Build abs with this five-minute no-equipment workout

Develop core strength and create six-pack muscle with this short ab-defining routine

Woman holding a plank outside
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether you're a newcomer to ab workouts or need a quick session to fit in on a busy day, this five-minute core-blasting routine is just what you need. You don't need any equipment either, so you can do it from anywhere.

It's a great standalone session and complements the best workouts for abs for core-defining results. The routine was developed by trainer and YouTube coach Fraser Wilson, best known for his at-home online workouts.

While exercising your rectus abdominis muscle, otherwise known as your abs, can help you develop a six-pack, there's more to this area of your body than visually impressive muscle.

Your abs form part of your core, an area of mid-body muscle that plays a vital role in your workout performance, promotes good circulation, improves your stability, and reduces back pain.

This five-minute workout combines several plank and crunch variations to target your abs. Although you can follow along to perfect your form, it's worth learning how to do a plank and crunches to get the most from your training.

Watch Fraser Wilson's five-minute beginner abs workout

Aside from the immediate benefits, according to research published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, core strength also helps us stay active as we get older and improves our quality of life.

The study's authors analyzed previously published research and found that 2-3 sessions a week could "improve static and dynamic stability, [a] number of aspects in the quality of life, [and] cognitive functions such as memory and spatial cognition."

Many of Wilson's programs make good use of weights, like a set of the best adjustable dumbbells. Whether you want to build bigger arms or add resistance to bodyweight moves, these weights are ideal for exercising at home.

The space-saving equipment combines several dumbbells into a single unit, so you don't need to invest in an entire weights rack. Plus, you can quickly switch loads mid-workout, helping you focus on your training.

If you have a set handy, then it's worth taking on Wilson's 15-minute dumbbell routine to build bigger arms. The short session helps train your forearms, triceps, and biceps to strengthen your upper body.

After exercising, you might find that your muscles feel sore and tight. This post-workout pain, known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), is caused by small tears in the muscle fibers that your body needs to repair.

You can help the process along by massaging the affected areas using one of the best foam rollers. These promote blood flow into the muscle to aid recovery and reduce the pain, so you'll be ready for your next workout in no time.

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.