HIIT Your Core

This fast and intense workout will get your abs fired up & ready for action

Sandra Bueckert
Photo: Perry Thompson

Here’s a short, sweet ten-minute core workout. This high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session includes three intense rounds of three core exercises followed by 30 seconds of mountain climbers and a rest period. It’s fast, effective and requires minimal equipment. You have 30 seconds to do the reps for each exercise.

Intensity does matter: on a scale of one to ten, you should be at an eight or higher during the 30 second bursts. Start with a 5-7 minute warm up and end with a 4-6 minute cool down to aid your recovery.

Workout: 3 Rounds

Finish each round with 30 seconds of mountain climbers (see photo above and description below), followed by your rest period.

  • Beginner: 10 reps/exercise. Rest period: 60-90 seconds.
  • Intermediate: 15 reps/exercise. Rest period 45-60 seconds.
  • Advanced: 20 reps/exercise. Rest period 30-45 seconds.

Mountain Climbers

Position yourself as if doing a plank on the floor. Lift each foot one at a time and bend your knee, bringing it under your torso and toward your elbows. Repeat as quickly as possible.

Round 1

Stability Ball Pass Off

Lay on the floor with the stability ball over your head, legs extended and core taut. Bring your arms up and raise your legs towards the arms and pass the ball between your feet.

Lower your legs down keeping the ball between your feet. Extend your arms overhead. Be sure to stop if your lower back starts to arch.

Stability Ball Pass Off

Russian Twists

Lay back on your stability ball. Your upper back is supported, hips elevated and knees are at 90 degrees. Maintain a straight line from shoulder to knees.

Extend your arms above you with palms touching. Rotate your core and shoulders to the right, while keeping the feet flat on the floor, come back to the midline and rotate to the other side.

Russian Twists

Stability Ball Ab Rollout

Begin by kneeling with the ball in front of you. Palms touching, bring your hands together and place them on top of the ball. Stay upright and keep your abdominals taut.

Roll the ball out in front of you until your forearms are on the ball and your body is at a 45 degree angle. Using your forearms, roll the ball back to your starting position.

Stability Ball Ab Rollout

Round 2

Stability Ball Back Extension

Kneel in front of your stability ball with feet against the wall. Pull the ball into your groin. Roll out on the ball so that you can extend your legs and take your feet apart so that you can stabilize yourself.

Keep your abdomen and hips firmly pressed into the ball while raising your upper body without hyperextending it.

Stability Ball Back Extension

Bicycle Crunch

Lay on your back and press your lower back into the mat. Place your hands behind your head, then bring your left knee towards your right elbow while lifting the right shoulder from the mat. Alternate for the desired number of reps.

Reverse Crunch on the Floor

Lay on your back, with knees directly over your hips (90 degrees) and lower legs parallel to the floor. Exhale, contract your abs and tilt your hips and knees toward your rib cage. Only your hips will leave the mat as you tilt. Keep the knees at the same angle and the head, neck and shoulders flat on the mat. Inhale and slowly lower the hips to starting position.

Beginner: Shorten your range of motion.

Reverse Crunch On The Floor

Round 3

Stability Ball Reverse Hyperextension

Maintain a taut core as you walk forward over the ball. Stop when your hips line up on top of the ball. Place hands shoulder-width apart on the floor while keeping your legs extended and feet close together.

Lift both legs from the floor until they are in line with your upper body. Don’t lift above the height of your torso. Inhale as you lower your legs to the floor.

Stability Ball Reverse Hyperextension

Stability Ball Jackknife

Place yourself in a push up position, shins on the ball. Maintain a straight line from your head to your heels. Keep your core tight while pulling the ball to your chest. Return to the starting position.

Alternate Heel Touches

Lay back on the floor and bend your knees. Keep your arms fully extended by your hips. Keep your mid-lower back in contact with the floor. Reach with your fully extended right arm to your right heel while keeping your core tight. Return to starting position and pause. Reach with fully extended left arm to your left heel. Return to the start position. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.