You Only Need 20 Moves And 20 Minutes For A Comprehensive Abs Session

Man performing abs exercise on mat outside
(Image credit: Pankration / Getty Images)

There are lots of abs exercises you can do, but even so, kudos to Chris Heria, the founder of the calisthenics program ThenX, for finding and sequencing 20 moves into this abs workout, especially since they’re all bodyweight exercises.

This workout takes just 20 minutes, but will target the abdominal wall and challenge even the strongest and fittest athletes. It’s a no-repeat workout, although be prepared to work through multiple variations of planks, sit-ups and crunches.

It’s a session to come back to regularly if you’re trying to develop six-pack abs, although, as Herria says, when you want to improve the appearance of your abs it’s more important to focus on nutrition. Everyone has abdominal muscles, it’s just that most people's aren’t visible because a totally normal and healthy layer of body fat is covering them. If you have the aesthetic goal of revealing them, a typical six-pack diet involves achieving a calorie deficit and increasing the proportion of protein on your plate. However, strengthening the muscles via workouts like this one will help achieve better muscle definition. 

There are also benefits to building strong abs that have nothing to do with looks. They can help with balance and stability, and improve your efficiency during strength training and aerobic exercise.

You don’t need equipment for this workout and can follow along with Heria in the video below as he demonstrates the 20 exercises.

This session targets a range of muscles including the rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, and the transverse abdominis. Heria incorporates cardio exercises into the workout—such as burpees and mountain climbers—that will help you burn calories too.

Think about squeezing your core throughout these exercises, because this will ensure your abdominal muscles are engaged and active. It will maximize the strengthening benefits and also make the exercises feel easier.

Looking for more ways to train your abs? Change things up with this standing abs workout, or add weights into the mix with this dumbbell abs workout.

Alice Porter

Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.