The Quick-Fire Core Workout You Can Do Anywhere

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If you want to hit the gym and work purely on developing showy muscle like your abs and biceps, then all power to you – we’re not going to rag on anyone who’s going to the gym. However, if you want to get better at the serious lifts and build an all-round stronger body, then you need to spend time on your core as well.

Fortunately working the core is something you’re probably doing already, because so many exercises involve it. Your mind might leap to midsection-focused moves like crunches when you consider core work, but any exercise that involves both your upper and lower body will also challenge your core, as will any move that requires you to maintain your balance.

That said, it’s still a good idea to add some core-specific workouts to your training regime. Workouts like the one you’ll find below. There are only five moves in the workout in total so it won’t take you much time, but it’s intense enough that you’ll be feeling the effects for days afterwards. The five-move workout is broken up into a two-move superset and then a tri-set, so you’ll be doing the exercises back-to-back, keeping your core muscles under tension for long stretches. Brace yourself.


For both moves of the first superset, try to not let your hands or feet touch the floor between reps. Keeping them aloft increases the workload on your upper and lower abs, which makes both moves harder but forces more muscle fibres into action and helps maintain more muscular tension.

1A Alternating leg raise

Alternating leg raise

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Targets Upper and lower abs

Sets 4 Reps 25 each side Rest 20sec

Lie on your back with your head supported in your hands. Raise both feet off the floor, then raise one foot as high as you can, keeping both legs straight. Lower it again, then raise your other leg. Alternate with each rep.

1B V-sit


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Targets Lower abs

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 60sec

Lie on your back with arms and legs fully straight. Keeping them straight, contract your abs to bring your hands and feet up to meet over your middle. Pause at this top position, then slowly return to the start.


For the first two moves of this tri-set try to make sure each rep is smooth and controlled, with a conscious focus on your entire core being tight and engaged, rather than rushing through them. The slower your reps, the more time under tension your abs must manage – and that’s the key to building greater definition, strength and stamina.

2A Plank with shoulder taps

Plank with shoulder taps

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Targets Entire core

Sets 4 Reps 25 Rest 20sec

Start at the top of a press-up. Brace your core, then lift one hand up to touch the opposite shoulder, then lower it again. That’s one rep. Repeat, alternating the shoulder taps with each rep.

2B Plank with toe taps

Plank with toe taps

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Targets Entire core

Sets 4 Reps 25 Rest 20sec

Start in a plank position, resting on your forearms. Brace your core, then lift one foot wide to one side. Pause, then return to the start. That’s one rep. Repeat, alternating sides for the toe taps with each rep.

2C Superman plank

Superman plank

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Targets Entire core

Sets 4 Time 40sec Rest 60sec

Start in a plank position with your abs tight. Raise one arm and the opposite leg so they are fully straight. Hold this position without letting your hips sag for 40sec. That’s the set. To work both sides equally, raise your right arm and left leg in the first and third set, and raise your left arm and right leg in the second and fourth.

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