Strengthen your abs in just three minutes with this no-equipment core workout

This very short workout targets your abdominal muscles, helping to tighten and tone your tummy

Man performs a V-sit
(Image credit: Getty)

If your ab and core muscles are your least favorite area to train then, firstly, you aren’t alone. Secondly, it doesn’t have to be a long and tedious job. Australian fitness trainer, Kayla Itsines, claims you can work your core in just three minutes and shows you how.

Many of us want to learn how to get a stronger core as having strength in this area enhances our performance in other forms of exercise such as running or even rowing on one of the best rowing machines and just in completing everyday tasks. The great thing about working our your abs is that it doesn’t require any additional equipment and can pretty much be done anywhere.

Kayla Itsines (opens in new tab), a personal trainer with 14 years of experience behind her and co-founder of the Sweat (opens in new tab) app developed this ab and core session. The workout is super simple to complete. You’ll take three minutes to perform three exercises and repeat this sequence three times over. It’s perfect for anyone who hates completing endless reps of standard sit-ups and instead includes various ab-focused exercises to help you build muscle and strength there.

Itsines claims, “3 minutes is all you need to work your core!”, and her followers on Instagram who have tried the workout already seem to appreciate this speedy core routine. One user wrote, “After having my second baby, my excuse is always “I don’t have time to workout”. This eliminates that excuse, I can’t say I don’t have 3 minutes.”

Next time you’ve got a spare few moments or can squeeze an additional three minutes into your next workout, set down one of the best yoga mats and give this a go.

Watch Kayla Itsines' Three-Minute Ab Workout

A post shared by KAYLA ITSINES (@kayla_itsines) (opens in new tab)

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For this workout you will only be working for twenty seconds during the exercises so do try and give it your all. Itsines demonstrates each move in her video so if you don’t quite feel it working your abdominal and core muscles then take a look at how she moves her body and replicate the correct form. 

As the full routine is so short it's a fairly easy one to remember, but the three exercises you will need for this routine are listed below.

Kayla Itsines' Three Move Three Minute Workout Exercises

  1. Plank dips (20 secs) 
  2. Mountain climber (20 secs) 
  3. Alternating crunch & toe tap (20 secs)

Resistance training plays an essential role when trying to develop muscle anywhere. It’s also great for boosting calories burned during a workout, helping shift fatty tissue. So it’s worthwhile incorporating strength-based exercise into your workout regime if you want to notice greater changes around your ab and core muscles.

Now, of course, adding in moves like deadlifts, squats, snatches, and overhead presses to your fitness regime will take longer than three minutes and requires a certain base level of strength as well as technique.

But if this doesn’t sound right for you, simply adding weight into some of the best abs workouts such as Russian twists, dead bugs, and scissor kicks can have a similar effect. Some of the best adjustable dumbbells can be incorporated into these moves and this kind of weight is modifiable, so you can tailor the weight size to your abilities and to different exercises.

Jessica Downey
Staff Writer

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.