Workout: Strong to the core

This express, medium-intensity routine will see you using your own body weight combined with gym props to strengthen your core muscles.

Your core muscles - including abs, back and glutes - provide you with stability, balance and strength, which can help prevent injury. Follow these step-by-step instructions to a variety of exercises that will help you activate your core and feel more ready to take on the world.

You'll need: Swiss ball, cross trainer, arc trainer, plate weights.

How to perform the exercises


Warm up

  • Squat (30 seconds)
  • Reverse lunge reach back (30 seconds)
  • Wide-hands pushup (30 seconds)
  • Mountain climbers (30 seconds)
  • Walking high knees (30 seconds)

3 x sets (5 min rest between sets)

  • Swiss ball crunch or floor sit ups (10 reps)
  • Russian twist* (20 reps)
  • Lying straight leg raise (20 reps)
  • Plank (60 secs)
  • Single leg hip raise (30 secs)
  • Side plank lift (10 reps)
  • Cross-body mountain climber (10 reps)
  • Superman from floor (10 reps)

*If you don't have any weights, try food cupboard basics like a bag of rice, a tin of beans or a bottle of water.

Warm down

  • Jog (360 secs)
  • Thoracic rotation (30 secs)
  • Cat camel (30 secs)
  • Hamstring stretch (30 secs)
  • Lying glute stretch (30 secs)
  • Side hip and quad stretch (30 secs)
  • Straight-leg calf stretch (30 secs)
  • Standing IT band stretch (30 secs)

Last updated Wednesday 16 September 2020

First published on Wednesday 5 August 2015