I Took A 10-Minute Break From Work And Used This Bodyweight Workout To Activate My Deep Core Muscles

The author performs the crunch and knee raise
(Image credit: Alice Porter / Future)

I often include short core workouts at the end of my strength training workouts as finishers. In part that’s because a strong core is crucial to performing heavy compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts safely, but having a strong core can also reduce the back pain I experience after sitting at a desk all day.

To build my core strength, I’ve decided to take a little-and-often approach by using short core routines to break up my working day. I came across this routine from level 3 PT Brooke Inglesfield which is made up of three simple movements and only takes 10 minutes.

It doesn’t require any equipment, so I simply rolled out my yoga mat on my living room floor and got started.

Take a look at Inglesfield’s Instagram Reel where she demonstrates each of the exercises.

This workout involves three movements: crunches, bent leg raises and those first two exercises combined. Inglesfield’s workout requires you to perform an exercise for 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds and then move on to the next exercise. Once you’ve completed all three exercises, repeat that sequence three times in total. Focus on slow and controlled movements to increase the time the muscles are under tension.

I liked that these weren’t complicated core exercises, but I still paid attention to my form, bracing my core before I started by tucking my ribcage in and ensuring my back was flat against the floor. If you need to brush up on your technique, Coach’s expert guide to how to do crunches can help. Our leg raise form guide also features the knee raise variation Inglesfield uses.

I wasn’t sweaty or exhausted by the end of the routine, but I felt that I had challenged my core muscles, and I went back to my desk sitting up a little bit straighter and feeling stronger.

Alice Porter

Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.