Fire Up Your Core And Side Abs With This Quick Bodyweight Circuit

Woman performs a bicycle crunch core exercise indoors
(Image credit: Getty Images / Stevica Mrdja / EyeEm)

Core training should form part of everyone’s exercise regime, because the core muscles provide the foundations for moving effectively and safely. In our guide to core exercises, trainer Jess King at F45 recommended including just five to 10 minutes of core work in your training a few times a week. 

This simple bodyweight workout from personal trainer Alex Rice is a great way to dedicate some time to your deep-lying core muscles like the transversus abdominis and multifidus, which both help to support your spine, as well as the obliques.

Your obliques run down the side of your torso (which is why they’re often called your side abs) and are often neglected in workouts, but training them is very much worthwhile. “The obliques help to stabilise and protect your spine, as well as helping to bend and rotate your torso to the side, so it’s important to include them in your abs workouts,” said PT Ann Brindley when she gave us her favourite obliques exercises

Rice’s session consists of just four moves that you’ll repeat in a circuit format for three rounds in total. You don’t need any equipment either. Tag it on to the end of a gym workout or perform it as a standalone session. 

Watch Rice take you through each of the exercises in her video below.

This is a pretty challenging workout with some more advanced moves, particularly the reverse and side planks. To make the plank variations easier, bend your knees slightly and move your feet closer to your body for the reverse plank, and keep your lower knee on the floor during the side plank dips.

Make sure you brace your core before beginning any of the holds or movements, and keep your movements slow and controlled, rather than trying to complete each rep as quickly as possible. This will increase the time your muscles spend under tension, providing the stimulus needed for strength and muscle gains. 

We have a great range of core workouts to choose from once you’ve tried this routine. This bodyweight core workout has a similar feel to the above, or if you like to finish a workout out of breath, give this AMRAP core finisher a try.

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.