely new to working out, or returning to fitness following an injury, it’s a good idea to get a personal trainer to check your form before adding resistance to the exercise. 

If you’re pregnant or postpartum, Bomgren has modifications in her Instagram caption. It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before working out during pregnancy. 

Finally, if you feel the workout in your neck or hips, it’s a sign you’re not properly engaging your core, and that this workout might be a little too advanced for you. You might want to use a lighter resistance band — like selecting the right set of dumbbells for a strength session, the right level of resistance band will leave you feeling challenged by the final few reps, but not compromise your form.

You might also want to switch to a bodyweight ab workout — check out the best 10-minute ab workouts, as well as this Pilates ab workout

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.