Abs Workouts

X’d to the Core

Whittle your middle quickly and effectively with these five P90X3 favorites.

Admit it — crunches are boring, and when you’re bored, you’re less likely to work as intensely as you should to effect change. So what’s a girl to do? Try these boredom-busting moves from P90X3 that tighten your entire core while simultaneously strengthening your chest, shoulders, glutes and hamstrings. 


After a five- to 10-minute dynamic warm-up, do each of these moves for one minute, resting no more than 30 to 60 seconds in between each one. “Breathing properly during these moves will connect you to your diaphragm and transverse abdominis, which can help strengthen your core and change the shape of your body,” says Tony Horton, creator of the P90X3 workouts. Best breathing technique: For each rep, exhale on the exertion and inhale on the return. Go through the routine three times for an intense 20-minute belly-blasting workout that can change your shape with nary a crunch in sight. 

Plank Circle

Get into a plank position, with your hands underneath your shoulders and your head, hips and heels in line. Maintain the plank while spinning clockwise as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then reverse direction and go counterclockwise for 30 seconds. Keep your hips low and your arms straight throughout.

Tip: Make a game out of it. Pair up with a friend and have your partner call out “switch” when she wants you to change direction. Vary the intervals and directions to make things fun and challenging. 


Sit on the floor with your legs straight and spread into a narrow V-shape. Grasp your legs above or at your ankles and sit up tall. Keeping your legs straight and in a V, roll back along your spine and touch your toes to the floor behind you (or as close as you can get). Then roll back up into a sitting position with your legs in the air, balancing as best you can on your tailbone with a straight back and legs. 

Tip: Roll back and forth a few times before doing the move to find the sweet spot — that place of balance where you have enough momentum to get up onto your tailbone but not so much that you roll through and end up sitting on the floor.

Alphabet Soup

Lie on the floor with your hands underneath your hips and your legs together straight up in the air over your hips, toes pointed. Keeping your legs together, draw the alphabet, one letter at a time, in the air. Get as many letters as you can in one minute.

Tip: The larger the letters, the more challenging the move.

Swimmers Plank

Get into a plank with your hands underneath your shoulders and with your head, hips and heels in line. “Swim” one arm around in a circle from back to front, simultaneously lifting your opposite leg into the air. Replace your hand and foot and continue, alternating sides.

Tip:Try swimming the front stroke and backstroke.

One-Arm Sphinx

Get into a plank on your forearms with your head, hips and heels in line. Turn your right arm inward so your forearm crosses your body horizontally, palm flat on the floor and your elbow underneath your shoulder. Reach your opposite arm straight out in front of you. Hold and breathe. Keep your hips square and your abs tight. Do 30 seconds on one arm, then switch.

Tip: For a greater challenge, lift your opposite leg into the air and hold.