I Heart Healthy No Excuses Abs Circuit. Image Shows Model Jess Jones in plank position photographed by Maria Brown at Rothesay Bay Beach, Auckland

Jess Jones photographed by Maria Brown at Rothesay Bay Beach, Auckland

After the first few weeks of 2015 have been and gone, you’re among the dedicated few if you’re still keeping up with your New Years Resolutions. Alas, I have already failed at my goal to exercise every day, and to log my meals into MyFitness Pal daily! Since being back to full time work last Monday, I discovered that fitting the gym in was a little harder than expected, especially when my gym buddy (and chauffeur) was sick for the first half of the week.

I decided to come up with a quick abs circuit that was more flexible and easy to fit into my day- this circuit is perfect to sculpt those abs that we all want to show off during the beach season, and there are no excuses for not giving it a go when it requires absolutely zero equipment and as little as seven minutes of your time!


Start with your warm up of preference, such as doing a light jog around the house; on the spot; or running up the stairs. It doesn’t need to be long if you’re only doing one circuit- just make sure that your muscles are warm. I just power walked home from work before getting stuck into the circuit, which worked well for me. Adding a little stretching into the mix is always a good idea too- especially if you’re like me and tend to have stiff muscles.


Bicycle Crunches – 1 minute

Make sure you keep your elbows wide, and don’t interlace your fingers behind your head, as this will put pressure on your neck. Ensure that your abs and your core are engaged as you’re lifting your legs and gently rotating towards the lifted leg. Go for one minute, ensuring that you’re focussing on good form rather than speed.

Reach Crunches – 1 minute

This is a nice modification of your run of the mill crunch that we know so well. Lie with your knees bent and feet fat on the floor, and crunch up. Reach your arm in between your knees as you reach the top, and gently roll back down. Switch arms each time.

Plank with knee tucks – 1 minute

Position yourself in a plank position, then bend your knee and bring it up towards your elbow. Bring your leg back to a plank position and repeat on the other side. Do as many as you can in 1 minute, but make sure you don’t go so fast that you lose correct form.

Forearm Plank – Until failure

Assume a plank position, with your elbows on the ground, stacked directly beneath your shoulders. Your back should be flat and your weight should be over your arms. Hold this position until failure (until you can’t keep good form any longer). Make sure your abs are engaged and your back isn’t sagging.

Recover – 30 seconds – 1 minute

Repeat the circuit as many times as you can. If you’re experienced then try extending the time gradually to 90 seconds, 2 minutes and so on; or try adding a little weight with a medicine ball to your crunches for even stronger abs.


Ensure you stretch a little at the end of your workout. Try some yoga poses like cobra and up dog to lengthen and stretch out your abs. As a general rule I would aim to do at least one minute of stretching for each time I completed the circuit.


You should be tired, and your muscles should feel a little tender, but you shouldn’t be in pain. Contrary to what you might hear on the TV, “No pain, no gain” isn’t quite what we’re going for here.

If you’ve never exercised before or you’re not familiar with these exercises then please make sure you get instruction on correct form from a fitness instructor; trainer or physio; and as always, check with your doctor to make sure that your exercise regime is right for you.

Now there are no excuses for not fitting a little bit of abs into your day- Now drop and give me twenty!