Use this personal trainer’s five-move core workout to fight back pain and build stronger abs

This core-focused routine takes just 10 minutes to work your mid-body muscles and help you avoid lower back pain

Sweat trainer Britany Williams performing a core exercise
(Image credit: Sweat / Britany Williams)

A good abs workout doesn't have to take an hour; this efficient and effective routine from top trainer Britany Williams will strengthen your mid-body muscles in 10 minutes. 

There are just five bodyweight moves (optional yoga mat aside), so there's no need to splash the cash on any fancy equipment either. Just slip into your favorite workout kit and get moving. 

"A strong, functional core allows you to move with less pain and have better movement patterns so that you can move in both everyday life and in your workout more efficiently and effectively," says Britany Williams, a trainer for the women's workout app Sweat.

There are seven abs exercises on offer, and Williams lets you choose your top five. When you've made your selection, string these five exercises together as a circuit, performing each one for 20 seconds and resting for 10 seconds between moves. 

Repeat this sequence until you've completed three rounds, then the workout is complete. Practice your technique with Williams' demonstrations of each each movement, take your pick, and get started. 

Watch Britany Williams' 10-minute abs workout

This workout is great for building functional midsection strength and muscle, particularly for beginners. It also offers an efficient way to add some mood-boosting exercise for happiness into your day,

"I find 10-minute workouts are excellent for building the habit of working out consistently," says Williams. "I love recommending short workouts to beginners who may feel they lack the motivation to work out consistently.

"Additionally, 10-minute workouts are great if no workout is the alternative. Certain phases of life—like early parenthood for example—don’t leave much time in the day for working out and something is better than nothing!"

She says that, as your fitness levels build, "longer and broader workouts will be needed to continue to see progress over time". But, "a workout is still a workout, even if it’s only 10 minutes of quality movement."

Which muscles do you train?

This workout focuses on your abs, which are part of (but not the same as) your core. "People often use the terms interchangeably, but the core includes the abdominals as well as muscles in the back that stabilize the spine and trunk," she explains. 

"So, all abs exercises are core strengthening exercises, but a good core routine will also include work to improve the function of the back side of the body as well as the front—the muscles on the back side of the body that stabilize the spine and trunk are just as important as the ones that work to stabilize in the front! 

"We just tend to focus on the front because it’s what we can see, but if you’ve ever had lower back pain, you know how important a strong core on both sides of the body can be," which is why it's crucial to know the difference between abs and core training

Will you build visible muscle?

Many people see abs workouts as a ticket to a visible six-pack or a more defined midsection, but Williams says there are far more factors to consider if this is your goal. 

"Abs workouts, like those shown here, are going to help you strengthen this area, which is vital for more functional use of your core," she says, "[But] achieving visible abs is much more a factor of your nutrition management than it is any specific exercise."

Everybody already has abs, but most people will need to reduce their body fat for them to be visible. "This is is a complex process driven mainly by a caloric deficit and overall movement throughout your entire day, not just your workout," Williams explains. 

"Unfortunately, you can't control exactly where in the body you lose fat when you do lose it. So, I recommend focusing on performance-based goals in your workouts; think about your body’s ability to perform a task well, rather than how your body looks."

Or, as Williams later summarises: "A six pack is nice, but staying healthy and happy as you move through life is a better goal!" Your core plays a vital role here, but you can also use yoga stretches for beginners to boost your flexibility and stay mobile. 

Sweat Annual Membershipnow $89.99 at Sweat

Sweat Annual Membership | was $119.99, now $89.99 at Sweat

Save 25% off an annual membership to Sweat between 26th June and 11th July 2023, and your membership comes with a 14-day free trial, so you can give it a try. If you enjoyed this routine, there are hundreds more like it, and yoga, barre, and Pilates classes too. Don't miss out on this limited-time deal to save $30. 

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.