I tried this slow-paced, 15-minute abs workout and it’s become my new staple

Finally, an abs workout that I can stick to

Daniella Gray performs an abs workout in the gym
(Image credit: Daniella Gray)

Abs workouts don’t factor into my routine. The idea of finishing a set of dedicated core strengthening exercises, then having to go and do my real workout is a mental hurdle I can’t jump. 

Sometimes the workout I’m doing—such as a HIIT session or full-body dumbbell workout—incorporates core moves, but I rarely dedicate an entire strength training session to the area. 

That said, I would like to see more definition in my abs. I know that a good diet, along with regular exercise, plays a big part in achieving that definition—and finding an abs routine I can stick to could help me get there faster. 

Luckily, I didn’t have to look far to find a good option. The fitness influencer Zanna van Dijk created the below 15-minute dumbbell core workout to do as a standalone routine or post-workout finisher. 

Rather than challenging you to crank out as many sit-ups as possible, van Dijk encourages you to move slowly, with a focus on good form. 

How to

The exercises are weighted single-leg knee tucks, pulsing Russian twists, weighted straight-leg sit-ups, pulsing alternating leg drops and plank drags. I set a timer for 40 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest and repeated the workout for three rounds, as advised.

Van Dijk gives pointers throughout, such as lowering down as slowly as you can on the weighted straight-leg sit-ups and keeping your hips and core stable while doing the plank drags.

What I found

I usually get bored during an abs workout, but this session was different. 

The variation kept things interesting and the work periods seemed to go pretty quickly. You’re not exhausting yourself by becoming a sit-ups machine, but challenging yourself with slow-paced movements. 

Some of the exercises were a little complex and took me a few rounds to get to grips with, but by the third day I knew them by heart. The duration was just the right amount of time for me—and because the exercises targeted different parts of my core, I worked a variety of muscles alongside my abs. 

Need a new mat to support your abs routine? Have a look at our round-up of the best yoga mats

Daniella Gray is an experienced health and wellbeing writer, and was an Editorial Assistant and Senior Content Writer at Health & Wellbeing magazine, where she got to explore her love of food and fitness. She holds a degree in Print Journalist from Nottingham Trent University and a NCTJ qualification.