I added this four-move finisher to my workout and it fired up my core

Core finishers are a great way to burn out your muscles and build strength

Woman doing plank leg raises in a gym
(Image credit: Alice Porter)

I lift weights on a regular basis and a lot of the exercises I do are compound movements. This means they engage a range of muscles at the same time, including the core.

However, I don't spend a lot of time doing exercises that specifically target the core. For the most part this is fine, but during my CrossFit classes I sometimes notice my mid-body strength is lacking during exercises such as pull-ups and press-ups.

With that in mind, I'm trying to incorporate more core work into my fitness routine. I've decided that the best approach is little and often, so I'm adding core finishers to my workouts—just 10 or so minutes of targeted movement to finish off my sessions.

I came across this short routine created by personal trainer Sadie Lee Thomas and decided to put it to the test. Here's how I rated the short, core-blasting sequence.

How to do Sadie Lee Thomas's four-move core finisher

The routine only takes 12 minutes to complete, which makes it ideal as a finisher. It's made up of four moves, three of which are bodyweight and one that requires a dumbbell. (There is the option to do it all equipment-free, simply by doing the Russian twists without a dumbbell.)

To complete this workout, perform each exercise for 30 seconds, then follow it with 30 seconds of rest. Work your way through all of the moves, then repeat the whole thing three times.

My verdict

The routine is designed to activate the muscles in the deep core, which means, as well as the abdominals, these exercises also strengthen the obliques (the muscles down the side of the torso), the hips and the lower back.

I noticed that this routine also challenged the muscles in my lower body. Having just done a workout that involved deadlifts and pull-ups, I'd already activated my core and legs and I felt a burning sensation in my glutes and mid-body almost immediately during the first two exercises.

As per the video, I completed each exercise for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds of rest. Even though the workout was challenging and fired up my core, I felt that I could have increased the work period slightly and rested for less time. This would have been a good way to make the workout shorter.

Overall, I thought this routine was a great way to burn out my core muscles and the combination of plank-based exercises and seated movements made for a well-rounded workout. Next time though, I may try each exercise for 40 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest, twice through.

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.