7-minute HIIT Abs Workout (Strengthen & Target Your Core)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: December 28, 2023
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High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) ab workouts utilize the same exercises as traditional ab workouts, with the key difference being the duration and intensity.

In this type of workout, you'll engage in specific intervals of high-intensity training followed by short periods of rest, elevating the overall intensity of the session.

From my experience as a personal trainer, this approach not only effectively targets and strengthens your core muscles but also significantly boosts cardiovascular endurance, as I've seen in many of my clients.

As a personal trainer, I have spent months researching and developing a HIIT ab workout that effectively works your obliques, rectus abdominis, and transverse abdominis.

While it is worth noting that nutrition plays a significant role in achieving core definition, this HIIT ab workout may help your burn calories and build muscle.

Quick Summary

  • The HIIT ab workout includes effective exercises like up-down planks, Russian twists, bicycle crunches, mountain climbers, plank jacks, dead bugs, and wood chops, targeting various core muscles for comprehensive strengthening.
  • The workout includes a variety of exercises, such as up-down planks, Russian twists, and bicycle crunches, ensuring a comprehensive engagement of all core muscle groups.
  • A study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences found that short-term interval exercise training, similar to HIIT, can significantly decrease fat mass by approximately 1.96 kg and increase exercise tolerance in overweight and obese women, demonstrating the effectiveness of HIIT in improving body composition and fitness levels.
  • Drawing from my professional journey as a fitness trainer, I've consistently observed that HIIT ab workouts are invaluable for developing a strong, well-defined core, significantly enhancing overall fitness and athletic performance.

7-Minute HIIT Abs Workout

A person doing HIIT ab workouts at home

HIIT’s efficacy is proven to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels, helping individuals, particularly those with diabetes, achieve their weight loss goals, according to one of the studies from the PubMed website [1,2].

Research from the Hindawi website has also shown that HIIT can reduce abdominal fat more than other forms of exercise [3].

In my years of coaching, I've observed that clients who incorporate HIIT into their routines tend to see more significant and quicker reductions in abdominal fat compared to those who stick with traditional cardio.

1. Up-down Planks

How to perform this exercise:

  1. Get into a high plank position on the mat with your palms directly under your shoulders and feet hip-width apart. Keep your core muscles tight.
  2. Bend your right arm and place your forearm on the mat, ensuring your elbow is positioned directly under your shoulder.
  3. Bend your left arm to come down into a low plank position.
  4. Extend your right arm, followed by your left, to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for fifty seconds, maintaining proper form throughout the movement.
  6. Rest for ten seconds after moving to the next exercise.

Related: Does Planking Burn Fat?

2. Russian Twists

A person doing russian twists at the gym

How to perform this exercise:

  1. Get seated on the mat with your legs extended in front of you. Lift your chest and push your shoulders back to maintain good posture.
  2. Grab a small weighted medicine ball with both hands while keeping your elbows tucked in.
  3. Lean back slightly, engaging your core muscles.
  4. Lift your feet off the ground, balancing on your glute to create a V-shape with your torso and thighs.
  5. Twist your torso to the right and the left side, bringing the medicine ball towards the right side of your body.
  6. Twist to the left, and bring the ball towards the left side.
  7. Continue this twisting motion - alternating between the right and left sides - for fifty seconds. Focus on contracting your core throughout the exercise.
  8. Rest for ten seconds before moving to the next exercise.

Related: Best Rotational Exercises

“If your form is sloppy, you will be placing a lot of stress on your lumbar vertebrae. If you find you are getting a rounded back and a lot of twisting of your lower back, work on the move without using a weight until you get the form right.”

- Elizabeth Quinn, Exercise Physiologist

3. Bicycle Crunch

How to do a bicycle crunch:

  1. Lay on your back on a mat.
  2. Lift your legs off the ground and interlace your fingers behind your head, slightly opening your elbows.
  3. Twist your torso while keeping the pelvis level. Bring your left knee towards your torso while bringing your right elbow towards your knee.
  4. Return your left leg to the starting position.
  5. Repeat the same motion on the other side by bringing your right knee towards your torso and your left elbow towards your knee.
  6. Continue this alternating motion for fifty seconds, moving from side to side.
  7. Rest for ten seconds before moving on to the next exercise.

Related: Best Abs Exercises

4. Mountain Climbers

A person doing mountain climbers at the gym

How to do this exercise:

  1. Lift your right leg, bringing your knee up towards your chest as if preparing to run.
  2. Return your right leg to the starting position and immediately switch, lifting your left leg towards your chest.
  3. Continue alternating between the right and left legs, performing the motion for fifty seconds.
  4. Focus on driving your knees up as high as possible while maintaining proper form and keeping your head looking down.
  5. Rest for ten seconds before moving on to the next exercise.

“A common beginner mistake with mountain climbers is to bounce on your toes as you perform the move. The bouncing might feel like a harder workout, but it actually requires less engagement of your core muscles.”

