Ab workouts are great for defining your core and building prerequisite strength for other exercises, but how long should an ab workout be?
An ab workout should be no longer than half an hour to avoid overstraining your core, although 10-15 minutes is an ideal time frame for a core-targeted routine.
The rest of this article will walk you through how long an ab workout should be so that you can hit your fitness goals.
Table of Contents
- How Long Should Ab Workouts Last?
- How Often Should You Work Your Abdominal Muscles?
- Great Starters for Ab Muscles
- How to Progress Your Ab Workouts
How Long Should Ab Workouts Last?
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation regarding the duration and intensity of ab workouts for best results.
The truth is that with a simple yet challenging 10-minute routine done twice weekly, you can achieve hypertrophy and build core strength in your workout.
Mobility exercises for the core are effective when done for 10 minutes twice a week as well.
The length of time you should spend working on your abs varies based on the intensity throughout the workout.
HIIT workouts only need to be 8-10 minutes long to achieve hypertrophy and see visible six-pack results over time.
You can also integrate an ab workout into routines that work other muscles.
If you’re doing upper body training for a half-hour session, it’s a good idea to tack on some dedicated core exercises at the end for 5-8 to train your body holistically.
Your core will get a workout with any movement that involves picking something up, so keep that in mind, so you don’t overdo it on your core, especially as a beginner.
How Often Should You Work Your Abdominal Muscles?
It will help if you work your abdominal muscles twice a week. This provides you time for your muscles to recover from training.
Abs are also used in most other workouts as stability muscles, so unless you need exceptional core strength for a particular fitness pursuit, you don’t need to do more than that.
Overdoing it can actually cause you to lose strength, not gain it. Not only are strains and tears uncomfortable, but they are also detrimental to your gains, so make sure to adjust the difficulty to match your skill level.
A personal trainer can help you figure out which routine is right for you.
Great Starters for Ab Muscles
Abs workout routines can be challenging and quick, so you can fit them into your morning routine or whenever you want to do ab training.
Here are 8 great high-intensity movements to help you start your abs workout exercise routine.
As with any routine, ensure you’re always doing your workout with good form to avoid injury and work your muscles properly.
A personal trainer can make sure you’re on the right fitness track. A stability ball can also help with a lot of movements, too.
A stability ball provides a constant strain on your core to help you build strength.
One of the most basic core positions of all time, the static plank is a great way to build core stability.
Begin with your body facing the ground and put your elbows directly underneath your shoulders.
Lift yourself off the ground by pressing your toes and elbows into the ground, ensuring that your body forms a straight line from head to toe.
Try to hold this position for 30 seconds and up the duration as needed.
Leg Raise with Hip Thrust
Leg raises, also called leg lifts, are another great exercise to hit your abs.
Start by lying flat and extending your legs straight out level with your body.
Bend from the hips and raise your legs until they’re pointed straight up, then lift your pelvis off the bench as high as possible.
Lower yourself back down slowly to the starting position.
Lie with your knees bent and feet flat, and clasp your fingers behind your head.
Then, engage your abs and twist your torso to the right, bringing your left elbow to your right knee.
Hold for a second and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side, bringing your right elbow to your left knee to complete a rep.
Lie flat on your back and raise your knees to a 90-degree angle. Alternate extending your legs straight and back to the 90-degree position.
V-sits are challenging but great as a challenging core movement.
Start by sitting with your legs extended. Lift them to a 45-degree angle with the floor.
Lean back your torso so that it’s also at a 45-degree angle. Hold the position for 30 seconds and increase the duration as needed.
Mountain climbers are great for cardio and working your abs. Start in the pushup position with your hands directly under your shoulders (slightly wider is ok, too) and alternate bringing your knees forward under your chest.
Scissors are another great addition to ab exercises for beginners. Start on your back with your hands at your side or under your glutes for support.
Lift your left leg off the ground and alternate crossing one leg over the other without letting either rest on the ground.
The jackknife not only works your abs but also all of your lower body. Lie on your back with your legs straight and extend your arms overhead.
With slightly bent knees, engage your core and bring your legs and arms together simultaneously.
Return to the start position slowly and repeat until you’ve reached your desired number of reps.
How to Progress Your Ab Workouts
Progressing your ab workout routine is pretty straightforward.
Start by doing a twice-weekly 8-15 minute routine to see how your body handles the challenge.
If, by that time, your ab muscles have gotten used to the routine, vary it up and add some other challenging progressions.
You can also increase the reps or duration of the static position to increase difficulty. Some of these, like sit-ups, can also be done with added machine resistance.
Ab workouts that last 30-60 minutes are nonsensical and often not beneficial for your health.
You can achieve good hypertrophy and make progress in strengthening your abs with just 5-15 minutes twice a week, and a stability ball is a great tool on your abs fitness journey.
Consult your fitness trainer to see what other muscle routines you should be doing.
Is a 10-15 Minute Ab Workout Enough?
A 10-15 minute ab workout is great for building strength and increasing core stability.
Your abs are used with other muscle groups, too, so dedicating 10-15 minutes to an ab routine and other strength-building routines is more than enough for your abdominal muscles.
How Long Is Too Long for an Ab Workouts?
60 minutes is definitely too long for an abs workout. Only low-intensity exercise should last for longer than an hour, and it’s much more efficient to do short HIIT workouts for your abs.
How Long Should My Ab Workout Be to See Results?
Your ab workout can be anywhere from 5-15 minutes, so long as it’s a good challenge for you to see results.
Remember that diet also plays a role in how prominently your abs will show up.