This four-move upper-body workout includes my least favorite core exercise, but I actually enjoyed it

Side planks were my sworn enemy, but this no-equipment workout changed my mind

home workout set up
(Image credit: Future)

In my drive to add more core-focused workouts to my routine, I've been looking around for short abs routines that don't make me want to give up halfway through. 

Training your midsection is so important for all round strength, but it's no secret that I can't stand crunches, sit-ups, and don't even get me started on Russian twists. So, to make sure I enjoy my workouts, I prefer to find sessions that have less of the moves I don't like. 

That's how I came across this 15-minute abs workout. You don't need any equipment, except one of the best yoga mats for a bit of support, so you can add it onto the end of a longer session or whenever you have a spare moment. 

It was developed by Elise Young (known by her social media handle, Elise's Bodyshop) to target your abs and work your core. Plus, there's even an arms element to it, and this sold it to me, so I decided to give it a go. 

Watch Elise Bodyshop's abs and arms workout

I prefer my workouts to be short and effective, so I was pleased to see that there were just four moves here, which made it short enough to add to the end of my regular leg workout

Young suggests that you do each exercise for 35 second, take a 25-second rest, then start on the next move. Repeat the circuit four times for a comprehensive 16-minute core-focused session.  

  • Push-up drive
  • Bear tap
  • Push plank tap
  • Side plank

It's important to focus on your form to get the most from the short session and avoid injury. Thankfully, Young demonstrates all the moves you need, so you can practice your technique before you start.

Would I do this workout again?

 I really enjoyed this workout and will definitely be keeping it on my roster of core strengthening exercises. I particularly liked that it required no equipment so it's an easy one to do from home if I'm having a particularly busy week.

Side planks are a big bug bear for me, they are an exercise I've never really been good at. But you're never good at anything without some perseverance, right? And the benefits of a strengthened core are always worth a short period of work.

The rest of the moves were really enjoyable (as enjoyable an abs workout can be). I'm usually a big fan of bodyweight workouts and their accessibility, and I appreciated that Young designed an effective routine without weights. 

However, because you're working your muscles hard, it's quite likely you'll also feel the effects of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which is why, after this workout, I had a shake with one of the best protein powders for weight loss to boost my recovery. 

Lois Mackenzie
Fitness Writer

Lois Mackenzie is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering strength training workouts with weights, accessible ways to stay active at home, and training routines for runners. She joined the team from Newsquest Media Group, where she was a senior sports, trends, and lifestyle reporter. She is a dedicated runner, having just completed her first marathon, and an advocate for spending time outdoors, whether on a walk, taking a long run, or swimming in the sea. 

Lois holds a Master's degree in Digital Journalism, and has written for Good Health, Wellbeing & The Great Outdoors,, and Newsquest Media Group, where her reporting was published in over 200 local newspapers.