No weights, no crunches, just a 5-minute workout to build a stronger core

This short workout is great for building strength in your core, especially when you're short on time

Woman performs core workout outside
(Image credit: Getty)

Your core muscles come in handy every single day. Whether you're pulling yourself out of bed in the morning, sitting at your desk all day, or trying to improve your deadlift form at the gym - your core is constantly in use. A strong core improves things like balance, posture, and stability, so it's worthwhile sparing five minutes to complete this equipment-free core workout.

You might already be well acquainted with the best workouts for abs but your abdominal muscles only form a small section of your core. Incorporating core strengthening exercises into your usual fitness routine will not only help to define your six-pack muscles but will build noticeable strength across the various areas that your core accounts for such as the obliques, diaphragm, pelvic floor, trunk extensors, and hip flexors.

This time-efficient routine comes from the Criticalbench YouTube channel and was created by one of their strength specialist coaches, Brian Klepacki. Not only is the 5-minute routine easy to fit into a busy diary but it's also ideal for those who hate performing crunches as part of their ab and core training. 

Due to this being such a short training session there aren't set breaks included in this workout but do give yourselves 30 seconds or so to prepare for the next exercise if needed. 


The folk at Criticalbench believe the core has a greater purpose than forming a six-pack, "Whether you want those beach body abs or are in pursuit of getting rid of that doughnut you’ve been carrying around for a while now, training your core correctly can have a significant impact on your health and overall fitness," they add, "Your body is designed to work as a unit and must be trained in 3D. This is best achieved with exercises that are total body, dynamic movements."

We've listed all the exercises you'll need below to conquer this core engaging routine.

  • Catcher's Squat to Reach - 25 reps
  • Superman - 25 reps
  • Twisting Squat Jump - 25 reps
  • Cross Body Mountain Climber - 50 reps
  • Scissor Kicks - 50 reps
  • Shoulder Taps - 50 reps

If for any reason you can't perform the squat jumps, Zach who leads this session demonstrates an alternate exercise. Instead, you can perform a squat with a rotational reach for 25 reps, which is lower impact but equally effective.

There are heaps of scientific papers out there backing why training your core can be so beneficial for your overall fitness performance and quality of life. For example, this study published in the PLOS One journal found that just eight weeks of core workouts can improve static balance, core endurance, and running economy. If you're eager to take up running more seriously then working on your core muscles may make moving in a pair of the best running shoes for men or the best running shoes for women that little bit easier.

Moreover, research in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation revealed that patients who suffered from chronic lower back pain were able to manage pain better with core-based exercise.

If you fancy giving yourself a real challenge after a workout like the one above, consider adding in one of the best ab rollers to the end of your routine. This small training device is great for working the entire core as well as your upper body.

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.