I tried this 10-minute high-intensity core workout to carve my abs and obliques — here's what happened

Man in light and airy studio performing a spiderman plank with right knee tapping right elbow
(Image credit: Shutterstock images)

Armed with the right set of abs exercises, it’s easy to get an effective core workout done in just 10 minutes. It doesn’t take long at all to exhaust the abs muscles, even if you’re an experienced gym-goer, and if you keep the muscles under tension for most of a short workout you’ll certainly feel the benefits, and the DOMS, the next day.

For this high-intensity 10-minute abs workout you’ll be working at a fast pace to cram in as many reps as you can during the work periods, making sure your abs feel the burn before you get a brief rest and go again.

You don’t need any equipment for the bodyweight workout aside from one of the best yoga mats, and because the trainers Juice & Toya demonstrate different versions of each move it’s suitable for all fitness levels.

How to do Juice & Toya's 10-minute abs workout

The workout has been designed by fitness trainer duo Juice & Toya and you can watch it on YouTube. Both Juice and Toya are on screen during the session to demonstrate each move. Juice does a more advanced version of each, while Toya does an easier variation for beginners, so everyone should be able to follow along.

There are six moves in the workout, and you do them in two sets of three in each round. You do three rounds of the six moves in total. You don’t rest in between the three moves of a set, only in between sets, to increase the time under tension for your abs.

Here are a few takeaways I had from the session that are worth knowing before you hit play.

The two difficulty options are great

I love the concept of having harder and easier variations of each exercise on screen, and tried a mix of both throughout the workout. For some moves the variation is a lot easier, like doing  Russian twists with your feet either grounded or elevated. 

However, for other exercises, the drop-off isn’t so big, and overall I’d say complete beginners might struggle to do some moves at a fast pace, such as the alternating tuck crunches. As you only have to do each move for 20 seconds, however, you only have to do one or two reps before moving on if it is too hard.

Go all out as the breaks come quick

You do six minutes of work in total during the workout, working for one minute at a time within which you do three different moves, before taking a 30-second break. This means you’re only doing one move for 20 seconds at a time before either switching move or resting, so you can really go all-out on each exercise to exhaust the muscles involved in just 20 seconds.

I took the first round of moves a little slow while working out the structure of the workout, and could have pushed harder, as I did during the second and third rounds. No matter how hard an exercise is, just remember you only have to do it for 20 seconds.

I wish I was wearing shoes

I did the workout barefoot on a yoga mat, which I find is usually fine for bodyweight abs sessions. However, for one move — the tuck to pike, where I had to jump my feet forward and back — I found that it was hard to move comfortably at speed without shoes on, so next time I’ll pop on a pair before starting the session.

It would be a better workout finisher

I did the workout as a standalone session during a lunch break, but you can also add it onto the end of a longer workout as a finisher, which I think would be the best way to use it. The session isn’t easy, but it’s quite short and you get a lot of rest.

Using it to hit your abs at the end of a longer core workout would be a more satisfying and effective session. You could also hit replay and do it twice in one go for a more testing abs workout.

My abs hurt the next day

Even doing this as a standalone workout was enough to induce some delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in my abs the following day, so be in no doubt of its effectiveness.

If you only have 10 minutes to spare, doing this session is a great option to improve your core strength, and if you can slip it in two or three times a week it will be even more effective.

After a few weeks you’ll benefit from changing things up and doing a different session like this 15-minute dumbbell abs workout to keep things interesting and challenging.

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Nick Harris-fry
Senior Writer

Nick Harris-fry is an experienced health and fitness journalist, writing professionally since 2012. He spent nine years working on the Coach magazine and website before moving to the fitness team at Tom’s Guide in 2024. Nick is a keen runner and also the founder of YouTube channel The Run Testers, which specialises in reviewing running shoes, watches, headphones and other gear.

Nick ran his first marathon in 2016 after six weeks of training for a magazine feature and subsequently became obsessed with the sport. He now has PBs of 2hr 27min for the marathon and 15min 30sec for 5K, and has run 13 marathons in total, as well as a 50-mile ultramarathon.

He runs 50-80 miles a week and races regularly with his club, which gives him a lot of opportunity to test out running gear: he has tested and reviewed hundreds of pairs of running shoes, as well as fitness trackers, running watches, sports headphones, treadmills, and all manner of other kit. Nick is also a qualified Run Leader in the UK.