8 HIIT Ab Workouts: High-Intensity Exercises In 2024

HIIT means high-intensity interval training. A HIIT ab workout typically pushes you to train at maximum capacity, about 90% of your total heart rate,[1] for a certain amount of time. This is alternated between other low-intensity workouts or rest periods.

A HIIT ab workout also helps you sit, run, stand, and walk better. You’ll tone your legs, arms, and chest. HIIT workouts are especially popular because they help you shed fat, increase your metabolism, and continue to get rid of excess calories even after your training sessions end.

HIIT has cardiovascular benefits and assists with core muscle building and conditioning for your body overall.

8 Best HIIT Ab Workouts To Strengthen Core

Try these HIIT ab exercises for a stronger core and defined abdominals:

  1. Mountain Climbers.
  2. Inchworm.
  3. Jump Squats.
  4. Russian Twists.
  5. Medicine Ball Slams.
  6. Kettlebell Swings.
  7. Plank Up Downs.
  8. Battle Rope Slams.

HIIT Ab Workout To Try Now

For these HIIT ab exercises, beginners should perform five to ten reps to a set, intermediate-level athletes should work toward 11 – 20 reps, and experienced athletes should perform 20 reps or more. Do four sets at least three times a week. At this point, you’ll be ready to advance to more challenging variations.

Mountain Climbers

Mountain climber workouts train your core as well as your abs. This stationary cardio exercise increases your heart rate and provides a decent cardio workout. You can also do it anywhere.

Mountain Climbers - hiit ab workout
Mountain Climbers Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Get in a pushup, or high plank, position, stacking your hands directly below your shoulders, elbows out, with your feet a bit wider and shoulders higher than your hips.
  2. Squeeze your core, shoulders, and glutes for full-body tension. Keep your head in a neutral position and look down at the floor.
  3. Drive your right knee up to touch your chest like you’re running. Return your right leg to a starting position. Then repeat with the left leg. 
  4. Continue alternating reps with proper form while bracing your core to stay level. 


  • Focus on your breathing rhythm to maintain endurance and stability.
  • Keep your shoulders directly over your wrists to avoid unnecessary strain.
  • Engage your lower abs to help bring your knees towards your chest with control.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions per leg.


You can do this across a distance of at least 15 to 20 feet of space or stay in place needing no more space than the length of your body. Either one is effective, but the traveling version engages more of your lower body. 

Inchworm Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart. Ensure your ears are aligned over your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. Engage your abs.
  2. Take a deep breath and breathe out while looking down at the ground and reaching your hands toward the floor in front of your feet. Allow your back to bend forward and roll down one vertebra at a time. Slightly bend your knees if needed so your hands reach the ground.
  3. Place your hands on the floor in front of your feet. Breathe in while walking your hands forward one at a time. Your heels will lift off the floor as your body straightens. When your hands get directly under your shoulders, check that you are in a high plank position. Engage your core, chest, triceps, and shoulders while forming a straight line from your heels to your head.
  4. Keep your legs straight and walk your feet forward toward your hands. Engage your hamstrings, calves, and glutes while your hips lift. Breathe out as you step forward.
  5. Stop when your feet come comfortably close to your hands. Keep your knees bent slightly to ease the stretch while keeping your legs as straight as you can.
  6. Breathe in and slowly roll your back up from the hips into a standing position. This is one rep.


  • Maintain a straight back throughout the movement to prevent strain on your lower back.
  • Engage your core muscles to support your spine as you walk your hands out and in.
  • Perform the exercise on a non-slip surface to ensure stability and safety.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions.

Jump Squats

It is a HIIT ab workout that raises your heart rate while working out your lower body.

Jump Squats
Jump Squats Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing outwards. Keep your arms down by your sides.
  2. Breathe out while lowering down into a squat. Pushing your hips back, bend your knees like you are sitting in a chair. Engage your core throughout the exercise and lower until your thighs come parallel to the ground, or even lower if you can — counterbalance by bringing your hands out in front.
  3. Breathe out while jumping as high as possible. Push through the balls of your feet. Extend through the legs, lifting your feet a few inches off the floor.
  4. Land on the ground into a squat position and gently bend your knees.
  5. Repeat.


  • Maintain proper squat form with knees aligned over your toes and chest up to prevent injury.
  • Land softly with bent knees to absorb impact and reduce stress on your joints.
  • Start with low reps if you’re new to jump squats, gradually increasing intensity.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Russian Twists

For this exercise, grab a medicine ball or weight plate and take a seat on a mat.

Russian Twists
Russian Twists Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. While seated, keep your heels on the floor. Your toes can be off the ground. Squeeze your glutes.
  2. While leaning back, form a right angle from your torso to your thigh.
  3. Raise your arms. Look up and keep your eyes there throughout the exercise.
  4. Rotate your torso from side to side, touching the load down onto the floor on each side of your body. Pause between each rep. Move slowly and keep the load out as far as you can to challenge your abs. Don’t shift your hips and knees.
  5. Repeat.


  • Keep your feet planted firmly on the ground or lift them slightly for an added challenge and better balance.
  • Maintain a straight back and engage your core to prevent lower back strain.
  • Twist from your waist, not your neck, to avoid neck discomfort.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 15-20 twists per side.

Medicine Ball Slams

Do this in a little bit of open space with a slam ball because it’s softer and safer.

