It only takes eight minutes to build core strength without weights

This short bodyweight session develops mid-body muscle and takes less than 10 minutes

Man performing bicycle crunches
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There's this idea that you need to do endless crunches and sit-ups if you want to train your abs. These essential moves do work, but you can develop comprehensive core strength and keep things more interesting with this 12-move, equipment-free ab workout. 

You won't need the best ab rollers or equipment to get started, making it an ideal session when you're short on time, away from home, or in a crowded gym. And you only need to do standard crunches for 30 seconds before moving on to several variations, like cross and bicycle crunches.  

The routine comes from YouTube fitness duo Tiff x Dan and is designed to give you a core-strengthening mid-body workout in less than 10 minutes. It's an effective routine on its own, but alternatively, you could add it to the end of your regular training as an ab-focused finisher. 

You'll do each exercise for 30 seconds, take a 10-second rest, then start on the next move. According to the duo: "If you need to stop and take additional breaks, do it. Go at your pace and give it your best. Repeat this ab workout until you can do it without taking any extra breaks."

To get the most from your training and avoid injury, it's crucial to practice your technique before starting. Then, when you feel ready, you can follow along with Dan's demonstrations in the video below and fine-tune your form as you go. 

Watch Tiff x Dan's eight-minute ab workout

You might notice that people generally use abs and core interchangeably, but there are some key differences. Your core is a section of mid-body muscles that link your upper and lower body, promote circulation, increase stability and play a role in your workout performance. 

Muscles like your rectus abdominis (often referred to as the "six-pack muscle") form part of your core. So, if you're using the best abs workouts in your sessions, you'll also be building core strength. However, if your goal is to develop visible muscle around your torso, it'll take more than crunches. 

To achieve a six-pack, you also need to reduce the amount of fat around your stomach. You can't spot-reduce fat in specific areas through training, so you'll need to use other exercise styles to boost your metabolism for sustainable, long-term results; Tiff x Dan's routine can help here, too. 

This workout uses a technique known as high-intensity resistance training (HIRT), where the aim is to exercise intensely in short bursts with minimal rest. The programmed movements challenge your muscles while also raising your heart rate, increasing your metabolism for all-day fat-burning results. 

But you'll also need to fuel your body with the proper nutrients to help your muscles repair after an intense session. Protein is a key macronutrient for muscle maintenance and growth, which is why many people choose to add the best protein powders for weight loss to their post-workout smoothie. These supplements are high in protein but without added sugars or calories to help you develop a lean physique. 

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.