Improve your core strength and enhance your lung capacity with these short-and-sharp 10-minute abs workouts.
Here’s one thing you can’t live without: breathing. And here’s a thing you can ill-afford to ignore: your core. The latter is fundamental to everything from stability and posture, to strength, endurance and injury prevention.
But while strengthening the core sounds straightforward enough, there are also ways to boost your breath: with drills to help your diaphragm, lungs and heart work as efficiently as possible.
Related: Dumbbell Abs Workout
The following 10-minute abs workouts – from Army physical training instructor and ‘tactical traininng’ coach Farren Morgan – deliver on both fronts: combining core and breathing exercises to deliver maximum benefits from each contraction.
The aim is to keep your breathing as steady as possible and your core engaged throughout.
Breathe by bringing your belly button in with each inhale, and expel as much air as possible on each exhale. “By removing the air as you breathe out,” says Morgan, “you’ll have more room for your muscles to fully contract, before you breathe in once more to really expand your lungs and oxygen capacity. Proper form is essential, too – that means no slouching or hunching over – because sloppy posture can limit the range of your contractions, and apply more stress on your body than necessary.”
Pick one of the following 10-minute abs workouts and tag it onto the end of your regular workout, or use as standalone circuits whenever you’re tight for time.
10-MINUTE ABS WORKOUTS
01. 10-MIN AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)
a. Assault Bike x 10kcal
- Sit on the bike, put your feet on the pedals and grab onto the handles.
- Start pedalling, but be careful not to go too hard, too fast – this is one bit of kit you don’
b. Burpee x 10
- Start with your feet hip-width apart.
- Bend your knees, lower your upper body forward, and place your palms on the ground before dropping your chest to the ground.
- Push off with your feet as you lift your body back to the previous position.
- Stand up and jump with your feet hip-width apart as you lift your arms and bring your palms together overhead.
c. Kettlebell Russian Twist x 10 (each side)
- Start by sitting on the ground with your knees bent and feet pressed into the floor.
- Synchronise your breathing to each motion by exhaling as you twist your upper body to one side by turning it to face the right. Inhale as you turn your upper body to the centre and repeat the process in the opposite direction.
- While you twist, keep your palms together – they can be bent or extended but must be parallel to the ground.
- Maintain a straight spine throughout and cross your lower legs if you need more stability.
02. 10-MIN EMOM (every minute on the minute)
MIN 1: KB Swing x 15
- Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the kettlebell with both palms facing towards you, and arms stretched out.
- Synchronise your breathing by inhaling as you bend your knees and bring your hips back. Keep your back straight and use your core for support as you bring the kettlebell between your legs.
- Exhale as you shift your body to a standing position and contract your glutes as you swing the kettlebell forward. You should aim towards using the momentum of the swing to lift the kettlebell up to the height of your shoulders.
- Revert to the previous position by inhaling as you lower your hips and bend your knees once more, bringing the kettlebell back between your legs.
MIN 2: Row x 10kcal
- Start by sitting on the pad and securing your feet using the straps.
- Grasp the handle with a loose grip.
- Lean forward from the hips, with your shins nearly parallel to the ground and arms kept straight.
- Drive through your legs to row back on the machine. As you begin to extend your legs, pull the cable back in a straight line, keeping shoulders relaxed.
- Revert to the starting position by bringing your arms forward, followed by your upper body and then your legs.
You can make adjustments to the reps and calories as needed, so you can confidently complete the assigned work within the minute. Aim to get both exercises completed within 30-40 seconds every round.
03. FOR TIME
a. Row x 3-6-9-12-15kcals
b. Hanging Knee Raise x 3-6-9-12-15
- Grip the overhead bar with palms facing away from you and allow your body to hang.
- Lift your knees towards your chest, using your lower abs to support you, and tense your glutes as you hold this position.
- Lower your legs slowly.
Alternate between the row and the knee raises – doing 3kcals on the rower, then 3 reps of knee raises and so on.
04. 3 ROUNDS
a. Straight-Leg Raise x 20 secs
- Begin in a dead-hang position by gripping the overhead bar with your palms facing away from you and letting your body hang.
- Keep your legs together and straight as you raise them until they’re parallel to the floor and tense your glutes. Aim towards having your body in the shape of an ‘L’, and use your lower abs to support you.
- Revert to the starting position by bringing your legs back down.
b. Row x 500m
c. V-Up x 20 secs
- Start by lying face up with your arms and legs straight.
- Raise your arms overhead and hold them there.
- Lift your torso and legs at the same time in an attempt to touch your toes.
d. Barbell Rollout x 20 secs
- Start with both knees on the ground and a barbell in front of you.
- Your back should be straight as you grab the barbell with your palms facing away from you, shoulder-width apart.
- Your shoulders should be positioned above the barbell as you slowly roll it out until your arms are fully extended.
- Reverse the movement.
05. 5 ROUNDS
a. Row x 15 secs
b. KB Swing x 12
c. Decline Straight-Leg Reverse Crunch x 6
- Start by sitting at the end of the decline bench and bend your elbows as you raise your palms overhead to grip the roller or handle.
- Extend your legs and raise them off the ground.
- Bring your legs up, using your lower abs and pelvis as support to lift them vertically into the air.
- Reverse back to the start.
06. 10-MIN AMRAP
a. Row x 1 min
b. Hanging Knee Raise x 1 min
c. Burpee x 1 min
d. Row x 1 min
Rest x 1 min
e. Assault Bike x 1 min
f. KB Swing x 1 min
g. Decline plank x 1 min
- Start on all fours, with the elevated surface behind your feet.
- Join your palms together and lift your first leg to place it on the elevated surface, followed by the other.
- Tighten your core, straighten your back, and hold this position.
h. Assault Bike x 1 min
07. 3 ROUNDS
a. BB Rollout x 40 secs
Rest x 20 secs
b. V-Up x 40 secs
Rest x 20 secs
c. Row x 40 secs
Rest x 20 secs