Strengthen your abs and build a stronger core with this four-move workout

This short routine targets your side abs to build core muscle, improve your balance, and reduce back pain

Woman doing a bicycle crunch during a home workout
(Image credit: Getty)

We all have our favorite exercises, and some which we really don't look forward to. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to work your muscles, especially around your core, so you don't have to get stuck with endless sit-ups or planks. 

This customizable core routine lets you cherry-pick your favorite moves and swerve those that don't take your fancy, helping you strengthen your midsection muscles and (most importantly) have a good time doing it. 

You don't need any equipment to give it a go either, although a cushioned yoga mat is always a welcome addition if you're tackling it on unforgiving hard floors. 

The workout from Sweat app trainer Britany Williams will work your entire core, but it focuses on your obliques (sometimes called the side abs). Williams shares six moves for you to choose from and asks you to pick your favorite four. 

To take the workout for a spin, place your selected exercises together in a circuit, completing 12 repetitions of each one. Repeat this for three total rounds to create an efficient and effective session. 

You can watch Williams' demonstrations of the six exercises in the videos below, then all that's left to do is warm up, take your pick, and away you go. 

Watch Britany Williams’ four-move abs workout

You might notice that a lot of the moves in this workout require you to twist your torso or bend sideways. This is how to train obliques, as these are the movement patterns these muscles are responsible for. 

You use these movements every day, whether you're bending down to pick something up or reaching to one side to take an item off a supermarket shelf, so it makes sense to strengthen your obliques and protect yourself from injury. 

These aren't their only roles either. The obliques also support your trunk, help with breathing and stabilize the pelvis, which can help reduce lower back pain. 

Williams' session should only take about 10 minutes, making it a great way to squeeze some mood-boosting movement into a busy day. Or, if you have a little more time on your hands, you can add it to a strength session like this five-move kettlebell workout

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.