It takes more than crunches to build abs—here are eight moves to try instead

Crunches are great, but this short workout adds some variety to develop core strength

Two people doing mountain climbers at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Crunches are some of the most identifiable ab exercises; they're effective, but they aren't your only option. If you want to add some variety to your ab workouts, skip regular crunches and give these eight exercises a go.

Even if you've already started using the best workouts for abs in your exercise routine, adding a few core strengthening variations keeps things exciting and helps develop a broader set of muscles.

Over the course of 10 minutes, you'll take on moves like Russian twists, hip raises, in-and-outs, and mountain climbers, with some plank, sit-up, and crunch variations making an appearance.

The aim is to complete as many repetitions of each exercise as you can for 45 seconds, take a 15-second rest, and then tackle the next move. This keeps the intensity high and helps develop core strength in less than 10 minutes.

The short session works your rectus abdominis (abs), the muscle behind your six-pack, and trains your core, an area of mid-body muscle that plays a crucial role in your workout performance.

Watch Chris Heria's eight-move ab workout

Your core promotes circulation, improves your balance, and reduces your risk of injury. It doesn't take long to see results, as according to a study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, some measures of core strength improve after just four weeks.

This eight-move ab workout was designed by Chris Heria, the online trainer known for his bodyweight strength training routines. This reputation for intense, mostly equipment-free exercise has earned him over 3.7 million YouTube subscribers.

To fit an effective, ab-blasting workout into just 10 minutes, Heria uses a technique known as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This encourages short but intense bouts of exercise followed by minimal rest to get results.

Because you don't need weights, these sessions are ideal for at-home training or keeping active while traveling. But it's worth giving Heria's 15-minute workout to build bigger arms a go if you have some weights handy.

All you need is a set of the best adjustable dumbbells—easily customizable weights that are easy to store as they combine several dumbbells in one—to work your triceps, biceps, and chest.

Between weighted workouts, it's worth learning how to do a push-up. This essential exercise is a compound move that works multiple upper body muscles all at once for convenient, equipment-free training you can do anywhere.

James Frew
James Frew

James is a London-based journalist and Staff Writer 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.