Build a stronger core in 24 minutes with this quick Tabata workout

Develop core strength without weights using this short, intense routine

Man holding a side plank at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As our schedules fill again, you may not have time for an extended workout anymore. Thankfully, you can stay fit, burn fat, and build core strength with this short, 24-minute Tabata HIIT workout.

It's an equipment-free way to exercise, but it's worth investing in a set of the best cross training shoes if you enjoy short, high-intensity workouts. These shoes have additional ankle support, are durable enough to withstand repeated HIIT workouts, and are flat enough to provide a stable surface for resistance training.

Otherwise, all you'll need is to get started is 24 minutes and a bit of space to exercise. The short, effective routine was developed by Anna Engelschall, the trainer behind the popular YouTube fitness channel growingannanas

It's a quick no-repeat routine that'll raise your heart rate for long-lasting fat-burning effects and train your core simultaneously. You'll do each move for 20 seconds, take a 10-second rest, and then tackle the next exercise. 

If this sounds a lot like High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), where you train hard before taking a short break, that's because it is. Technically, it's a form of HIIT known as a Tabata workout.

Tabata routines generally last four minutes, and you exercise for 20 seconds with a 10-second break between moves. However, step up the intensity, Engelschall's workout puts six Tabata rounds back-to-back, creating a heart-pumping 24-minute session.

Watch growingannanas' 24-minute Tabata workout

Although there are several cardio-focused exercises, including burpees, jumping jacks, and running on the spot, most of the workout is dedicated to core-strengthening abs exercises.

These are designed to train your core and rectus abdominis (the abs muscle responsible for your six-pack). Your core is an area of mid-body muscle that promotes stability, reduces your risk of injury, and improves blood circulation. 

This session includes variations on workout staples like crunches, planks, and sit-ups, alongside multi-muscle compound exercises, including squats and mountain climbers. It's a varied and compelling mix. 

It's also what led one YouTube commenter to write, "I've been doing one of your workouts every second day for the past 3 months to mix things up (which has been very good for me). I love your workouts, the variety you offer and how you present your content."

If you want to use this session a few times a week, you could use the best workouts for abs to train your core on the between days. Like growingannanas' routine, most of these exercises are also equipment-free.

If you want to add some weights into the mix, it's worth picking up a set of the best adjustable dumbbells for space-saving at-home workouts. You can quickly switch the load mid-workout, making them a convenient and effective way to build muscle.

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.

In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.