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The Best 5-Minute Mat Workout for Washboard Abs

Build your six-pack with this productive floor routine.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Want a six-pack in time for summer? As a trainer, this is an incredibly popular fitness goal. That's why I've curated the ultimate five-minute mat workout for washboard abs that'll get your midsection tight and toned.

In order to achieve killer abs, you need to pay attention to your form and consistency. Why? Well, your form is first and foremost as you use your core, not only in your workouts but also in everyday life. You need to properly engage your stomach muscles to work them effectively and stabilize the rest of your body. How? You can do this through breathwork and making that mind-body connection to your abdominals throughout your day and workouts, which is something that's especially important during pregnancy and postpartum.

Second, you need to be consistent—even if it's just for five minutes a day. It will create actual change in your body and provide lasting results. This is what I like to call "daily movement," which is one of the six pillars of the "little adapts" philosophy. Here is the ultimate five-minute mat workout for shredded, summer abs that you can do anytime, anywhere—no excuses!

Keep reading to learn all about this routine. And if you're looking for more short, effective workouts, try this free 15-minute upper-body boom workout.

Forearm Plank

forearm plank mat workout
Jacquie Smith

To start, place your forearms parallel on the mat with your shoulders directly over your elbows and your palms facing down. Drive your heels back, engage your legs, and activate your core. Hold for 30 seconds, breathing into the ribcage and out through your mouth. Holding your forearm plank, rock yourself forward an inch and then back to the starting position for another 30 seconds.

The 5-Minute Standing Ab Workout for a Strong Core


bicycle exercise part of mat workout
Jacquie Smith

Now, roll over onto your back, and start with your legs in a tabletop position with your knees over your hips and your feet in line with your knees. Bring your left elbow toward your right knee as you lift your left shoulder blade off the floor and straighten your left leg one inch above the floor. Now, switch to the other side, connecting your right elbow to your left knee. Continue alternating legs for 20 slow reps and then speed it up for a final 10 reps.

Lateral V-Up

lateral V-up exercise
Jacquie Smith

For this move, roll to your right side, and place your right forearm down on the mat—parallel to the top of the mat. Extend your legs out to the front corner of your mat—stacking them on top of one another—and bring your left hand over your shoulder. Inhale, and simultaneously lift your legs toward the ceiling as you reach your left hand toward your feet to tap them. Hold that squeeze at the top for just a second, and then exhale to lower down to the starting position. Complete 15 reps on this side and then repeat 15 reps on the other side.

The No-Gym Workout for Six-Pack Abs

Leg Raises

leg raise exercise
Jacquie Smith

Roll onto your back with your hands underneath your butt, and bring your legs directly above your hips so they're straight in the air. First, inhale and then slowly lower your legs down to about one inch off the mat. Continuing to keep your legs as straight as possible, exhale, and lift your legs back up above your hips. Complete 20 reps.

Mountain Climbers

woman performing mountain climbers exercise part of mat workout
Jacquie Smith

Finally, make your way into a straight arm plank, and alternate bringing one knee into your chest and then back out again, alternating legs until you are essentially "running." The goal is to go as quickly as possible. Move for 45 seconds and then hold your straight arm plank for the final 15 seconds.

You are all done—great work!

Jacquie Smith
Jacquie Smith is a certified integrative nutrition health coach from IIN and a fitness instructor specializing in barre, yoga, and pre/postnatal workouts. Read more about Jacquie
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