Muscular man doing sit-ups while female fitness trainer holding his feet. Female doing abs exercise with help from a man in gym.

If there was a way to build sculpted abs and burn a crazy amount of calories in the same time it took to brew a pot of coffee, would there be an excuse to not have rock hard abs by the end of 2019? The formula for this amazing protocol to a killer core is simple:

(100% Effort) + (4 Minutes Tabata Style Routine) + (4 Times a Week) = Insane Results

The term “Tabata” isn’t new, but its concepts are rarely incorporated into our exercise routines due to the extreme intensity it brings. How intense? Think about reaching your heart rate max in the same fashion as a Corvette reaches 60 mph in under 2 seconds. Intense!

The gist behind this phenomenon is to maximize your calorie burn, build lean mass, and do it all in a minimal amount of time. It’s the ultimate in efficiency and effectiveness.

Tabata Defined

Tabata was originally invented by Dr. Izumi Tabata. He designed a method of exercise that enables the body’s ability to burn more calories per minute than other traditional protocols. In order to achieve this level of extra calorie burn, the body must be able to perform under extreme pressure. Tabata was designed to tap into your anaerobic and aerobic systems simultaneously. This type of body priming will naturally increase your VO2 max and enhance your body’s ability to burn fat faster.

What Does a Tabata Style Routine Look Like?

Tabata is actually fairly simple. It’s a routine incorporating 4-8 exercises. They are meant to be rotated through in a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) style and circuit fashion. The routine I have outlined below incorporates a 2:1 time ratio. This means that you will do as many reps as possible in 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds then move immediately to the next exercise. Once you’ve completed the exercises, you’ll rotate through one more round to complete 4 minutes. This routine requires zero distractions for at least 4 minutes. The goal is to focus, rep it out, and feel the burn!

How Do You Know If You’re Doing It Correctly?

The problem with a lot of at-home routines or any situation with lack of accountability from a coach is that you forget how to push yourself to the max. You’ll know if you’re doing this correctly if you begin to question why anyone would voluntarily commit to doing this. If you have yet to experience those feelings, you may need to push harder during your reps and watch the allotted the rest time.

Ready To Give It A Go?

Keep in mind that this is an intense workout and you need a pretty high level of fitness to begin with to get through it. As always, please consult with your doctor prior to starting any new exercise regimen and get the green light. And with that, be prepared to experience fatigue and soreness. Incorporate either of the routines below over the next month. Perform them 2-4 times a week and watch your core magically appear!

Abs in Four Minutes Routine


Intervals: 20 seconds 100% effort, 10 seconds rest

Total Time: 4 Min (8 Intervals)


Set a timer for 4 minutes. You will spend 20 seconds on each exercise (20 seconds of reps, 10 seconds of rest). Start with Exercise 1 and do as many reps as possible for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest. Begin Exercise 2 and blast out as many reps for 20 seconds, and then again rest for 10 seconds. Repeat for Exercise 3 and 4.

Routine 1:

1 Round = 2 minutes

Exercise 1: Floor Crunches
Perform 20 seconds of Floor Crunches and then break for 10 seconds.
Exercise 2: Russian Twists
Perform 20 seconds of Russian Twists and then break for 10 seconds.
Exercise 3: Mountain Climbers
Perform 20 seconds of Mountain Climbers and then break for 10 seconds.
Exercise 4: Flutter Kicks
Perform 20 seconds of Flutter Kicks and then break for 10 seconds.

Repeat 2x Total = 4 Minutes

Routine 2:

1 Round = 2 minutes

Exercise 1: Reverse Crunch
Perform 20 seconds of Reverse Crunches and then break for 10 seconds.
Exercise 2: Scissor Kicks
Perform 20 seconds of Scissor Kicks and then break for 10 seconds.
Exercise 3: V-Ups
Perform 20 seconds of V-Ups and then break for 10 seconds.
Exercise 4: Heel Touches
Perform 20 seconds of Heel Touches and then break for 10 seconds.

Repeat 2x Total = 4 Minutes

If you are feeling energized and want to level up, do both of these routines to create an effective and efficient 8 minute routine. This is the one type of exercise where if you aren’t experiencing a burning discomfort, you aren’t doing it right.

You can also create your own routine by combining 4 of your favorite ab workouts. I suggest picking exercises that are easy to transition to, so you can take full advantage of the 10 second rest. If you take too long to transition, it will lose its effect. Plan ahead what you will incorporate.
Everyone has 4 minutes to spare. The easiest way to turn four minutes into a strong and sculpted core is to add this onto the beginning or end of your regular routine every other day. This is the no-excuses routine you need to make those abs poppin’ without a filter!