Medicine Ball Slams - hiit ab workout
Medicine Ball Slams Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bending your knees and hips while holding the ball in both hands at your torso. Engage your core and watch your posture.
  2. Squat down slightly. Inhale and press through your heels to rise on the balls of your feet. Move your knees and hips to lift the ball overhead. It should be almost straight above you with your arms straight rather than leaning back.
  3. Slam the medicine ball straight down between your feet with great force.
  4. Do this while bending your knees and pressing your hips backward. Breathe out while slamming the ball down.
  5. Squat and pick up the ball, return to the starting position, and then move into the next slam.


  • Use proper form by hinging at your hips and engaging your core to protect your lower back.
  • Choose an appropriate weight for the medicine ball to ensure you can control the slam motion safely.
  • Slam the ball with power and intensity, but ensure a controlled catch and return to avoid injury.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Kettlebell Swings

This requires a kettlebell that’s either light-weight for beginners or moderate-weight for more experienced athletes. Lightweight is considered to be about ten pounds, while moderate weight is around 20.

Kettlebell Swings - hiit ab workout
Kettlebell Swings Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Place the kettlebell on the floor in front of your feet. Squat and grab the handle with both hands, keeping your shoulders back and chest up.
  2. Swing it back between your legs.
  3. Angle your hips forward to swing the kettlebell and carry it up until it’s in front of your body at shoulder height. Engage your glutes, quads, and core.
  4. That’s one rep.
  5. Repeat.


  • Maintain a flat back and hinge at your hips, not your lower back, to avoid strain.
  • Keep a strong core and use your hips to generate power, not your arms.
  • Start with a lighter kettlebell to perfect your form before progressing to heavier weights.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions.

Plank Up Downs

Tighten your core and engage your glutes during this exercise.

Plank Up Downs
Plank Up Downs Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Get into a full plank on your hands. 
  2. Lower your right elbow to the mat and then your left elbow.
  3. Place your right hand on the mat, and straighten your right elbow. 
  4. Do the same on the left.
  5. Repeat.


  • Maintain a neutral spine and engage your core to prevent sagging or overarching.
  • Place your hands directly under your shoulders when transitioning from elbow to hand position.
  • Start with shorter durations and gradually increase the time as you build strength and endurance.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions per arm.

Battle Rope Slams

This is a great workout to boost your heart rate. 

Battle Rope Slams
Battle Rope Slams Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
  2. Hold the rope with both hands in a handshake grip.
  3. Quickly lift both arms overhead and jump.
  4. Slam the rope to the ground as hard as you can. 
  5. Land in a squat.
  6. Repeat.


  • Maintain a slight bend in your knees and engage your core to protect your lower back.
  • Use a full range of motion, raising the ropes above your head and slamming them down with force.
  • Focus on your breathing, exhaling forcefully as you slam the ropes down and inhaling during the recovery phase.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions.

Is HIIT Ab Workout Effective?

HIIT is effective for healthy abs.[2] If you’re interested in belly exercises while also burning fat and getting toned, you’ll be pleased with the results from regular HIIT ab workout training sessions. 

If you want a more visible six-pack look, utilize a weight and/or strength training regimen as well. And, if your HIIT routine needs a little help, try fat burners or other supplements to assist you in your weight loss journey.

Safety Tips For HIIT Core Workout

Safety Tips For HIIT Core Workout
It is important to warm up and cool down carefully for a HIIT abs workout. Photo: umarazak/Shutterstock

Warm Up

  • Run on a treadmill or use the ellipticals for ten to 15 minutes.
  • Stretch, targeting your lower back, for five to ten minutes.

Cool Down

  • Walk slowly on the treadmill for a few minutes.
  • Stretch for another five minutes or so.
  • Use a foam roller on your lower back to help release muscle tension.

Avoid Common Errors

  • Don’t jerk your back during crunches.
  • Do not perform HIIT ab workout if you have a tense lower back.
  • Utilize a diverse training plan.
  • Breathe steadily while working out.
  • Keep workouts at a slow tempo.
  • Make yoga a part of your routine.

The Bottom Line

HIIT ab workouts are popular for a reason. Be sure to get advice from fitness professionals as well as healthcare providers. They can offer many insights, tips, and tricks to stay safe as you mold your abs correctly. 

Don’t forget to eat a healthy diet and consider vitamins or supplements for any nutritional deficits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you do HIIT and weight training on the same day?

Yes, you can do ab HIIT workouts and weight training on the same day as long as you aren’t overtraining.

What workout hits the abs the most?

Russian twists and mountain climbers are a few of the most effective exercises for your abs.

Is it better to do HIIT or cardio first?

Do HIIT and cardio combined to get the most benefits from your workouts.

Can I train abs every day?

If you are trying to build ab muscle and increase core strength, it is advised that you take rest days between workouts.


  1. Muhammed Mustafa Atakan, Li, Y., Şule Koşar, Hüseyin Hüsrev Turnagöl and Lin, Y. (2021). Evidence-Based Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training on Exercise Capacity and Health: A Review with Historical Perspective. [online] 18(13), pp.7201–7201. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137201.
  2. Oliva-Lozano, J.M. and Muyor, J.M. (2020). Core Muscle Activity during Physical Fitness Exercises: A Systematic Review. [online] 17(12), pp.4306–4306. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124306.