A 10-Minute Core Workout You Can Do Right Now

If you want to build balanced strength, working your core is key—but it doesn’t have to take forever. In fact, a 10-minute core workout can be a great way to challenge those muscles and reap the strength-building benefits.

Remember, your core consists of more muscles than just your “abs,” (your rectus abdominis, or the muscles which run vertically along the front of your abdomen) and your external obliques, which run along the sides of your abdominal wall. Your core also includes deeper muscles that you can’t see, such as your transverse abdominis, your erector spinae in your lower back, and your pelvic floor muscles.

“Most people think about those external muscles when they think about a core workout, but working your internal core muscles is very important, too,” ACE-certified personal trainer Sivan Fagan, owner of Strong with Sivan, tells SELF. “They help you stabilize your spine and transfer energy throughout your body.”

If those deeper core muscles are weak, you can have what’s called an “energy leak” when you’re strength training, says Fagan. Think about what happens when you’re squatting: You need all your core muscles to fire to help you push back up. If your deep core muscles are weak, your lower back will end up taking on too much of the work, which can lead to strain or injury.

The best way to train your core is to take it through both of its functions: creating movement and resisting movement, says Fagan. Many people focus more on creating movement—say, with moves like crunches—but forget about resisting movement (like with planks), which is necessary for building stability.

That’s why this 10-minute core workout, created by Fagan, incorporates abs moves that both resist movement and create movement so you can build efficient, practical core strength that transfers to your other workouts and in everyday life.

Ready to get started? Here’s what you need for a quick core workout you can do at home.

The Workout

What you need: Just your bodyweight and an exercise mat for cushioning.

The Exercises

  • Deadbug
  • Plank shoulder tap
  • Side kick-through
  • Bicycle crunch

Demoing the moves below are Rachel Denis (GIF 1), a powerlifter who competes with USA Powerlifting and holds multiple New York State powerlifting records, Nathalie Huerta (GIF 2), a coach at The Queer Gym in Oakland, California; Tiana Jones (GIF 3), a dance and fitness instructor based in New York City; and Cookie Janee (GIF 4), a background investigator and security forces specialist in the Air Force Reserve.

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