This is most definitely a stock photo and NOT at all representative of my abdominal region

Confession: I hate ab work. I do, it’s uncomfortable. I like feeling the burn in my arms, legs, butt, and back, but I’m a total weeny when it comes to ab workouts.

Having confessed that, I do have my fair share of ab focused exercise videos lying about, many of which I’ve actually tried, cursed, and promptly put away used again.

When reader Sara emailed me last week to ask if I had any core-centric DVD recommendations I decided it was time to stop ignoring my non-existent six-pack and do some planks (my obliques thank you, Sara!) In my own journey to not be a total lazy bum when it comes to my stomach region, I figured I may as well share the wealth with ya’ll. If you’re looking to tighten up those core muscles you may want to check out some of these great ab-centric DVDs.


  • Personal Training with Jackie: Crunch-Free Xtreme Abs. The thing I absolutely love about this 30-minute DVD is that there is not a single crunch to be had. Jackie Warner is a tough cookie; don’t expect any perkiness to be had from this spandex clad blond, she’s all business. This is a tough DVD, the first time I did it I might have cried a little, but it’s doable and it’s effective. The DVD is split up between two routines: a standing ab workout, and a crunchless floor routine. I love the fact that I can still move my neck after my ab routine is done.
  • The Firm-Jiggle Free Abs. I have a soft spot for The Firm ladies, they’re like little Southern Belle drill sergeants. This is classic crunch based ab work with some free-weight work for an added challenge. Because this DVD came out as a part of the ‘TransFirmer’ series there is a fancy shmancy step they use, but don’t worry if you don’t have it, you can sub in a chair or modify for the floor.
  • Sara Ivanhoe’s 20 Min Makeover-Flat Abs. Since September is National Yoga Month, I figured I should slip a yoga DVD into this list.  This is sneaky ab work because it’s disguised as a yoga routine. Sara’s all sweet and soft spoken until, wham, you’re in a pretzel. Don’t trust the sweet and innocent yogi on the cover — this is a hard workout.
  • 10-Minute Solutions Quick Tummy Toners. Ab work can get b-o-r-i-n-g, which is probably why I avoid it at all costs for most of the year, but this 10-minute Solutions jobby is a great way to shake up the routine.  Five segments each with a different theme: crunch-free, bikini belly, yoga abs, waist definer, sexy sport abs. If you do the whole video your abs will never speak to you again.  This is a solid ab video.
  • 10 Minute Solutions: Best Belly Blasters. Another 10 Minute Solutions (I swear they’re not paying me)! I’m not usually a big fan of compilation DVDs, they usually just feel like a cop out to me, but this one makes sense. Inside you’ll find the best 10-minute ab routines from six of their DVDs. As previously mentioned, if you do all six in one sitting your either nuts or in seriously amazing shape. I like to pop this DVD in at the beginning of the week and do a 10-minute segment each night before bed. So doable.
  • The Best of Tamilee: Abs, Abs, Abs. The cover of this DVD makes me not want to go anywhere near it, but inside there are 90 minutes of ab strengthening gold. Like 10-Minute Solutions, this video is a mix-and-match of 5, 10, and 15-minute segments.  This is old school ‘Abs of Steel’ style crunching, with an old school ‘Abs of Steel’ instructor, but that old school stuff worked, so don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

A word of wisdom from many years of fitness magazine reading and a little bit of writing; it may sound like a cliché (because it is) but abs are made in the kitchen. It’s important to have a strong core, but if you’re looking for serious definition, that takes a whole lot of dietary commitment. Sigh, I wish abs came from ice cream.

Thanks to Sara for suggesting this post. If anyone else has any burning reviews they’d like me to do, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at