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5-Minute Intense Ab Circuit (No Equipment)

A five-move ab circuit at home to target the upper abs, lower abs, side abs (obliques) and deep core muscles. No equipment needed for this intense ab workout!

So you’ve mastered our 5-Minute Beginner Ab Workout and you’re ready to take it to the next level: THIS intense ab blast is for you! 

Five advanced ab exercises designed to strengthen your core from every angle.

And four of these core exercises involve some sort of plank variation, because planks are the best ab exercise to activate your ENTIRE CORE.

From Rectus Abdominis (six pack abs) to deep core muscles and obliques, this 5-minute ab circuit hits your abs from every angle!

Plank walk out exercise | Intense Ab Workout

5-Minute Intense Ab Circuit At Home

This ab circuit works as quick stand-alone abs blast, but I love to add it on to the end of strength training workout as an ab burnout.

Ultimately, you determine how hard this ab circuit will be: 

  1. How hard you push into your knee for hollow rock bicycle crunch and press (ab exercise #1).
  2. Whether you make side planks an isolation exercise, holding side plank; OR a compound ab exercise by adding an oblique crunch to your side plank (ab exercise #2 and 4).
  3. How far you extend your arms away from your body on low plank reaches and plank walk outs (ab exercise #3 and 5).

There is always a way to make this hard ab workout even harder.

Workout Equipment:

None, just your bodyweight.

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided, advanced ab circuit workout video at the top of this post.  I’ll lead you through all five intense ab exercises, offering form cues, modifications and motivation. 

It looks like this: 

  • 5 core exercises.
  • 40 seconds per ab exercise followed by 20 seconds of rest between exercises.
  • You only do each ab exercise one time (no repeats), but you always have the option to repeat this workout x 2 sets to make this a 10-minute ab workout.

5 Intense Ab Exercises

  1. Hollow Rock Bicycle Crunch + Knee Press
  2. Side Plank (option to add side oblique crunch), Right
  3. Low Plank Reaches
  4. Side Plank (option to add side oblique crunch), Left
  5. Plank Walk Out

1. Hollow Rock Bicycle Crunch + Knee Press

Targets: Upper abs, lower abs, obliques, transverse abdomen (deep core muscles below your rectus abdomen or six pack ab muscles), hips and outer glutes.

Trainer Tip: This is one of my favorite ab exercises for runners to strengthen the core, hips and glutes!

how to do a Bicycle Crunch with knee press

How to do Hollow Rock Bicycle Crunch + Knee Press:

  1. Start lying on your back with your legs straight.
  2. Contract your abs by pulling your hip bones together to activate your transverse abdominal muscles and lift your neck and shoulders off the mat. Then lift both legs off the mat (legs straight). This is your “hollow rock” position.
  3. From this hollow rock position, pull your right knee towards your chest as you would for a bicycle crunch. Knees bent and feet flexed with right knee bent at 90 degrees.
  4. Hold your right knee towards your chest and press your left hand firmly into your right knee. Trying to keep your left leg extended straight. Note, the harder you press into your knee, the more difficult this ab exercise will be.
  5. Hold the knee press for a 5 second count, then switch sides. Pulling your left knee towards your chest as you extend your right leg long. Then press your right hand firmly into your left knee.
  6. Repeat this bicycle crunch pattern for 40 seconds.

2. Side Plank (option to add side oblique crunch)

Targets: Internal and external oblique muscles (the muscles that run along the side of your core) and transverse abdominus.

how to do a side plank crunch

How to do Side Plank Crunch:

  1. Start in side plank position. Right forearm on the mat, right shoulder stacked over right elbow. Option to balance on the outside edge of your right foot, stacking your left foot on top of your right foot, or stagger your feet.
  2. Place your left hand behind your head or extend your left hand overhead. Option to hold this side plank position.
  3. To add a side plank crunch, pull your outside, left knee up to meet your left elbow. Arm and leg meet as you squeeze your obliques (side abs).
  4. Return to the starting position and repeat for 40 second on the right side, then switch sides, performing for 40 seconds on the left side.

3. Low Plank Reaches

Targets: Upper abs, lower abs, obliques, transverse abs, shoulders and back.

how to do low plank reaches

How to do Low Plank Reaches:

  1. Start in a low plank position or forearm plank. Shoulders over elbows, forearms resting on the mat, core engaged. Neutral spine.
  2. Alternate reaching one arm straight in front of you at a time. Fully extend your right arm and tap the mat in front of you, return to the starting position. Then fully extend your left arm and tap the mat in front of you.
  3. Try to keep your hips stable and square to the mat as you alternating reaching your arms straight out. Keeping your hips in line with the rest of your body to avoid sagging hips or piked hips.

4. Plank Walk Out

Targets: The entire core from head to toe including — deep transverse abs, upper abs, lower abs, side abs, shoulders, back, glutes and quads.

how to do a plank walk out

How to do a Plank Walk Out:

  1. Start in a high plank position, shoulders over wrists, core engaged, pulling up on your knee caps and pressing your heels towards the wall behind you. Creating a straight line with your body from head to heels.
  2. Slowly start “walking” your hands out in front of you. The further you walk your hands out away from your body, the more difficult this advanced ab exercise becomes.
  3. Once you’ve walked your hands as far away from your body as you can without dropping your hips, pause for a moment. Arms and legs extended long.
  4. Then reverse the movement by walking your hands back to the high plank starting position.

Side plank crunch, advanced ab exercise

1. How often should I do this intense ab circuit? 

You should do ab and core workouts 3 times per week for best results.

For a more structured ab workout program, try following one of my free home workout plans. 

That said, you can train your abs all you want, but without a well-balanced diet, you’ll never see the results of your hard work. As they say,  six-pack abs are built in the kitchen.

2. Are planks good for abs?

The plank is one of the best ab exercises you can do at home. It works ALL of the core muscles that run from the pelvis along the spine and up to the shoulder girdle; including: 

  • Upper Rectus Abdominis (the upper abs)
  • Lower Rectus Abdominis (the lower abs)
  • Internal Obliques and External Obliques (side abs, along the sides of your body)
  • Transverse Abdominis (your deepest core muscles)

Planks are essential building a strong core!

3. Can I do this ab workout during pregnancy?

This is an intense ab workout that I would not recommend for pregnancy. Rather, I would suggest this 5-Minute Beginner Ab Workout or these 7 Pregnancy-Safe Ab Exercises.

4. Is this advanced ab workout safe for diastasis recti (abdominal separation)? 

This is an advanced ab workout and not one I would recommend for diastasis recti as it would likely cause coning or doming of the mid-section.

Instead, start with one of these less intense ab workouts:

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More Hard Ab Workouts At Home:

  1. Hi Lindsey! I’ve been loving your workout videos for a few years now. This past year I stopped other programs and gym memberships because your workout plans were exactly what I needed and kept me in great shape my whole pregnancy. Your Boobie bites recipe is a favorite amongst my mom friends!
    I’m wondering, do you take both a prenatal vitamin and ZMA supplement? I know you recommend the NOW vitamins but was worried about getting too much zinc.
    Thanks so much and many blessings!

    • Hi Christie! I’m so glad you are loving the workouts and workout plans!! And oh the boobie balls; the greatest new mama gift ever! And yes, I take the prenatal in the morning and then I take the ZMA before bed to help with muscle recovery! I hope that helps! Keep up the good work! -Lindsey