One of the best things about core workouts is that they require minimal equipment. All you need is a decent exercise mat (or even an old towel) to cushion your joints and you'll be able to pump out a series of crunches and planks.
While you could use one of the best ab rollers, it's difficult to know which are the best equipment-free moves to try. This simple, five-move sequence allows you to target a range of core muscles — including your abs and obliques — while also providing a decent workout to your arms and shoulders.
Alexia Clark, the self-proclaimed Queen of Workouts, demonstrates the workout below. She's a fully certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist, who regularly creates home and gym-based workouts for her followers. It's a challenging routine, but you can adapt it by dropping the number of repetitions or rounds you complete in the session.
She recommends doing 10 - 15 reps of each exercise and three to four rounds, overall. Her other tip is to allow for minimum rest in between the rounds, which means that your core will feel really fired up by the end of this short session.
Watch Alexia Clark's Five Move, No Equipment Core Workout
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Your core is made up of several different muscles, including your rectus abdominis (which sit at the front of your stomach) and your obliques (which sit along the side). If you want something that's purely for these trunk muscles, have a look at our round-up of the best abs workouts instead.
Why are core muscles important? Well, they're basically responsible for supporting all the other muscles in your body. You can build your quads, calves and biceps all you want, but without a strong core you won't see a lot of functional improvements.
There's some evidence to show that a strong core can improve your sporting performance, too. A systematic review published in Frontiers in Physiology suggested that footballers, basketball players, swimmers, and dancers could all see performance improvements after participating in core training exercise. Other studies have shown that strengthening your core could help with back pain, too.
Most core-targeting movements don't require equipment, but you might want to pick up one of the best yoga mats if you plan to do a lot of floor-based workouts.
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Ruth Gaukrodger is the fitness editor for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, responsible for editing articles on everything from fitness trackers to walking shoes. A lot of her time is spent setting up testing protocols for our in-depth buying guides and making sure everything is reviewed to a set standard, so you can be confident we only recommend the best products on the market.
When she's not wrestling with equipment in our dedicated testing centre, you can find her pursuing running PBs around the streets of London or improving her yoga skills from the comfort of her living room. She’s a keen believer in working out for enjoyment first and is always open to hearing about new, fun ways to exercise.
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