There’s a reason there are so many 10-minute abs workouts: you can do a really good abs workout in just 10 minutes. That might not seem like long enough, but if you’ve ever done a short but intense ab workout, you know it is. (Even an abs workout as short as 4 minutes can be deadly.)
Some days you might only have 10 minutes to devote to a workout. Or maybe you just like to start the day with a little sweat and want to feel like your heart is warmed up and ready to take on the day – it’s not a bad idea if you’re about to sit down on a chair for several hours.
Whatever your reasons, read on for information on ab exercises and a quick 10-minute routine you can try tomorrow morning or any time of day you really want.
The muscles that make up the abdominals
When you think of abs, you probably think of the rectus abdominis, which is the outermost layer of abdominal muscles, or these six muscles. But four main muscles make up your abs: rectus abdominis, external obliques, internal obliques, and transverse abdominis. The obliques are the muscles that run along each side of your torso from the ribs to the hips, and the transverse abdominis is the deepest abdominal muscle, sitting between the rectus abdominis and the spine and playing a role major in stabilizing the spine.
The core includes all these abdominal muscles more lower back, hip and pelvic floor muscles.
Having strong abdominal muscles and a strong core overall is important for almost any movement you do. A strong midsection supports and stabilizes your spine; it helps improve and prevent lower back pain; it helps you maintain good posture; it is even essential for keeping the hips and knees properly aligned. All of these things are important for your body to move and function well and to avoid injury.
The best and fastest way to work abs
If you’re doing compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, pushups, lunges, and just about any other big bodyweight movement, congratulations: you’re working your abs without even realizing it. Any movement that engages multiple muscle groups and joints requires serious core activation to maintain body stability. This is even truer if you’re doing side-to-side moves (think side lunges) or single-leg moves (think reverse lunges or single-leg deadlifts) that demand even more of your core to keep your stable body.
Even traditional cardio workouts like running and cycling work the core if you do them with good posture and making sure to engage your abs throughout.
If you want to do a workout that specifically targets the abs, you can definitely keep it short and sweet – you already work those muscles in your usual routine. Plus, it doesn’t take long to feel a serious burn when performing moves that target the abs. The key is to keep the muscles under tension for as long as possible before giving them a break. That said, it only takes 10 seconds to feel your muscles engaged.