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9 Best HIIT Exercises for Ripped Abs in Record Time

Sculpt six-pack abs with a trainer's must-try HIIT exercises.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

So you found a fitness and nutrition plan online to help you sculpt six-pack abs, but you're short on time, juggling work, family, and life's never-ending to-do list. Does this sound like you? If so, we've got some good news. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) might be the game-changing solution you've been waiting for. Here, we spoke with TJ Mentus, CPT, a certified personal trainer at Garage Gym Reviews, who shares his nine best HIIT exercises to build abs in record time.

HIIT workouts have gained popularity for their effectiveness in burning calories and building muscle in relatively fast amounts of time. These short, intense bursts of exercise followed by brief recovery periods can keep your metabolism firing on all cylinders, even after your workout is done. That makes HIIT a fantastic tool for fat loss and revealing those hidden abdominal muscles. However, before you get your sweat on, it's important to note that no exercise can outperform a poor diet, so it's essential to combine these workouts with a balanced nutrition plan to reach your health and fitness goals.

For each exercise, perform five rounds of 40 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of rest. Read on to uncover the nine best HIIT exercises to build abs in record time. Then, find out why People Swear by the '3-2-8' Workout to Lose Weight: 'I Lost So Much.'

Kettlebell Swings

kettlebell swings

This dynamic movement combines strength and cardiovascular training to torch calories while building core strength. "Kettlebell swings jack the heart rate up quickly, making them effective for HIIT workouts," says Mentus. "When done with proper form, they keep constant tension on the abs."

Hold the kettlebell with both hands and straight arms in front of you. Push your hips back to reach the kettlebell between your legs, and lean your torso forward. Thrust your hips forward while extending your legs, and use your arms to guide the kettlebell up to chest height and then back down between the legs to begin the next rep.

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Bicycle Crunches

woman doing bicycle crunches

"This crunch variation will work the entire core in a twisting motion. It can be great for HIIT workouts when performed rapidly," states Mentus.

Lie on your back with your hands next to your head, and crunch up to pull your shoulders off the ground. Then, alternate bringing one knee into your chest and rotating the opposite elbow to the knee while keeping the other leg straight.

Mountain Climbers

mountain climbers illustration

Mountain climbers are a classic HIIT movement for the abs since they engage your core muscles while elevating your heart rate for increased fat-burning. Mentus says, "These are great for getting a lot of reps in a short amount of time, which is ideal when doing a HIIT workout."

Start in a straight-arm plank position with one knee pulled into your chest. Rapidly switch legs by bringing the opposite knee into your chest and straightening the other in a single motion.

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Russian Twists

Russian twist with medicine ball

"Russian twists are one of the most effective rotational exercises for sculpting abs," says Mentus. "Rotational exercises like this are critical for achieving fully developed ab muscles."

Sit down with your feet off the ground, and lean back slightly while holding a medicine ball. Turn your shoulders to twist and bring the ball to the ground at your side while keeping your feet off the ground. Keep repeating on each side. Try to bring your elbows behind your back each rep.

Medicine Ball Rainbow Slams

Try medicine ball rainbow slams for a full-body HIIT exercise that's especially effective for core strength. "These are great for developing rotational power in the abs and elevating the intensity level of your workout," says Mentus.

Hold a medicine ball while standing, and reach it up over your head. Then, throw it down to the ground at your side while twisting. If the ball bounces, catch it, then reach over your head in the other direction and throw it down on that side. If it doesn't bounce, reach down, pick the ball up, and repeat on the other side.

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Kipping Toes-to-Bar

Kipping toes-to-bar is an advanced move for strengthening your core. Mentus tells us, "A strict toes-to-bar is a great ab exercise. Adding the kipping motion turns it into a high-intensity exercise."

Hang onto a pull-up bar with straight arms. Swing your legs behind you while pulling your torso forward with your arms to build momentum. Next, push the bar away, bringing your torso behind the bar. Then, raise your feet to touch between your hands. Keep your momentum going as you swing into the next rep.

GHD Sit-ups

GHD sit-ups are a classic high-intensity CrossFit exercise that challenges you to stabilize your core while hinging at the hips. "GHD sit-ups are great for building abs because they lock your legs. This keeps tension on your abs and allows a bigger range of motion," explains Mentus.

Start sitting on top of a GHD pad with your feet locked in. Keep your abs tight, and lower your torso toward the ground. When you reach your endpoint, use your core and legs to pull yourself up to the sitting position again.



"V-ups are an excellent way to target your lower abs," says Mentus. "They're a sit-up variation that can be done at higher intensities while building abs."

Lie on your back, and simultaneously lift your legs and upper body. Bring your hands to touch your feet by sitting up and lifting your legs off the ground, keeping them straight so you form a V-shape.

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treadmill sprints

Whether outdoors or on a treadmill, sprinting activates your core as you stabilize and drive your legs forward. Plus, this high-intensity exercise can help you achieve that ripped ab look. To perform this exercise, pick a set distance, such as 50 or 100 meters, and do eight to 10 rounds of sprints.

"Sprinting is one of the best ways to burn calories fast at a high rate and get the shredded abs look. Even if you can't sprint while running, you could use any cardio machine to sprint on, such as a stationary bike or rowing machine," Mentus explains.

Adam Meyer, RHN
Adam is a health writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and 100% plant-based athlete. Read more about Adam
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