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I tried the Bretman Rock ab workout and my abs are still on fire 24 hours later

A woman doing an ab workout
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

It’s not often I turn to YouTube for workout challenges, but when I saw Bretman Rock’s ‘ab-solutely not’ workout was trending, I was intrigued. I’ll caveat this by saying I consider myself to be relatively fit — I ran a marathon two weeks ago and practice Pilates on a regular basis, so when I first glimpsed the ab workout, which is only one round of exercises, I thought it would be a walk in the park. I was wrong. 

Bretman Rock is a digital celebrity known for his beauty videos, but his recent video named ‘3 easy workouts to look cute’ quickly racked more than one million views on YouTube. Rock says his workouts come from his experience as a lifelong athlete and his work with trainers and CrossFit instructors. The video includes three workouts that focus on the chest, cardio, and abs. As abs from the Gods are my lifelong goal, I decided to try the latter, a decision I regretted approximately three minutes later. 

The workout itself is relatively simple — it’s entirely made up of low-impact, bodyweight exercises, so all you need is yourself and an exercise or yoga mat

How to do Bretman Rock’s 'ab-solutely not' workout: 

 The workout is simple and comprises of these nine exercises: 

Crunch: 20 reps 

To do a crunch, start lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Engage your core, with your hands behind your head. Contract your abs, and lift your torso off the floor. Slowly lower back down. That's one rep. 

In-and-out crunch: 40 reps

To do an in-and-out crunch, start sitting up in a V position with your arms behind you and your palms flat on the floor. As you extend your legs out straight, lean your torso back. As you bring your knees back into your chest, lean back in. To make it more challenging, lift your hands from the floor. 

Elbow plank: 60 seconds 

To do an elbow plank, assume a push-up position, then lower down onto your elbows. Think about keeping your belly button sucked in towards your spine, and keeping a straight line from the crown of your head to your heels.

30-second rest 

Plank with hip dips: 20 reps 

To do a plank with hip dips, get into the same plank position mentioned above, then twisting your pelvis, think about dropping your right hip down to touch the floor (it doesn't matter if it doesn't actually touch), then your left hip. That's one rep. 

Mountain climber: 40 reps 

To do a mountain climber, start in a push-up position, then as quickly as you can, pull your right knee into your chest without letting it touch the floor as you extend it back out. Then repeat with your left knee. That's one rep. 

Scissors: 60 reps 

Start by lying on your back with your arms by your sides and your palms flat against the floor. Engaging your abs, raise your legs straight into the air, and think about keeping your lower back flat against the floor. Lower your right leg to a few inches off the ground, then raise it back upwards. As you raise your right leg, lower your left to the ground. That's one rep. 

30-second rest 

Reverse crunch: 20 reps

To do a reverse crunch, lie on your back and put your legs in a tabletop position. Engage your core and breathe in to lift your hips off the floor and your legs back up over your chest. Breathe out as you lower back into your starting position. That's one rep. 

Toe-touch crunch: 40 reps 

Starting with your back flat against the floor, raise your legs up to the ceiling as straight as you can. Crunching your abs, lift your upper torso upwards with your arms outstretched and try and touch your toes. That's one rep. 

6-inch hold: 60-seconds 

Start by lying on your back and with your legs together, lift both off the floor by about six inches. As you do so, lift your head and neck up off the floor about six inches. Hold. 

I know what you’re thinking — really that doesn’t look too bad? You’re not wrong, it doesn’t. It’s also pretty quick: the entire workout only took me about nine minutes, but the ab burn I was experiencing by the mountain climber section was real. 

The one word I'd use to describe this workout is intense — my core was shaking by the time I got to the scissors and the 30-second rests didn’t feel very long at all as a recovery. In his YouTube video, Rock explains that sometimes he doesn't take rests as he wants to power through the workout as fast as possible and for that alone, I'm in awe. He also mentioned the option to add 10-second rests in between each exercise, something I'd probably do next time. 

Although the hollow hold at the end was the longest 60 seconds of my life, I loved that I was able to do this entire workout from my living room. While I have returned to the gym post-pandemic, I still love doing the odd workout from home when my schedule doesn’t allow me to get to the gym. This is a workout I could easily do on my lunch break, or even between meetings (if my co-workers can’t see my shaking core once I’m back at my desk).

My verdict? This is a quick nine-minute workout that I’ll definitely be incorporating into my weekly workout routine. Whether or not it gives me J-Lo abs remains to be seen, but it’s definitely an easy way to get the core shaking with minimal equipment.

If you've already tried this workout then check out Chloe Ting YouTube workout to feel the burn

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.