Workout At Home: Kayla Itsines’ Abs Circuit

It’s hard to believe Kayla Itsines only earned her personal training diploma less than a decade ago. Following the mammoth success of her cult app, Sweat, and with 12m Instagram followers, this darling of the fitness world is on a mission to empower women, one burpee at a time. Here, Kayla shares an abs circuit to get your sweat on at home…

You’ll only need the space of your mat for this abs workout. Your abdominals can move in multiple directions, and so should you if you want to train them effectively. There are two circuits to this workout, each with four exercises. Complete as many laps of each seven-minute circuit as possible while still maintaining great technique. 

CIRCUIT 1

Butterfly Sit-Up

  1. Start by lying flat on your back on a yoga mat. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together, allowing your knees to fall out to either side. Engage your abs by drawing your belly button in towards your spine. Bring the palms of your hands together and extend your arms along your torso. This is your starting position.

  2. Inhale and exhale. While keeping your lower body as still as possible, slowly lift your head, shoulder blades and torso off the floor and sit up tall, reaching your hands towards your toes.

  3. Inhale. Slowly lower your torso, shoulder blades and head to the mat to return to the starting position. Repeat for 12 reps.

Mountain Climber

  1. Place both hands on the yoga mat shoulder-width apart and both feet behind you, resting on the balls of your feet. Gently draw your ribs to your hips to engage your core. This is your starting position.

  2. Keeping your left foot on the floor, bend your right knee and bring it in towards your chest.

  3. Extend your right leg to the starting position.

  4. Keeping your right foot on the floor, bend your left knee and bring it in towards your chest.

  5. Extend your left leg to return to the starting position. Continue alternating between right and left for 40 reps (20 per side).

Side Plank & Hip Lift

  1. Start by lying lengthways along a yoga mat. Place your right forearm firmly on the floor, ensuring your elbow is directly below your shoulder and that your forearm is in line with the short edge of your mat. Extend both legs and, using your obliques, gently raise your hips off the mat. Position your feet one on top of the other or place your left foot on the mat in front of your right – whichever is most comfortable. Gently draw your ribs to your hips to engage your core. This is your starting position.

  2. Inhale. Gently lower your hips towards the mat slightly.

  3. Exhale. Using your obliques, elevate your hips to return to the starting position. Repeat this movement for 12 reps each side.

Heel Tap

  1. Start by lying flat on your back on a yoga mat with your arms by your sides. Bend your knees and position your feet firmly on the mat hip-width apart. Slowly lift your head and shoulder blades and arms off the floor and gently draw your ribs to your hips to engage your core. This is your starting position.

  2. Bend your torso to the right to allow your right hand to touch your right ankle.

  3. Return to the starting position and bend your torso to the left to allow your left hand to touch your left ankle. Continue alternating between right and left for 15 reps.

CIRCUIT 2

High Knees

  1. Plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your weight on your left foot, bend your right leg to bring your knee into your chest.

  2. Lower your right leg and plant your foot on the floor. Keeping your weight on your right leg, bend your left leg to bring your knee into your chest. Once you are comfortable with this movement, increase your speed so you’re hopping from one foot to the other.

  3. Continue alternating between right and left legs for 40 reps (20 per side).

Alternating Jackknife

  1. Start by lying straight on your back on a yoga mat with your legs extended out in front of you. Bend your elbows and place your hands behind your earlobes. Gently raise both legs and your head and shoulders off the mat. This is your starting position. 

  2. While keeping your right leg extended, elevate your left leg so it’s at a 90-degree angle to your hips. At the same time, extend your right arm to bring your hand up towards your left foot – slowly lifting your head, shoulder blades and torso off the mat.

  3. Lower your torso, shoulder blades and head to the mat. Lower your left leg and place your right hand behind your earlobes to return to the starting position. Continue alternating between left and right sides for 20 reps (10 per side).

Straight-Leg Raise & Hip Lift

  1. Start by lying on your back and place both hands underneath your coccyx bone. Extend both legs and engage your abs. This is your starting position.

  2. Keeping your feet together, slowly raise your legs off the floor until they form a 90-degree angle with your hips.

  3. Allow your hips and lower back to lift off the floor and press your feet upwards towards the ceiling. Slowly lower your legs to return to the starting position. Repeat for 15 reps.

Half Burpee & Plank Jack

  1. Plant both hands on the mat slightly further than shoulder-width apart, feet together on the mat behind you while resting on the balls of your feet. This is your starting position.

  2. Inhale. Jump both of your feet outwards so they are slightly wider than your hips, ensuring your hips remain level.

  3. Jump both feet inwards to return to the starting position.

  4. Exhale. Jump both feet forwards in between your hands, ensuring your feet remain shoulder-width apart.

  5. Inhale. Jump both of your feet backwards to return to the starting position. Continue alternating between half burpee and plank jack for 20 reps (10 each).

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