This 10-minute ab workout builds core strength without weights

When you're short on time, this quick core workout is an effective way to train

Man doing a core workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When you want to stay active if you're tight on time or away from home, it's essential to find the most time-efficient way to exercise, like this quick ab workout. It's an effective way to develop your core without weights, and it only takes 10 minutes.

The reason core strengthening exercises are so important is that your core, a section of mid-body muscle, plays a vital role in your workout performance, promotes circulation, and improves your balance and stability.

Although learning how to do kettlebell swings is a great way to work your whole body—including your core—and burn fat, YouTube trainer Chris Heria's (opens in new tab) equipment-free routine is ideal for fitting into a busy schedule.

There are variations on workout staples like planks and sit-ups alongside moves like jumping jacks and Russian twists. These exercises train the whole core, including your rectus abdominis, otherwise known as the six-pack ab muscle.

To fit the nine moves into just 10 minutes, you'll exercise for 45 seconds, take a 15-second rest, then start the next move. If you want to increase the intensity, Heria also demonstrates how to add a dumbbell to each move.

Watch Chris Heria's 10-minute ab workout

This is a workout style known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), where the aim is to exercise intensely for short bursts, take a quick rest, then continue with the routine. It's an efficient way to build muscle but has other benefits too.

According to research published in the journal eLife (opens in new tab), HIIT causes physical changes in our muscles, increasing the energy we burn. This is why many people use a HIIT workout for fat loss to help them reach their weight loss goals.

Consistency is the key to seeing results from Heria's routine. It's an effective workout if you only have 10 minutes to spare, but making it a regular part of your schedule and continually challenging yourself is the fastest way to build muscle.

If you do this program a few times a week, you'll start to get used to the bodyweight versions of each move. But adding one of the best adjustable dumbbells into the routine is a great way to increase the resistance and continue building core strength.

Plus, then you can learn how to deadlift with dumbbells for a multi-muscle compound exercise that develops your core, legs, glutes, back, and arms. The dynamic move also improves your mobility, helping you stay active as you age too.

James Frew
Staff Writer

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.