One thing to know about me – I’ll try just about anything in my quest for my dream abs. Of course, I know Abs are actually related to a person’s overall body fat percentage, but that doesn’t stop me from Google searching for “best abs workout” at least once a week.
This week, I turned to vlogger and fitness model Pamela Reif to try out her “brutal abs workout”. Reif describes this six-minute workout as an “intense six-pack workout” and she wasn’t wrong – it’s like being thrown into the bottom of the pool from 10 seconds, and the workout was easily one of the longest six minutes of my life. It’s no surprise that Reif’s Abs Workout racked up over 15 million views on YouTube, but find out what happened when I put it to the test.
For starters, I’m starting to get used to experimenting with these abdominal workouts in my attempt to find the best home workouts to really burn my heart out from my living room. I have already tried one Daisy Keech’s Most Popular Abdominal Workouts, and Bretman Rock’s “absolutely no” training, but I was completely new to Pamela Reif’s channel. If like me, you haven’t heard of Pamela Reif, she’s a German social media influencer known for her fitness workouts. She has also written two books on health and nutrition and has amassed millions of followers on YouTube and Instagram.
Reif’s six-pack intensive workout is one of the most popular videos on his channel. So I unrolled my yoga mat and followed as Reif demonstrated the movements. The training does not require any additional equipment and can be done just about anywhere.
Pamela Reif’s Abs Workout
If you prefer to follow the workout without the video, it’s written here. It’s worth noting that Reif doesn’t take any breaks between each exercise, which is part of what makes it so intense, but beginners may want to add a 15-second break between each movement.
Bike crunch and leg lift – 30 seconds
To do this exercise, follow the steps of a normal bike crunch – crunch the knee opposite the elbow, strengthen the core, but extend your legs straight as you do this. Keep core engaged and lower back pressed into the ground for a full 30 seconds.
Jackknife – 30 seconds
A jackknife is similar to a toe touch, but you lower your torso and extend your arms behind your head, keeping your neck off the ground, between each touch. Start by lying on your back. With your arms straight behind your head and your legs straight a few inches off the floor, engage your abs to lift your arms and legs as if you were trying to touch your toes. Hold, then go back down to the starting position.
Jackknife variant – 30 seconds
With this variation of the jackknife, Reif performs each section of the jackknife – lowering the arms and torso and lowering the legs to the floor, separately. From the jackknife toe contact phase slowly lower your upper body, then return to the starting position, then lower your legs and repeat.
Crunch hold – 30 seconds
With your legs in a table position, lift your head and neck off the floor, as if doing a crunch. Then pause and hold. Remember to breathe during this exercise and keep your abs engaged.
Crunchy starfish right – 30 seconds
To do a starfish crunch to the right, start by lying on your back with your arms outstretched in a T-shape at your sides and legs outstretched. Engaging your core, raise your right arm and lift your left leg to touch over your stomach, keeping your arm and leg straight; your head and neck should be off the mat. Lower back to starting position, keeping head and neck engaged, then repeat.
Crunchy starfish on the left – 30 seconds
To do a starfish crunch on the left, perform the same exercise as above, but raise your left arm towards your right leg.
Floating kicks – 30 seconds
To kick your feet, lie down with your back resting against the floor with your arms by your side. Raise your legs to the ceiling, then lower them so that they form a 45-degree angle to the floor. Move your legs up and down as if you are swimming, keeping this movement small. Reif keeps his head and neck off the ground during this exercise, but if you need to support your head, you can do that too. If lifting your head and neck puts too much pressure on your lower back, keep them on the floor.
Ab hold with arm circle – 30 seconds
To do this movement, get into a crunch position, with your legs extended at a 45-degree angle and your head and neck lifted off the ground. While you are holding, circle your arms from behind your head to the side of your legs.
Crunch hold – 30 seconds
With your legs in a table position, lift your head and neck off the floor, as if doing a crunch. Then pause and hold.
Russian twist – 30 seconds
Sit on the floor with your knees bent. Keeping your back straight, lean back and lift your legs off the floor. Turn to one side – as far as you can without touching the ground – then turn to the other side.
Plank and bite in – 30 seconds
For this exercise, get into a plank position and remember to create a straight line from your forehead to the heels of your toes. With your weight on your elbows, contract your abs inward, remembering to suck in your stomach and arch your back.
Spider Plank – 30 seconds
From a plank position, bring one knee to the side of the plank, as if bringing it up to touch your elbow (although your knee doesn’t need to touch your elbow). Then return to your starting plank position and repeat on the other side.
Dolphin hold – 30 seconds
Start in a downward doggy position and lower your body weight onto your elbows, keeping your legs straight. Your head can rest on the ground between your elbows.
I tried the Pamela Reif six pack abdominal workout: here’s what happened
One word – ouch. Reif wasn’t lying, this abs workout is intense from the first seconds and the changes from one exercise to another were quick and rapid. Immediately I found the jackknifes difficult and had to slow down to make sure I kept my lower back sunk into the ground; I suffered from sciatica after a horseback riding accident in my teenage years, so I have to be careful with my lower back. I had never done the jackknife variant before; trying to pat yourself on your head and draw circles on your stomach is a real test of coordination, besides being a basic killer.
In the first round of crunch hold, my heart was on fire. The 30 second countdown seemed to slow down, and I got the jerks by the time I finished the starfish movements on the left and right sides.
By the time I got to the abdominal grip with arm circles, I wished I had agreed to test this workout, and seconds later I was cursing Pamela Reif and her perfect abs during the PTO. The exercises did not skyrocket my heart rate or burn calories, but instead caused me to engage and focus on my deep abdominal muscles.
At the end of the dolphin hold, my heart ached noticeably and I felt like I was training for a lot longer than six minutes. While this isn’t a workout I can’t wait to do again, it certainly works and it’s quick enough to accommodate my lunch break, or even between meetings at work. No workout will give you a six pack overnight, but I really felt this one forced me to engage deep core muscles that I probably don’t use in my regular weight training sessions. . I’ll do this one again, but not before my heart stops burning.
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