Build core strength without weights in just 10 minutes

This short, equipment-free yoga routine boosts your flexibility and builds core muscle

Woman holding a yoga pose
(Image credit: Alo Moves)

Ab workouts are usually sweaty, intense affairs, built around multiple core-focused moves like crunches and sit-ups. Fortunately, this yoga-inspired routine stretches your muscles, improves your flexibility, and strengthens your core in just 10 minutes,

You don't need any equipment to start, though it's worth rolling out one of the best yoga mats for the short workout. These mats have a grippy surface to help you stay in place while holding the moves and add some comfort for floor-based exercises.

Gaiam Premium 5mm Yoga Mat | $69.98,  $54.98 at Amazon

Gaiam Premium 5mm Yoga Mat | $69.98,  $54.98 at Amazon

This Gaiam extra thick yoga mat is surprisingly lightweight (3lbs/1.4kg) and it has been designed with a closed cell construction to block out sweat and odors. The 5mm thickness will keep your joints extra supported through your workouts. Save 21% if you buy one now!

Gorilla Mats Premium Large Yoga Mat | $119.95,  $84.85 at Amazon

Gorilla Mats Premium Large Yoga Mat | $119.95,  $84.85 at Amazon

Transform any room into a home workout space or yoga studio with this spacious and padded mat. When you buy this 8mm mat that's currently on offer for 29% cheaper, you will also receive a microfiber towel plus a carry bag for free!

The routine, developed by Alo Moves instructor Christa Janine, is designed to "stretch out any tension", using several yoga poses, and build your core with ab-focused moves like hollow holds, flutter kicks, and heel reaches. 

It's a short session, split into two rounds of five minutes. This makes it ideal as a quick workout when you're tight on time, especially as you can cut it down to five minutes if needed or add it to your regular exercise plan as a core-focused finisher.

You don't need an in-depth knowledge of yoga, as Janine guides you through the routine, so you can follow along and perfect your technique. She also narrates the steps, so you can keep track even if you're only listening with a set of the best workout earbuds.

Watch Alo Moves' 10-minute Power Flow routine

If you want to strengthen your mid-body muscle, then core yoga can be an accessible way to get started. Yoga routines are designed to focus you on your form, making minor adjustments to your posture, which quickly make the hold more effective.

People often talk about your core and abs interchangeably, although there are differences between the two. Your rectus abdominis, also known as the six-pack ab muscle, forms part of your core, a section of mid-body muscle responsible for posture, balance, and stability.

Building core muscle strengthens the connection between your upper and lower body, which improves your workout performance and makes everyday tasks like lifting or walking more manageable. But there are other benefits to this short yoga routine too.

According to a study published in the journal Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, yoga can improve your cardio fitness, endurance, and muscular strength with regular practice, like with this 15-minute yoga for mobility session.

Yoga is sometimes called moving meditation for its ability to help you focus on the present moment. If you're after a less dynamic way to bring some mindfulness into your day, then you could try learning how to meditate instead.

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.

In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.