You only need 5 moves to develop core strength and torch your abs — here’s how

a woman performing crunches with alternating leg raises
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether you love or loathe ab workouts, they are essential for building a stronger core and for developing definition in your abdominal muscles. We get that spending hours on your abs doesn't sound overly fun, so we've found a short and sweet routine that involves just five moves and your body weight.

The workout comes from Kayla Itsines, a popular online fitness trainer esteemed for her intense but effective bodyweight workouts. This one is no different, so make sure to grab your best water bottle before jumping into this routine and begin torching your core and ab muscles.

What is the five-move abs workout?

This routine is pretty simple to replicate yourself, big thanks to the fact it requires no equipment and includes a list of well-known core exercises. The routine involves performing 12 repetitions of each exercise (except for the side plank crunch, which is 6 reps per side) and completing three rounds of the entire circuit.

We recommend checking out Itsines' demonstrations of each move in the video below to ensure you are adopting the correct form during the exercises and maximizing your gains.

Itsines' short routine manages to target and strengthen the major muscles of the core, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis. Performing exercises such as the abs bikes and leg raises engage these muscles, and in doing so, you will be working toward building a strong and stable core. 

A well-developed core not only enhances physical appearance by providing a toned and defined midsection but it also contributes to developing solid functional strength, something everyone needs in order to support everyday movements and exercise performance.

Another significant benefit of this workout is its potential to enhance your balance and stability, with regular practice. Exercises like the lateral shoot throughs and side plank crunches require stability while moving through varied planes of motion. 

This type of training improves something called proprioception — the body’s ability to sense its position in space — which is essential for coordination and balance. This core workout also contributes to better posture and alignment.

Many of us suffer from poor posture due to sitting at a desk all day long or picking up more sedentary habits and this often leads to back pain. When you work on strengthening the core muscles, you provide better support for your spine, which helps maintain proper alignment and posture. 

Think you can manage all three rounds? 

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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.