A 20-Minute Bodyweight Workout That Will Seriously Fire Up Your Abs

When it comes to core engagement, it never hurts to revisit the basics. And that’s what this week’s Sweat with SELF beginner abs workout is all about.

This 20-minute core routine, led by athletic trainer Liz Letchford, Ph.D., A.T.C., and coach Paul Wright, is the fourth in a six-part series dedicated to helping you build optimal core strength. Because this workout builds on skills practiced in the first half of this series, you may want to check out the previous videos before you try this routine, especially if you’re new to core work. (You can check out those videos here, here, and here.)

Why does core engagement even matter? Well, your core muscles are what allow you to do a ton of important activities—from rotating and resisting rotation to stabilizing your torso, maintaining good posture, and keeping your balance. By activating and using your core so that it does all of these movements properly, you’ll be able to move more efficiently and effectively, and lower your risk of injury, as SELF previously reported.

It’s important to note your core isn’t just your “six-pack abs” on the front of your torso. Your core includes everything from your lower back and abs to your deep abdominal wall, hips, glutes, and pelvic floor, as SELF previously explained.

This 20-minute beginner abs workout—which you can do with just your bodyweight—will help you activate all the muscles in your core as one unit, not just individual muscles. That, in turn, can help you build a stronger, more stable torso.

Ready to light up your core? Grab a mat and follow along with the video below. Or, if you prefer to work at your own pace, simply keep scrolling for detailed workout directions and GIFs of each move.

Workout Directions

Start with the dynamic warm-up.

After the warm-up, rest for 30 seconds. Then, do the workout. Do each exercise for the designated time, taking 10–15 seconds to transition between moves. Repeat the workout 2 more times, for a total of 3 rounds, resting 20 seconds between each round.

Dynamic Warm-Up

  • Downward Dog to Plank x 60 seconds


  • Dead Bug x 45 seconds
  • Side Plank With Knee Flexion (repeat on each side) x 30 seconds
  • Crossover Crunch (repeat on each side) x 30 seconds
  • Hollow Hold x 30 seconds

*Rest for 20 seconds. Repeat the circuit 2 more times for a total of 3 rounds.

The Exercises

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