This standing abs workout only uses four moves to build strong core muscle

Train your abdominal and core muscles with this speedy, four-move circuit

Women complete an indoor workout
(Image credit: Getty)

Building and maintaining a strong core is a real hack for making exercise and everyday life easier for yourself. The stronger the mid-section of your body is, the more stability you will have, helping to avoid lower back pain, improve your posture, and the less likely you are to injure yourself. 

As you grow older it becomes harder for you to gain muscle and maintain strength and it will benefit older you to do things to combat this. Eating a diet high in protein will be beneficial as it's a key building block for our muscles, so it's worthwhile stocking up on one of the best protein powders for weight loss. But keeping up with regular strength-building exercises is also crucial to maintaining muscle as you age.

This short routine from fitness trainer Lisa Lanceford (opens in new tab) is great for improving strength in the core muscle group and it’s all performed standing up. If you hate being down on the floor for exercises then this workout is designed in your favor.

Lisa has included four challenging moves in this ab and core session that you will perform for 30 seconds, repeating each round three times over. One move involves a dumbbell so if you’re trying this workout at home make sure you can use a bottle or one of the best adjustable dumbbells to add a level of resistance to the exercise.

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The other three exercises use no equipment but they will require you to keep up a good pace as Lisa demonstrates above. You will also need to ensure you’re engaging your core muscles to fully benefit from the moves.  

The good thing about most core-based workouts is that you don’t need to get caught up on completing a certain number of reps per round. Instead, it’s about fitting in as many as you can in the 30-second periods. If you’re new, to exercise this is a good way to take your time and gauge your fitness levels. Or if you’re a fitness junkie, this is also a good way to challenge yourself and see how strong your stomach muscles really are.

If you’re up for giving Lisa’s ab and core workout a go, we’ve listed the four moves below.

  • DB tornado twists 3x30s 
  • Standing oblique crunch variations 3x30s each side 
  • Knee drive into oblique crunch 3x30s each side 
  • Standing knee to elbow crunches 3x30s each side 

You might be unsure about why you need to train your abs and core muscles in a session and whether or not they’re just the same thing. Your abs account for four muscle groups in your mid-section. Meanwhile, your core includes all of your muscles located in the lower back, hips, pelvis and abdomen. These core muscles work in harmony to stabilize your body, keeping it upright and helping when you need to bend over, twist around, or lift up anything. 

Research published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science (opens in new tab) recommends adults regularly train their core muscles after finding elderly adults who did this had significantly better balance. Good balance aids performance in other forms of exercise and increases the independence of elderly adults, helping to avoid falls and trips. These results occurred after just eight weeks and, like the workout above proves, ab and core training doesn’t have to take long.

There are always ways to make a quick core workout more exciting and less repetitive. Adding weights to certain moves such as lifting some dumbbells as you hold a plank or, testing your strength out with one of the best ab rollers is a good way to keep your core workouts more versatile.

Jessica Downey
Staff Writer

Jessica is Staff Writer at Fit&Well. 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.