Ultimate Core: 10 Exercises, 20 Minutes

If you asked everyone the one thing they want to achieve most from their workout routine and diet, the biggest answer by far would be better abs.

Whether it’s less weight around our tummies, banished love handles, flatter stomachs, or a more defined six pack, our abs are the centre of our bodies and often the centre of all our focus.

Our core strength affects the rest of our body and impacts results of our workout elsewhere too. So, we’ve put together a few simple exercises into one hard-core abs routine, to help you target that middle section and get the best possible results in just 20 minutes.

The Structure

There are 10 exercises in total, each working your core but often incorporating another compound move to challenge your body, work supportive muscles, and burn more calories.

You should aim to complete each exercise once, and then repeat from the top.

Aim for 45 seconds on each exercise, with just 15 seconds rest. If you struggle to hold correct form and posture, reduce to just 30 seconds and increase your rest period. For those exercises which work a single leg, complete the first round on one leg, and the second on the opposite.

Remember that the core muscles aren’t just your abs. They are the muscles which support your spine, from your hips up to your shoulders. Correct form is essential, and as with most core exercises, if you find it easy, you’re probably not doing it right.

Be sure to engage your abs and glutes at every opportunity, focusing on control and balance.

The Exercises


  • Plank

 Get into a basic plank position, ensuring your spine is straight and aligned right down your body, with your hands placed under your shoulders, hips raised from the floor, and core pulled tight and engaged. Bend your elbows to rest on your forearms, whilst maintaining your body position, and hold for 45 seconds.

  • Reverse Plank and Dip

Flip over onto your bum, with your legs stretched out and arms behind you, palms down. Lift your hips towards the ceiling, with your heels on the floor, forming a straight line with your torso. Bend your elbows so your bum dips down to the floor, then straighten back up. Repeat for 45 seconds.

  • Squat Punch

Sit slowly into a deep squat position, keeping knees behind your toes, back straight and tall, chest out and head up. Punch out in front of you, alternating arms and working your obliques. Hold in the squat position for 45 seconds.

  • V-Sit Up with Bicep Curl 

Sit down in the finished sit up position, with dumbbells in each hand, curled up to your shoulders. Lower your body down to a 45 degree angle, engaging abs as you move backwards. As you recline, extend your arms down your side, and then curl back up as your body returns to the upright position. Repeat for 45 seconds. 

  • Dumbell Slides

Return to a push-up plank position, palms flat, arms extended, but this time place a dumbbell underneath your chest. Reach out to the dumbbell with your right hand, and slide it underneath your shoulder. Slide it back to the centre, and then move it with your left hand to your left shoulder. Alternate each side for 45 seconds.

  • Front Lunge with Shoulder Press

With a dumbbell in each hand and arms ready at shoulder height, lunge forward on your left foot, bending your right knee and dropping down towards the floor. Simultaneously, as you lunge and drop to the floor you should raise your arms above your head in a shoulder press. Drop to your shoulders as you return to standing and repeat on the same leg for 45 seconds.

  • Skaters

With your feet shoulder width apart, cross your right leg behind your left, and drop your body to touch the floor with the fingertips of your right hand. Jump up and right, landing on your right leg as you cross your left leg behind it and drop to the floor with your left hand. Repeat the jump and cross movement from side to side for 45 seconds.

  • Russian Twists

Return to a seated position, knees bent, and heels on the floor. Slowly raise your heels and lean back into a V-Sit position, with your abs engaged. With or without a dumbbell, clasp your hands together and rotate your entire torso (not just head and arms) to one side, touching the floor at the side of your body. Rotate to the opposite direction, and repeat from side to side for 45 seconds.

  • Single Leg Deadlift

Hold two dumbbells in front of your body, with feet hip-width apart. Keeping straight, lean forward and hinge your upper torso at the hips, lowering your torso until your chest is almost parallel to the floor and your arms are extended down. Raise your right leg and extend backwards as your perform this move. Squeeze your glutes and push your hips forward to return to a standing position, raising the dumbbells to your chest as you move upwards. Repeat on the same leg for 45 seconds. 

  • Walkouts

Begin in a tall standing position with soft knees, then bend at the waist, hinging your torso as your move forward and drop your hands onto the floor underneath your shoulders. Walk your hands into the downward dog position, keeping abs and glutes engaged. Keeping soft knees with legs straight, walk forward and return to a standing position. Repeat for 45 seconds.

Repeat from the top, switching legs where applicable.

Want a tougher workout?

If you find this too easy (and you’re doing it correctly) there are a number of modifications you can make, including introducing plank twists, mountain climbers, press-ups and heavier weights.

Speak to any of our personal trainers on the gym floor if you’d like help increasing the intensity or you need a demonstration of any exercises.

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