You only need 10 minutes to build a stronger core and improve your posture with this 5-move abs workout

a woman doing a bicycle crunch
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Contrary to popular opinion, the purpose of the best core workouts isn't just to build a dazzling six-pack. While regular practice of ab workouts contributes to building definition in the midsection, it will also lead to more important health benefits like a stronger core which can enhance posture and reduce back pain. This 10-minute ab workout requires no equipment and is a great place to begin.

As mentioned, you don't need any fancy gear to try this workout from fitness trainer, Kayla Itsines. No need to worry about weights or bands, you just need floor space. We'd recommend rolling out one of the best yoga mats to add some padding underneath you during the exercises.

What is the 10 minute ab workout?

There are just five moves to learn and thanks to Itsines' Instagram you can use the video below to grasp how to nail proper form for each. The aim is to complete three rounds in total — check out the list below to find out how many reps to complete for each exercise.

  • High Plank & Alternating Superman (16 reps, 8 each side)
  • Caterpillar Walk & Half Burpee (12 reps)
  • Sprawl (10 reps)
  • Extended Side Plank (20 seconds)
  • Ab Bike & Toe Tap (20 reps, 10 per side)

If you landed here because you're looking to build definition in your abs, this routine will do a good job of targeting the right areas, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis.

However, it's important to note that the definition of abs is significantly influenced by two factors: muscle hypertrophy and body fat percentage. Muscle hypertrophy in the midsection can be achieved through the repetitive contraction and extension of the muscles during exercise, and when paired with progressive overload training can lead to increased muscle size and definition. 

However, to achieve visible abs, it's equally important to maintain a low body fat percentage, which can be managed through a combination of cardiovascular exercise and a balanced diet.  Just remember that all body compositions and metabolisms are different, which also will affect things.

Body aesthetics aside, building a robust core supports other forms of exercise. Strong core muscle provides a solid foundation from which to perform movements, improving efficiency and effectiveness across a wide range of activities, from running to weightlifting.

The importance of core strength extends to its role in maintaining good posture. You could think of your core muscles as a corset, but a more comfortable kind that supports the spine and promotes alignment. Good posture reduces the strain on the spine and associated muscles, which can help prevent back pain and discomfort. 

The bottom line is, ab and core exercises have many many benefits for our overall health and fitness. The core is the central powerhouse of the body, and its strength affects nearly every movement we perform. Whether for improving performance in the gym, preventing injuries, or ensuring long-term health and mobility, dedicating time to core exercise is certainly an investment in yourself.

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Jessica Downey
Fitness Writer

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her love for keeping fit and fueling her body with healthy and enjoyable food quite naturally led her to write about all things fitness and health-related. If she isn’t out testing the latest fitness products such as the latest running shoe or yoga mat for reviewing then she can be found writing news and features on the best ways to build strength, active aging, female health, and anything in between. Before then she had a small stint writing in local news, has also written for Runners World UK (print and digital), and gained experience with global content marketing agency, Cedar Communications.

Born and raised in Scotland, Jessica is a massive fan of exercising and keeping active outdoors. When at home she can be found running by the sea, swimming in it, or up a mountain. This continued as she studied and trained to become a PPA-accredited magazine journalist in Wales. And since working and living in London, she splits her time between weight training in the gym, trying new fitness classes, and finding scenic running routes. Jessica enjoys documenting this on her fitness-inspired Instagram page @jessrunshere where she loves engaging with like-minded fitness junkies.

She is a big fan of healthy cooking and loves learning more about this area with expert nutritionists she has met over the years. Jessica is a big advocate for building healthy relationships with food rather than building restrictive attitudes towards it. When she isn’t eating or running she also enjoys practicing yoga in her free time as it helps her to unwind and benefits her performance in other sports.