Seven moves in seven minutes to develop core strength and boost your balance

Improve your stability, boost your workout performance, and promote circulation by working your whole core

A man performing a side plank outdoors
(Image credit: Getty / Nastasic)

You shouldn't be doing 60 minutes of straight sit-ups if you want a strong core. Instead, try using this quick routine to work your mid-body muscles with seven moves in as many minutes. 

Optional yoga mat aside, you don't need any equipment to give it a go either, making it a great option for a quick home workout or squeezing in a lunch break session during a busy work day. 

The routine comes from functional fitness trainer Jay Maryniak (JTM_Fit), and the format is pretty straightforward; exercise for 50 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then start the next move until you reach the end of the seven-move circuit. 

It's a short session, but it effectively targets your core muscle — a section of muscle around your stomach that connects your upper and lower body, and includes your rectus abdominis, commonly known as the six-pack abs muscle. 

But to strengthen your core in just seven minutes, you need to perfect your form to ensure you're engaging the right muscles. Fortunately, you can use Maryniak's demonstrations to practice the technique before you get started. 

Watch Jay Maryniak's seven-move core workout

Although sit-ups are a popular ab-focused exercise, there are other ways to work your whole core, strengthening your entire mid-body and boosting the connection between your upper and lower body. 

Sit-ups do engage part of your abdominal muscles, but they also encourage your spine to flex, so you're not getting the best bang for your buck from your training, especially since there are differences between abs and core workouts

In contrast, Maryniak's workout gets your doing a range of movement patterns that hit your midsection from all angles. The circuit-style format will also put your muscular endurance to the test, while boasting decent cardio credentials too. 

Maryniak recommends using this routine as a quick standalone session if you're pressed for time, or adding it to a longer resistance training workout (like a circuit of these strength training exercises for weight loss) if you fancy something a bit longer. 

If you want to add more variety to your abs sessions, you could try adding some core yoga into your routine. You can do the entire thing as a flow class, smoothly transitioning between poses, or pull out a few moves to add to your regular workout. 

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.