The segment, which is broken down into six, one-minute abdominal workouts, combines moves like the bicycle, plank and classic sit-up. It’s not only efficient, but also effective.
If practiced regularly, six-minute abs can help you develop a stronger core by strengthening a wide variety of abdominal and back muscles.
The challenge can be done in a gym, dorm or apartment and requires nothing but your body and a stopwatch. Push yourself through each minute for satisfying results that you can be proud of!
Start the series by holding a plank for one minute. The plank is one of the best exercises to achieve a flat, toned stomach because it works all the muscles in your core, including the rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus, internal and external obliques, hips and back.
For the second segment, complete a set of standard crunches for one minute. Another move which targets your rectus abdominus (your six-pack muscles)—standard crunches can be highly effective at strengthening your core if they’re performed correctly. Make sure to keep your elbows out straight as they support your head and neck and focus your eyes on a ceiling spot instead of the floor. You’ll feel the difference in your workout when these small details are given the proper attention.
Return to holding a plank for the third segment. At this point in the series, your abs should feel engaged and you may even feel a burning or tingling sensation in your core—this means you’re working hard. Don’t quit.
Lie on your back for the fourth segment to perform your bicycle crunches. Keep your hands behind your head and your feet outstretched (but off the ground), as you alternate, left and right, doing your best to touch your elbow to your opposite knee cap. If this is your first time doing bicycle crunches, it’s best to do them slowly to ensure you’re maintaining proper form. As you become more familiar with this move, you can pick up the pace.
This is the last plank in the series—congratulations! Your abs will probably be tired by this point, so remember to focus on proper form to prevent injury. Protect your shoulders by making sure that your elbows are directly beneath them. Continue to breathe throughout the entire series. Focusing on your breathing not only helps keep the blood flowing through your body, but can also provide a distraction for your mind while the remaining seconds pass.
Celebrate the last minute with a segment of your choice. End the series on a high note by picking your favorite abdominal exercise. Are classic crunches your thing? Or maybe, you’ve always enjoyed the pilates roll-up. This is your last 60 seconds, so really power through and enjoy the opportunity to have some freedom with the routine.
Photo by Ashley Zucker