All you need is seven moves, seven minutes and this household item to strengthen your core

You don't need fancy gym equipment for an effective ab workout

A woman performing a v-up as part of an ab workout
(Image credit: Getty)

There's no need to complicate core workouts with elaborate exercises and expensive equipment. You can target your abs with your bodyweight alone, or (in the case of this session) with the help of a single household object. 

The only thing you're going to need to give it a go is a pillow (although we'd recommend investing in one of the best yoga mats (opens in new tab) to protect your back if you plan to exercise on a hard floor). 

Once you've got your gear, you'll be ready to lie back and feel the burn with this workout from celebrity trainer and health coach Jeanette Jenkins (opens in new tab). It consists of just seven simple moves and takes only seven minutes to complete, but is sure to leave your mid-section feeling fatigued.

All you need to do is perform the seven moves as a circuit, spending 30 seconds on each one before moving straight on to the next exercise. Complete two rounds of this circuit to finish the workout. Simple, right?

You can make the session easier by only performing the circuit once through, or make it more challenging by adding another round. 

Watch Jenkins' video below to find out which seven exercises await you, and how to perform them with perfect form. Practice the technique of each one until you feel comfortable, then it's time to dive into this short-yet-testing session. 

Watch Jeanette Jenkins' ab workout

A post shared by Jeanette Jenkins (@msjeanettejenkins) (opens in new tab)

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When people think of the best ab workouts (opens in new tab), the first exercises to spring to mind are usually sit-ups (opens in new tab) and crunches (opens in new tab). However, there's more to effective core training than meets the eye.

The rectus abdominis (responsible for the "six-pack" aesthetic) is just one of the muscles making up the core, with multiple movement patterns needed to engage all of them. For example, rotational exercises like the ab twists in this workout will target the internal and external obliques (the long muscles that run down the side of your trunk). Meanwhile, exercises like plank pillow taps will call your transverse abdominis (key for stabilizing the spine) into action. 

If you find this session too difficult, give our core workout for beginners (opens in new tab) a go to build more midline strength, then come back to Jenkins' workout when you feel ready. 

If you want to weave this versatile workout into your training plan, there are very few places it won't fit. Taking less than ten minutes, it's ideal for a quick lunch-break session or as a way to squeeze a little exercise into a busy day. 

Harry Bullmore is a fitness writer covering everything from reviews to features for LiveScience, T3, TechRadar, Fit&Well and more. So, whether you’re looking for a new fitness tracker or wondering how to shave seconds off your 5K PB, chances are he’s written something to help you improve your training.


When not writing, he’s most likely to be found experimenting with a wide variety of training methods in his home gym or trying to exhaust his ever-energetic puppy.


Prior to joining Future, Harry wrote health and fitness product reviews for publications including Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Runner’s World. Before this, he spent three years as a news reporter with work in more than 70 national and regional newspapers.