A Fitness Model’s 10-Minute Abs Workout—No Equipment Needed

Gilles Souteyrand demonstrates the hollow body rock
(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

If you want to develop the muscles in your midsection you need to work them hard, but you’ll find that exercises that target them directly wear them out pretty quickly. That’s why our recommended abs workouts are so short, and why this 10-minute abs workout designed by fitness model Gilles Souteyrand is so effective. 

“This circuit is easy to follow but works your core incredibly hard, so it forces your abs to become stronger and more defined,” he says. “It’s vital that you activate your abs before you start and then keep them tensed throughout each move to work the muscles close to their capacity. By the end they should be cramping and painful, but that’s what it takes to make them look and perform better.”

Souteyrand was speaking after the launch of his Body By Gilles workout and nutrition plan. This type of direct abs work complements alternating days of high- and low-intensity workouts on the plan. Now in his 40s, Souteyrand also emphasizes the importance of mobility work, and this session employs the kick-out, or sit-out, which is one of our favorite mobility exercises.

How To Do This 10-Minute Abs Workout

Do the nine moves in order for 20sec each, resting for 10sec between moves. At the end rest for 30sec, then repeat the circuit. That’s it.

“Do this at the end of a session a couple of times a week, then change the moves you do – keep changing the exercises to keep your abs guessing,” says Souteyrand. “And always stretch afterwards with some yoga movements.”

Choose from these abs exercises to update the workout once your body is used to the moves below, and use this stretching routine to warm down afterwards.

1 Hollow plank

Time 20sec Rest 10sec

Why It works your all abs muscles, including the deep-lying stability muscles, as well as strengthening your lower back.

How Lie on your back with your arms and legs fully extended. Contract your abs and raise your hands and feet off the floor. Maintain this tension on your core for 20 seconds without letting your hands or feet touch the floor.

2 Plank side-to-side feet jump and tuck

Gilles Souteyrand demonstrates the plank side-to-side feet jump and tuck

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Time 20sec Rest 10sec

Why It works your upper and lower abs, as well as your obliques (side abs).

How Start in the top of the press-up position, then jump your feet forwards so your knees come towards your hands. From there kick your legs back and to one side, then bring your knees back into the middle and then out to the other side. Focus on keeping each jump smooth while maintaining tension on your working muscles.

Bicycle crunch

Gilles Souteyrand demonstrates two positions of the bicycle crunch

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Time 20sec Rest 10sec

Why It primarily works your obliques, but your upper and lower abs are also heavily recruited to keep your upper back and feet up off the floor.

How Lie on your back, then crunch your torso up while lifting your feet from the floor. Crunch and twist your torso so your elbow comes forwards while bringing in the opposite knee, so they meet over your body. Reverse the move to the start position, then repeat with the opposite elbow and knee, making sure you keep your feet off the floor for the full 20 seconds.

4 Rolling plank

Gilles Souteyrand demonstrates the rolling plank abs exercise

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Time 20sec Rest 10sec

Why A tough variation on the classic plank that places more emphasis on your obliques.

How Start in the plank, resting on your forearms with your elbows under your shoulders. Roll to one side so that your hip touches the floor, then roll back to the other side so that hip touches the floor. Repeat, keeping the movement slow and controlled.

5 Heel touch

Gilles Souteyrand demonstrates the heel touch abs exercise

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Time 20sec Rest 10sec

Why Far harder than it looks, this move works your upper abs and obliques.

How Lie with your upper back off the ground, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Crunch and reach forwards with one straight arm to touch your ankle, then go back to the start and repeat on the other side. Keep your upper back off the floor throughout.

6 Side plank crunch

Gilles Souteyrand demonstrates the side plank crunch

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Time 20sec Rest 10sec

Why Another move that works your obliques, while the crunch movement recruits the small stabilising muscles to keep you balanced

How Start in a side plank position resting on one forearm, with your elbow under your shoulder. Hold your top arm straight out next to your head with your top leg raised. Contract your abs to bring your elbow and knee together, then straighten both back out. Swaps sides for the second set.

7 Legs-together hip thrust

Gilles Souteyrand demonstrates the legs-together hip thrust exercise

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Time 20sec Rest 10sec

Why One of the hardest and best ways to work your lower abs, which is crucial if you want to turn a four-pack into a six-pack

How Lie on your back with your legs together and raised off the floor, and your arms straight and on the floor. Contract your abs to lift and raise your glutes and lower back off the floor. Hold this position at the top, then lower back to the start and repeat.

8 Press-up kick-out

Gilles Souteyrand demonstrates the different stages of the press-up kick-out exercise

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Time 20sec Rest 10sec

Why A challenging but rewarding move that works your chest and shoulders as well as your abs.

How Perform a press-up then, as you return to the start position, go onto one hand to raise your torso and kick your leg through, Return to the start position, do another press-up, then repeat but kick through to the other side. Keep each rep smooth and controlled and make sure your abs are fully engaged to prevent yourself from falling over.

9 Plank with leg raise

Gilles Souteyrand demonstrates the plank with leg raise

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Time 20sec Rest 10sec

Why Raising your legs alternately will force your entire core to remain activated for the full 20 seconds of work

How Start in the plank position, resting on your forearms with your elbows under your shoulders. Brace your core, then raise one foot as high as you can, keeping your leg straight. Lower it again, then raise your other leg. Keep each rep smooth and controlled, and hold your foot in the top position briefly to really work the abs hard.

Can a 10-minute abs workout be effective?

You can certainly get an effective abs workout done in 10 minutes, but it’s going to be a hard 10 minutes. This is an area of the body where it is possible to achieve a lot in a short space of time, because the muscles tire quickly when placed under constant tension, as they are in the workout above.

In order to get an effective workout, you have to be disciplined with your rest periods, and spend some of that rest period getting into position to begin the next exercise as soon as 10 seconds have elapsed. Make sure you look through the exercises involved a couple of times before you start. You also have to know when to move slowly and with control to maximize the benefits, such as with the rolling plank above, and when to work at a high intensity, as with the second exercise when you’re jumping your feet forward and back.

Is it OK to do a 10-minute abs workout every day?

No, the smart approach is to give your muscles time to recover after the workout. Taking a rest day after the workout, or performing a workout that doesn’t directly target your abs, gives them time to recover and get stronger. Doing two or three workouts like this a week (which follow the principles of progressive overload) is more than enough to see results, and the days between those workouts are better spent training other parts of the body.

Joe Warner
Former editor of Men’s Fitness UK

Joe Warner is a highly experienced journalist and editor who began working in fitness media in 2008. He has featured on the cover of Men’s Fitness UK twice and has co-authored Amazon best-sellers including 12-Week Body Plan. He was the editor of Men’s Fitness UK magazine between 2016 and 2019, when that title shared a website with Coach.

With contributions from