Many people settle down for a few sets of sit-ups in search of a visible six-pack, but the strength and performance benefits of training your core far outweigh any aesthetic motivators.
That's why I was so excited when Chris Hemsworth's long-time trainer Luke Zocchi shared a 10-minute core workout that only uses a resistance band. After all, if it's good enough for the God of Thunder, it's probably good enough for me.
The workout is a circuit of just four moves, performed one after the other. Complete 10 repetitions on each side of your body before moving on to the next exercise, and rest for 60 seconds when you've finished all four.
Once you've run through this circuit three times, you can call it a day. This sounded simple enough, so I scooped up one of the best resistance bands and resolved to give it a go.
Watch Zocchi's video below to see how each of the four moves should be performed, or scroll down to find out how I fared taking on this disarmingly simple session.
Watch Luke Zocchi's resistance band core workout
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Zocchi's Instagram video shows the Australian trainer hitting the session on a sunny rooftop in Sayulita, Mexico. I took it for a spin in my shabby-chic home gym in Bristol, England, but the effects were still impressive.
I'm a fitness writer, so it comes with the territory that exercising is a big part of my life. From CrossFit to running to walking the dog, not a day goes by when I don't move my body in some way, so I fancy myself as a fairly fit individual. But, unlike my dog's morning outing, this workout definitely wasn't a walk in the park.
The first thing I liked about Zocchi's selection of exercises was the notable absentees: namely, sit-ups and crunches. I find many ab workouts lean too heavily on these two movements, but they don't offer a particularly comprehensive core workout.
Instead, the featured exercises hit under-used mid-section muscles like the stabilising transverse abdominis, and the internal and external obliques that power rotational movements.
Strengthening these areas is key to building a functional body, boosting your balance, improving your stability and even preventing injuries in areas like the lower back.
I could feel the difference during the workout too. Rather than the targeted burn in the rectus abdominis muscles (otherwise known as the six pack, sitting front and center in your stomach) that infinite sit-ups and crunches can bring, I could feel all parts of my core begin to ache as they were put to work.
I was also a big fan of how accessible the session was. It took less than ten minutes and only used a fairly light resistance band, so you don't need to make a trip to the gym or set aside an hour of your day if you want to give it a go.
Case in point: I was able to work through it on my lunchbreak, with time to spare for a slap-up meal afterwards. So, if you want to try it for yourself, all you have to do is grab a resistance band and get moving!
This is a short workout, so I'd recommend using it as a finisher tagged on to the end of a longer strength training session like this six-move beginner-friendly workout from top trainer Katie Crewe.
And, if you liked this how time-efficient this short circuit was, we spoke to Zocchi about how he uses multi-muscle compound exercises in his and Hemsworth's workouts to build muscle even when they're tight on time.
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Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.
Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.
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