Forget sit-ups—try these six moves to strengthen your core instead

Boost your balance, build a stronger core and protect yourself from back injuries with these bodyweight exercises

A man performing the bird dog exercise
(Image credit: Getty / Koldunova_Anna)

Sit-ups are probably the most famous core exercise in the world, but there are plenty of other ways to work your mid-body muscles. If you're looking for alternatives, try this comprehensive core workout from fitness trainer James Stirling (AKA the London Fitness Guy).

It includes six equipment-free moves: bird dogs, hollow rocks, shoulder taps, hip dips, reverse crunches and single-leg jacks. These moves can be added into your usual workout or combined into a circuit for a standalone core session. 

Watch Stirling’s video below to learn the perfect form for each exercise and find out how long you need to do each one for. 

How to do the London Fitness Guy's core workout

When people think about working the core, their first thought is often of the “six pack muscles” or rectus abdominis. However, there’s more to it than that. The rectus abdominis is part of a wider group of mid-body muscles called the core, which are key to most movements we do. 

They link the upper and lower body, transferring power between the two; to visualize this, think about a boxer throwing a punch, generating power first in their lower body then transferring this through the core, shoulders and arms at lightning speed. 

The core is also vital for maintaining your posture, boosting your balance, stabilizing the body and supporting the spine. 

As a result, core strengthening exercises can improve your performance in sport, exercise and everyday life. 

A cushioned, grippy mat can make your home workouts more comfortable and enjoyable. Read our guide to the best yoga mats to find one that could elevate your training. 

Harry Bullmore
Fitness Writer

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.