Six moves and six minutes is all you need to strengthen your abs and boost your core stability

A strong core can boost your balance, reduce lower back pain and even improve your athletic performance

A woman doing abs bikes outside
(Image credit: Getty / Igor-Kardasov)

Not every workout has to take an hour or more. If you're short on time but still want to squeeze some movement into your day, try this six-minute routine from Sweat co-founder and personal trainer Kayla Itsines. 

The session format is simple: there are are six exercises and each one is performed for 40 seconds followed by 20 seconds of rest.

Watch Itsines' video below to find out which core strengthening exercises await you and pay close attention to her demonstrations to pick up some technique pointers. 

Watch Kayla Itsines' six minute abs workout

We rate this as one of the best abs workouts you can do if you don't have long to exercise, as it's such an efficient, comprehensive routine. By challenging you to bend forward during the toe taps, twist with the ab bikes, lift your legs for the flutter kicks and keep a stable spine throughout the side-to-side plank, Itsines' workout strengthens a wide variety of your all-important core muscles.  

Your core muscles are a collection of mid-body muscles responsible for linking the upper body and lower body, moving and stabilizing the spine, and sparing the spine from excessive load. They include, but are not limited to, the abdominal muscles, such as the rectus abdominis (responsible for the six-pack shape), your breathing muscles and your hip muscles. 

Strengthening these areas can boost your balance, contribute to good posture, improve your performance in other sports and even save you from back pain by sparing your lower back from extra load. So this six-minute session boasts some impressive potential benefits for such a short routine. 

It's also an example of a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, pairing short bursts of activity with minimal rest times to spike your heart rate, elevating calorie burn and challenging your cardio fitness. 

We'd recommend using this routine as a finisher after your usual workout, or you could try pairing it with some lower-body leg workouts, to target an even wider range of muscles.

Harry Bullmore
Fitness Writer

Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.

Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.