Who needs crunches? Build abs with this five-minute workout instead

Work those six-pack muscles without the crunch

Man doing Russian twists
(Image credit: Getty)

Crunches have often been a favourite amongst ab workouts, especially when trying to build a six pack. However, it’s a bit of a marmite movement, some love the intense burn it gives, while for others it’s just more of a ‘I’m going to throw up’ feeling. Well, the latter will be pleased to know this ab workout has zero crunches and, better still, it only takes five minutes.

When our goal is to get a chiselled looking torso you need to do exercises that are going to work those visible ab muscles. The good news is you can achieve a defined stomach just by doing bodyweight ab exercises. However, it doesn’t matter how many of these you do, if your body fat percentage is too high then your abs just aren’t going to peep through. So, make sure you’re eating a well-balanced diet if you’re not already.

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This workout can either be done as a mini workout or you can add it to the end of your upper or lower session as a finisher. You’ve got eight exercises to complete, with 20 seconds on each (don’t worry, there are a couple of rests in there too) and you want to aim to do three rounds in total. Bare in mind that if we’re taking crunches out of the equation, there’s going to be some other tough ab exercises to compensate for them. It’s only five minutes though, so set your timer and give it your all. Here’s what you’ve got to do:

  • Plank Dips
  • Mountain Climber
  • Plank
  • Rest
  • Bent Leg Jackknife
  • Russian Twist
  • Flutters
  • Rest
  • Side Plank & Hip Lift (do 20s per side)
  • Ab Bikes

Your torso should definitely be on fire after that! If you want to challenge yourself further, you can always incorporate a dumbbell into some of the movements (check out our dumbbell guide if you don't own one), especially with the flutters, Russian twists and jackknife. If you’re after some more ab inspiration, then check out this quick four-move workout to sculpt six pack abs.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.