- Paige Waehner, Personal Trainer

5. Plank Jacks

How to do plank jacks:

  1. Get in a high plank position with your wrist directly below your shoulders and your neck and spine are neutral.
  2. Step your right foot out to the side while keeping your core engaged.
  3. Bring your leg back to the center to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat the same movement with your left foot while keeping your glutes low throughout the exercise.
  5. Continue performing this motion for a few reps for fifty seconds and rest for ten seconds.
  6. Take a ten seconds rest before moving on to the next exercise.

6. Wood Chops

A person doing wood chop workouts

How to perform this exercise:

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and grab a dumbbell with both hands.
  2. Lift onto the ball of your left foot and raise the dumbbell overhead to the right side, keeping your arms extended.
  3. Bring the dumbbell down to chest level, maintaining a firm grip.
  4. Rotate your right foot and pivot your hips and shoulders together, moving the dumbbell diagonally across your body towards the left side.
  5. Reverse the motion by rotating your left foot, hips, and shoulders as you bring the dumbbell back to the starting position on the right side.
  6. Repeat the exercise for fifty seconds, alternating between the right and left sides in a chopping motion.

7. Dead Bugs

How to perform this exercise:

  1. Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet on the ground.
  2. Bend your legs at a ninety-degree angle.
  3. Extend your left leg while reaching your right arm overhead.
  4. Go back to the starting position and repeat the movement, extending your right leg forward while reaching your left arm overhead.
  5. Continue alternating between both sides, focusing on maintaining core stability and avoiding any excessive movement in your back.
  6. Perform this exercise for fifty seconds. You may repeat this circuit twice with a ten-second break in-between exercises to enhance the intensity.


“Hands down, the most common mistake with the dead bug exercise is when people confuse it with a bicycle crunch and try to use speed and momentum to power themselves through.”

- Laura Williams, Fitness Expert

What Are the Benefits?

A person with good abs working out on the floor

The benefits of HIIT ab workouts are enhanced weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and enhanced cardiovascular health.

Enhanced Weight Loss

Your body continues to burn calories even after completing a HIIT workout, which is called post-exercise resting energy expenditure (REE) [4].

Improved Physical Health

A person working out her abs

Research suggests that participating in twenty workout sessions can positively impact heart health, leading to improved physical fitness [5].

In my experience, you should consider combining this HIIT ab workout with a HIIT leg workout for optimal results.

Moreover, HIIT workouts have been proven to enhance oxygen delivery to your muscles, known as VO2 max, and improve your metabolic health [6].

Enhanced Mental Health

Studies have indicated that HIIT can positively affect various aspects of mental health, especially among individuals with mental illnesses [7].


Is HIIT Good for Abs?

Yes, HIIT is good for abs. Indeed, HIIT is effective for targeting and strengthening the abdominal muscles. It can efficiently burn fat and build muscle in the core area, all while increasing your heart rate and cardiovascular endurance.

How Often Can I Train Abs?

You can train your abs three times a week to maximize muscle growth without overdoing it. Following the rule of thumb that applies to other muscle groups, it is advisable to allow at least forty-eight hours of rest before targeting the same muscles again.

This approach ensures optimal results while allowing adequate recovery time for the abs.

How Can Pilates Principles Enhance HIIT Ab Workouts?

Pilates principles can enhance HIIT ab workouts by incorporating controlled movements and core engagement, leading to a more effective and holistic approach to abdominal strengthening. This integration results in improved core stability and muscle endurance.

What Are the Benefits of HIIT Ab Workouts for Postpartum Recovery?

HIIT ab workouts benefit postpartum recovery by safely rebuilding core strength and addressing conditions like diastasis recti. Modified exercises focus on gradual strengthening and are tailored to the unique needs of postpartum women.

How Do HIIT Ab Workouts Impact Athletic Performance?

HIIT ab workouts significantly impact athletic performance by enhancing core stability, which is essential for balance, power, and efficiency in various sports. Stronger core muscles contribute to improved overall athletic abilities and injury prevention.

Why Is the Mind-Muscle Connection Important in HIIT Ab Workouts?

The mind-muscle connection is important in HIIT ab workouts because it maximizes muscle engagement and the effectiveness of each exercise. Focusing on this connection ensures that the targeted abdominal muscles are properly activated and worked during the workout.

What Nutritional Strategies Complement HIIT Ab Workouts?

Nutritional strategies that complement HIIT ab workouts include optimal fueling for performance and recovery, focusing on a balanced diet rich in protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Proper nutrition supports the energy demands of high-intensity training and aids in muscle repair and growth.


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29197155/
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/dmrr.2488
  3. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jobe/2011/868305/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27747847/
  5. https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2017/02000/High_Intensity_Interval_Training_Increases_Cardiac.6.aspx
  6. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02640414.2016.1149609
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31780128/
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About The Author

Senior Coach
Connor Sellers holds a degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science from Rutgers University He is an author and personal trainer with the mission to inspire people to relentlessly pursue their fitness and lifestyle goals. He mantra is that staying fit has an overall positive effect on one’s body, mind, and spirit.
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Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
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Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
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