Sit-ups and crunches often feature heavily in core-focused workouts, but these aren't your only options if you want to develop your mid-body muscles.
These five compound exercises from fitness trainer Tanya Poppett will fire up your core, but they will also strengthen your upper and lower body. You only need a set of dumbbells to do them and they'll provide a much more comprehensive strength training session than back-to-back crunches.
"All exercises work your core to some degree, but I love these ones because they are all about resisting movement and learning to keep your core stable with a constant shift in your centre of gravity," Poppett explains in a recent Instagram post. "The variety also makes things a little more fun, if you ask me."
How to do Tanya Poppett's core workout
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To turn these five moves into a workout, do each one for 10 repetitions in turn, taking a short 10 to 15-second rest between them. Repeat this sequence four times in total for a full-body routine that should take about 20 minutes.
Benefits of this workout
The core muscles play a part in pretty much every movement you do, transferring power between the upper and lower body to help you generate force through your arms and legs—vital in any sport. These muscles are also partly responsibility for your balance, stability, posture and any movement (or resisting of movement) in your spine. A strong core also takes stress away from your spine, leaving you less prone to back pain .
As such, it's well worth doing some regular core strengthening exercises, but a good workout schedule should also include training for your upper and lower body.
If you're short on time, this 20-minute session from Poppett will make sure you're challenging your legs and arms as well as your mid-body muscles.
Need some help choosing weights? Our guide to the best adjustable dumbbells can help
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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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