Develop your core with this 10-move equipment-free ab workout

In just 10 minutes, you can boost your metabolism, develop your abs, and strengthen your core

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

Whether you want to develop visible muscle around your abs or strengthen your core, you don't just need to do endless sit-ups and crunches. Instead, you can use this 10-minute, 10-move abs routine to strengthen your midsection without weights.

Although you can use equipment like one of the best ab rollers or the best kettlebells to develop mid-body muscle, it's not always practical to use these if you're away from the gym, traveling, or tight on time. That's where The Body Coach's short equipment-free workout comes in.

Joe Wicks, popularly known as The Body Coach, put together this quick ab-focused program with plenty of plank variations and crunch styles to keep things interesting. The workout is only 10 minutes, so it's perfect for busy schedules or as a workout finisher, or you could repeat the round for an extended core session.

The key to its effectiveness is the intensity of your training. To pack 10 moves into the time, you'll exercise for 40 seconds, take a 20-second rest, then start on the next exercise. Wicks does the whole session with you, so you can follow along and perfect your technique as you go.

As many of the moves are floor-based, you might find it a bit more comfortable to lay out one of the best yoga mats. If you don't have one to hand, you can roll up a towel or blanket for a bit of support when doing elbow planks or unroll to add a bit of comfort during the crunches.

Watch The Body Coach's ab workout

You might think 10 minutes doesn't sound long enough to make an impact, but the training style means you can see muscle-building results even from a short workout. It's known as high-intensity resistance training (HIRT), where the aim is to exercise intensely in short bursts with minimal rest.

HIRT routines typically also include weights, but you can find plenty of options, like Wicks' session, which rely on your body weight alone to strengthen your muscles. This is in contrast to high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which is similar but focuses on cardio fitness rather than strength.

But both training techniques also help raise your heart rate, which burns energy during your workout and creates longer-term changes, like boosting your metabolism. This is why many people use a HIIT workout for fat loss, and this fat-burning potential also plays a role in Wicks' routine.

If you want to develop visible six-pack abs, you need to reduce the amount of fat around your stomach. You can't spot-target fat, though, so using high-intensity routines means you can combine muscle-building moves with fat-burning exercise, helping you get a time-efficient workout.

When you want similar results with weights, it's worth picking up a kettlebell and learning how to do kettlebell swings. This high-intensity move works your whole body, strengthens your core, raises your heart rate and boosts your metabolism.

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.