by | Jul 31, 2013 | 6 comments

On most days after my run or workout, I do some form of core work.  The benefits of core work are huge: not only does having a strong core give you nice, flat abs, but a strong core also helps prevent injury while running or working out, relieve back pain from sitting all day, improve your balance and stability, and help you perform better or faster in workouts.  Sounds like a great deal to me!

I’ve posted my “go-to” plank routine on Instagram – I try to do it a few times per week.  If I’m really pressed for time, I’ll just do a set of 50 bicycle crunches.  This week, though, I was looking for an extra challenge … so I created a fun, fast-paced workout based on the plank pose.  The plank pose provides a full-body workout in an anatomically-sound position with very little movement.  Even though you may not be gasping for air at the end of this quick workout, I hope you’ll be quivering or feeling the burn. It was certainly a challenge for me to complete the workout without letting my knees touch the ground, but if you’re just starting up with core work, I’d recommend resting for 10 seconds between each exercise of the main workout set.  Let me know what you think! 5 minutes to flat abs

Explanation of Movements (with links):


  • Jumping jacks: you know this one by now, right?
  • Knee-to-Elbows: standing with your hands behind your head, raise right knee to touch right elbow.  Step down and repeat on left.  Complete 40 reps total (20 on each side).
  • Mountain Climbers: from plank position, jog your knees into your chest, alternating sides.  Complete 30 reps on each side (60 total).
  • Knee-to-Elbows, Crossing: standing with your hands behind your head, raise right knee across body to touch left elbow.  Step down and repeat on left.  Complete 20 reps total (10 on each side)
  • Burpees with push-ups: jump up with your hands above your head, then squat down and put your hands on the floor.  Jump back to plank position, and do a push-up.  This is one rep.

Workout (complete 30 seconds of each exercise, for 5 minutes total.  If you’re up for a challenge, DO NOT REST or lower your knees in between exercises.  If you’re a beginner or are building up your strength, rest 10 seconds between each exercise).

  • High plank: hold plank position, hands on floor
  • Low plank: from plank position, lower to your elbows and hold
  • Plank dips: From low plank, dip your hips to either side, twisting from the core.  Do not rest your hip on the ground as you twist.
  • Knee-to-Elbow in plank: From high plank, bring your right knee out to the side to touch your right elbow.  Return to start and repeat on left side.
  • High plank
  • Low plank
  • Side plank with toe touch (right): From high plank, rotate to face the right (left hand is on floor, right hand is straight up towards ceiling.  Raise right foot with straight leg and try to touch toe with right hand.  Return to start and repeat.  Note that in the video, she touches her toe in front of her, and I prefer to keep my leg out to the side of my body.
  • Side plank with toe touch (left)
  • High plank
  • Low plank

*No, this workout will not actually give you magically flat abs in just 5 minutes … but if you repeat it many times, drink a lot of water, reduce body fat overall, and fuel your body with healthy food, you’ll be well on your way! 🙂

**I am not a doctor or personal trainer, so please consult one before beginning any exercise program.

So tell me in the comments … do you do core work?  What is your favorite core exercise or routine?


  1. Lauren

    Woo hoo! First time doing this workout & it was challenging (in a great way) after a yoga class.

    • Megan Lyons

      Wow – doing this after yoga is killer, Lauren!!! Go you! Glad you liked it 🙂

  2. Caitlin

    awesome! i end every workout with abs and looooove quick and dirty ab routines like this. pinned!

    • Megan Lyons

      Thanks for pinning, Caitlin! Hope you like it!

  3. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

    Planks are the best for abs! I miss being able to do most of this stuff… hopefully just 3 more weeks!

    I even miss burpees. Have you ever done them one-legged? KILLER for the core.

    • Megan Lyons

      Oh my goodness, no! That sounds really hard, and I already have a love/hate relationship with burpees … this might deepen that relationship. Will give them a try tonight in my hotel room!



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Hi! I'm Megan Lyons,

the voice behind The Lyons’ Share. I love all things health, wellness, and fitness-related, and I hope to share some of my passion with you. Thanks for stopping by!
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