Use this five-minute ab workout to build a stronger core

You can sculpt your midsection using only your bodyweight

A man standing after an ab workout
(Image credit: Getty)

You don't need to spend an hour hammering out sit-ups and crunches to sculpt a strong core; we've found a workout that will have your abs feeling the burn in just five minutes.

And if you think these results are only possible with expensive equipment, you'd be wrong. All you need is your bodyweight, although using one of the best yoga mats is recommended if you're exercising on an unforgiving floor. 

The session has been programmed by Jay Maryniak, better known by his Instagram and YouTube handle JTM Fit. He has been a fitness instructor for 12 years, with NASM-certifications as both a personal trainer and a corrective exercise specialist, among other qualifications. 

This workout contains just five exercises, and Maryniak challenges you to complete as many reps as possible of each one in 60 seconds. So for the first minute you'll be tackling plank jacks, then you'll be doing a v-up complex during the second minute, and so on. 

Watch Maryniak's demonstrations of the five exercises below to learn how to perform them with perfect form, then give this short, sharp session a go for yourself. 

Watch JTM Fit's five-minute ab workout

When people are on the hunt for the best abs workout, what they're really looking for is a way to train and accentuate the rectus abdominis. This is the muscle found between between your ribs and pelvis, responsible for flexing the spine and providing the much-coveted "six-pack" shape. 

However, the core is made up of several muscles including the stablizing transverse abdominis, and the internal and external obliques that help rotate your trunk. So, a great ab workout (like this one from Maryniak) should activate more of your core than just the rectus abdominis.

Building comprehensive core strength can help improve your balance, stability and help prevent lower back pain, according to the Harvard Medical School. This, in turn, can boost your performance in other sports and movements, with many compound exercises like squats and deadlifts calling on your core to support your trunk throughout. 

Maryniak says this workout can be used as a standalone session if you're short on time, but he suggests tacking it on to a longer bout of resistance training as a "finisher" (a quick, intense sequence of exercises designed to get one last burst of effort out of your workout). If you have the time, try pairing it with this chest and back workout or one of the best leg workouts

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.