A 30-Minute Core Workout to Target Every Abdominal Muscle

For the most part, when doing a workout, it’s smart to let the muscles you work extra hard recover for a day or two before you test their strength again. But when it comes to your core, the four major abdominal muscles can work about a million (don’t quote me on that) different ways so you can “work them out” more frequently.

Truthfully, everything we do should also be a core workout because it’s what keeps us safe and doing every kind of exercise effectively, the way it should be done. A core workout like this one targets your rectus abdominis, external obliques, internal obliques and the transverse abdominis. That being said, you might want to give yourself a rest day between this workout and the next workout where you go all out for abs.

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Here’s your core workout:

You’ll do every move for 30 seconds. Every other move will be either a :30 high plank or :30 forearm plank (alternating). It looks like a lot, but it will go by quickly. Once you get through every exercise one time, repeat it two more times. You’ll end up with 28 straight minutes of core work.

  • Sprinter abs
  • High plank
  • Side-to-side abs
  • Forearm plank
  • Reverse crunch
  • High Plank
  • Russian twists
  • Forearm plank
  • Hovering butterfly
  • High Plank
  • Straight leg alternating bicycles
  • Pulse right side
  • Straight leg bicycle
  • Pulse left side
  • Side plank hold
  • Hip dips & lifts
  • Rolling superman to v-up
  • Side plank hold other side
  • Add hip dips and lifts

This is what they all look like:

Sprinter abs: From a supine position, Hover your feet and lift your shoulder slightly.  As you exhale, lift your body up, pull your right knee into a bicycle position and twist your body towards your right leg, maintaining sprinter arms. Lower back down then switch sides.
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High plank: Stack your shoulders over your wrists and press back through your heels with the top of your head reaching forward. Keep your shoulders, hips and heels in one long line from head to toe.

Side-to-side abs: Plant your hands right by your hips, fingertips facing toes. Bring your knees in towards your chest while keeping your spine long and chest lifted. Shift your hips and knees left to activate your right external obliques. Come through center and rock the other way.

To make it harder, straighten your legs (as pictured).
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Forearm plank: Just as you would set up for your high plank, the same cues apply. This time, stack your shoulders right on top of your elbows, making your forearms create an “11” or two parallel lines.

Reverse crunch: Lie on your back with your legs extended straight up. Press your arms firmly on the ground beside you, palms down. As you exhale, lift your legs straight up in the air (not behind you), engaging your lowest ab muscles. Slowly lower your tailbone back to the ground.
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Russian twists: Sitting on the floor with your heels planted, lean back to engage your core keeping your back flat and shoulders rolled back. Twist gently to the right and then back to the left. Moving from right to left is one rep.
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Hovering butterfly: Lie on your back, feet in a diamond shape and hands above your head. Draw your belly to your spine as you hover your ankles off the ground. Exhale and lift up, swimming your arms out and through to reach towards your ankles. Inhale on the way back down with the option to lower your feet to the ground or keep them hovering as you reach back and up.
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Straight leg alternating bicycles: Lie on your back and extend your right leg up and your left leg out. Place your hands behind your head. Keeping your elbows out wide, exhale, lift your shoulders up and twist your left elbow towards your right leg. Keep your shoulders up the whole time and switch to your left leg up, right elbow across.
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Pulse right side: From your straight leg bicycle position, hold the twist of your upper body on the right side. You can keep your hands behind your head or extend your arms forward and clasp them so that your fingers create a sword shape and pulse up on a diagonal to the right. After one more set of straight leg bicycles switching, pulse holding on the left side.

Side plank hold: Place your right hand on the ground and stack your shoulders as you left your left arm high. Either place your bottom knee down or stack your feet, as if you were standing on the wall in front of you. Keep your hips and shoulders stacked the whole time – avoiding letting your body rock forward or backward.

Hip dips & lifts: From your side plank position, lower your hips toward the ground and exhale to lift your hips back up through center and continue lifting to an arched position (like a rainbow). Move your arms as pictured to accentuate the movement more.
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Rolling superman to v-up: Make sure you aren’t on on a really hard surface for this one. Start lying in a supine position and lift and extend your legs and arms to hover. Engage your core to roll your body over onto your stomach, keeping your legs and arms lifted if possible, until you are in a superman position. Keep your neck long the whole time (i.e. your gaze is just in front of you). Keep rolling in that direction to make it back onto your back – legs and arms still extended and hovering. Now roll back the other way to get to your superman shape, pause there and then roll again back to your starting position.asweatlife_coreworkout_vuptosuperman4 asweatlife_coreworkout_vuptosuperman3 asweatlife_coreworkout_vuptosuperman2 asweatlife_coreworkout_vuptosuperman

(Disclaimer: This workout is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor is it a replacement for seeking medical treatment or professional nutrition advice. Do not start any nutrition or physical activity program without first consulting your physician.)

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About Maggie Umberger

Maggie moved to Chicago from North Carolina in 2014 with a degree in Journalism and Spanish, a 200-hour yoga certification, a group fitness cert and a passion to teach and to sweat. It wasn't until she found aSweatLife that she really started to feel at home. Here, she's incorporated her passion for health and wellness into her career as she helps to build the network of Ambassadors, trainers and fitness enthusiasts that exist within the aSweatLife ecosystem. You can also find her coaching at CrossTown Fitness and teaching yoga classes at Bare Feet Power Yoga, Yoga Six and exhale.