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12-Minute Ab Workout

Add This 12-Minute Workout to Your Routine For Sculpted Abs

The following post was originally featured on Jill Conyers and written by Jill Conyers, who is part of POPSUGAR Select Fitness.

Ever have one of those weekends that is exceptional and you hate to see it end? That was my weekend. It was relaxing, productive, fun and with a lot of laughs. See why I didn't want it to end?

Friday I mentioned a surprise date night with my husband. [Best surprise ever] we went to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra, my all time favorite Christmas music. The show was phenomenal and even better than I imagined it would be.


This week is a supplemental workout of 12 minutes targeting the core. First, how about a little anatomy?

Your core is more than your abs and they're not synonymous. The abdominals are essential in the core muscle group and they include all the muscles of your back and your obliques.

Primary Core Muscles:

Rectus abdominis: the six-pack muscles in front of the belly that are activated when you do crunches.

Transverse abdominis: deep muscles under the six-pack that pull your abdominal wall inward.

Obliques: the ab muscles on the sides of your torso that help you bend to the side and resist rotation.

Hip flexors: the muscles that allow you to flex your hips and raise your upper legs to walk and run.

Lower back: the many muscles here play an important role in core mechanics by keeping your spine stable when you bend backward.

Now on to the workout.

Supplement your workouts with this workout 2 days a week to sculpt your abs and strengthen your core.

Equipment needed:

  • Mat
  • 2-5 pound dumbbell
  • Timer


  • Brace your core.
  • Use proper body alignment and good form.
  • Reps and rest periods should be based on your fitness level.
  • Modify as needed to meet your fitness level by increasing/decreasing reps, weight and sets.
  • Gradually increase intensity based on your progress.

I am a certified personal trainer, but this workout was not created for your specific fitness level and needs. Make modifications as needed. Intensity and rest periods should be based on your individual fitness level. See your physician before beginning any exercise program. This web site is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice and supervision of your personal physician. Any application of this or any other exercise routine set forth in this program is at the viewer's discretion and sole risk.

Wood Chop (1) Hold a single dumbbell with both hands above your right shoulder. (2) Rotate your torso to the right and, with control, swing the dumbbell down and to the outside of your left knee by rotating to the left and bending at your hips. (3) Reverse the movement to return to the start position. (4) Complete the prescribed number of reps on the left side, then do the same on your right side, holding the dumbbell over your left shoulder.

Toe Touch Crunch (1) Start in position of a basic crunch, then lift your legs off the floor and hold them up toward the ceiling with your feet flexed. (2) Holding your arms straight up with your fingers toward your toes, perform a basic crunch with your fingers touching your toes.

Boat Pose (1) Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. (2) Keeping them straight, raise your legs until they are at a 90-degree angle from your torso. (3) Your torso will naturally fall back, but instead of letting the spine collapse, make a V-shape with your body. (4) Bring the arms out straight in line with your shoulders to a balance. Beginners, bend your knees if necessary, bringing the calves parallel to the floor (Half Boat Pose).

Plank with Hip Rotations (1) Assume a plank position with your forearms flat on the floor and your palms down. Your body should form a straight line from your head to you ankles. Brace your core. (2) Keeping your hands in place and using your feet as the pivot point, twist your body to the left as far as possible without losing your balance. Don't change your lower back posture as you twist your body. (3) Repeat to the right, that's one rep.

Standing Oblique Crunch (1) Stand with your shoulders in line with your hips and raise your right arm. (2) Shift on to your left leg and lift and rotate your right leg at the hip, turning your toes out. (3) Crunch your right elbow and your right knee together, pinching your waist. Return to the start position. (4) Complete the prescribed number of reps on the right side, then do the same on your left side.

Circle Crunch (1) Lie face up with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor, and your hands behind your head with your fingers lightly touching. (2) Lift your shoulders off the floor until you feel a tight contraction. (3) Curl your torso around in a small, clockwise circular motion (starting from 6 to 9 to 12 to 3 o'clock and back down to 6). That's one rep. (4) For the next rep, repeat in the opposite, counterclockwise direction.

Plank (1) Start in a push-up position except keep your hands directly under your shoulders instead of outside of your chest. (2) Legs are straight out behind you with feet together. (3) You are balancing on your palms and the balls of your feet. Hold this position. Gradually increase the time you can hold this position with good form.

Supplementing this workout with your workouts for the week might look like this:

Image Source: Jill Conyers
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