Test Your Core Strength With This 10-Minute Hard Ab Workout

Brace yourself (and your core) for a 10-minute ladder workout that's as intense as it is rewarding—a seriously hard ab workout designed to push your muscles to their limits.

“This all-action core workout will test both your body and your mind,” says Ben Lauder-Dykes, CPT, Fhitting Room instructor and the host of our June Movement of the Month Club, a 4-week ab challenge.

That’s because, with each round you complete, you’ll add two reps to the next round. This style of training is also known as a ladder workout.

Lauder-Dykes challenges: “Can you continue to push yourself to climb the ladder and take on the new challenge of each round?”

Experts In This Article

Join the movement

If you’re following along with our Movement of the Month Club, this is your workout for week 4. You’ll do one ab exercise each day, Monday through Saturday. Then on Sunday, you’ll do the full 10-minute workout. (But feel free to do this workout anytime, too!)

You’ll start with 2 reps of each exercise. For each subsequent round, add 2 reps (first round 2 reps, second round 4 reps, third round 6 reps, etc.). Keep going for 10 minutes. How high can you get?

Here's your 10-minute ladder hard ab workout

1. Leg raise

Leg raises are a challenging ab exercise that strengthen the lower abs and improve pelvic stability.

  1. Lie flat on your back on the floor or a mat, legs straight, and hands placed under your buttocks for support.
  2. Keeping your legs straight and together, slowly lift them toward the ceiling until they're perpendicular to the floor.
  3. Slowly lower your legs back down to the starting position without letting them touch the floor.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

2. Butterfly sit-up

A truly multifunctional exercise, butterfly sit-ups not only target the core, especially the lower abs, but also increase flexibility in the hips and inner thighs.

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and the soles of your feet together, allowing your knees to drop to the sides. (Place yoga blocks or folded towels under your knees for added support if needed.)
  2. Lie back so your back is flat on the floor and your hands are at your sides.
  3. Engage your core and sit up, reaching forward with your hands to touch your toes.
  4. Slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

3. Side plank hip dip

Regular side plank not challenging enough? Take it up several notches by adding hip dips, which boost oblique strength, lateral control, and balance.

  1. Begin in a side plank, resting on one forearm with your feet stacked (staggered for additional support).
  2. Lower your hips toward the floor without touching it.
  3. Lift your hips back up to the side plank position.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps before switching sides.

4. Hollow body rock

Sticking with the theme of leveling up standard ab exercises, hollow body rocks are the advanced version of hollow holds, taking a static exercise and adding movement.

  1. Start by lying on your back with your arms extended overhead and legs straight.
  2. Lift your arms and legs off the floor slightly, engaging your core to enter a hollow body position.
  3. Rock gently back and forth, maintaining the hollow position without letting your limbs touch the floor.
  4. Continue rocking for the desired number of repetitions.

5. Plank reach out

Balancing on all fours while in a standard plank is challenging, but balancing on three limbs is next-level! You’ll really feel this one in your deep core stabilizing muscles as well as your shoulders.

  1. Start in a standard plank position with your arms straight and hands directly under your shoulders.
  2. Extend one arm forward without shifting your hips or shoulders.
  3. Return to the plank position and repeat with the other arm.
  4. Continue alternating arms for the desired number of repetitions while maintaining a strong, stable core.

6. Tuck up

Tuck ups dynamically engage your entire core, particularly the lower abs, while also improving the balance and control needed for more advanced athletic movements.

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Lean back slightly and lift your feet off the floor, balancing on your sit bones.
  3. Extend your legs and arms straight out in front of you, then quickly tuck your knees to your chest while wrapping your arms around them.
  4. Extend back out without letting your feet touch the floor.
  5. Repeat the tuck and extend movements for the desired number of reps.


Get this month's training program straight to your inbox!
Want to be the first to hear about the latest Movement of the Month Club workouts? Sign up to have helpful fitness tips and more delivered straight to your inbox each Sunday.

Loading More Posts...