Build strength and definition in your core with this four-move ab workout

This short ab circuit will tone your abdominal muscles as well as strengthen core muscle

Woman performing an ab workout
(Image credit: Getty)

Like with all long-lasting fitness goals, building strength and definition across your abs requires consistency. However, it doesn't have to rob you of all your spare time—this four-exercise ab routine targets your core muscles and shouldn't take longer than 10 minutes to complete.

This workout uses a mix of body and weighted moves. A dumbbell is recommended to increase the intensity but if you don't own one of the best adjustable dumbbells you can just use a household item such as a bottle or door stopper. Or make use of the free weights available in your gym and learn how to use free weight exercises to build muscle while you're at it.

This workout created by fitness trainer Lisa Lanceford (opens in new tab) is great as a standalone routine or will work as a quick core burn after your regular workouts. Lanceford is best known for creating gym and home-friendly workouts suitable for building strength and muscle across the body. This session is all about refining the ab muscles so grab one of the best yoga mats to work on and get ready to engage your core.

The aim is to complete three rounds of each exercise. The reps vary per exercise but don't exceed anything more than 15 repetitions.

Watch Lisa Lanceford's Four Move Ab Workout

The four moves include variations of popular ab exercises such as crunches and the plank. Using lying knee-to-elbow crunches, side plank knee-to-elbow crunches, plank forward taps, and weighted leg variations you will create small tears in your muscle fibers. When this occurs the muscle then rebuilds when you rest and becomes stronger. 

Staying consistent with ab exercise alongside a manageable fitness regime and balanced diet will help you build a leaner physique and your muscles will become more and more toned. The more varied your ab exercises are the more defined your whole core will end up looking. Why not also learn how to train obliques for more defined abs.

Including ab exercises in your weekly routine is a helpful way to develop strength in your core. When your core is engaged in an exercise it teaches the muscles in your pelvis, hips, lower back, and abdomen to work better together. Your core stabilizes your whole body and is essential when it comes to improving things like balance, posture, and stability. 

If you suffer from back pain, which according to a review conducted by the Journal of Physical Therapy Science (opens in new tab) over five percent of Americans do, weakened core muscles have been associated with intensifying this pain and causing mobility issues. So there is no harm in spending a little time each day working your ab and core muscles to prevent further problems in your back.

The best way to make sure these muscles have the appropriate conditions to recover under is through nourishing your body well. Protein is an excellent ingredient for rest, repair, and growth in the body so make sure your diet is high in it. You can always add one of the best protein powders for weight loss to your diet, such as blended into a shake or some oats to increase your protein intake.

Jessica Downey
Jessica Downey

Jessica is Staff Writer at Fit&Well. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 


When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.