You don't need crunches to build strong abs, just these eight 'deep core' exercises

Strengthen your core, develop your abs and improve your posture with this short, varied routine

A woman performing the bird dog exercise
(Image credit: Getty)

From relieving lower back pain to improving balance and coordination, there are more reasons to strengthen your core than a lean stomach. It's important to know the difference between abs vs core training too, as the abs make up just a small part of your midsection muscles. 

If you want a comprehensive core workout you need to target your deep-seated stomach muscles, and that's exactly what this session from Sweat app trainer Britany Williams sets out to do. 

There are eight moves in total, and to do them you'll need a small exercise ball, a resistance band, and a pair of dumbbells. However, Williams suggests swapping these for a pillow, a pair of leggings and a couple of filled water bottles if you don't have this equipment at home. 

Complete the exercises back to back for 20-30 seconds each, and repeat this eight-move circuit for a total of three rounds to finish the workout. Williams demonstrates each exercise in the video below, so take note of her form before starting.

Watch Britany Williams' deep core workout

Although people use them interchangeably, your abs and core are different. Most people use abs to describe the rectus abdominis; the muscles found at the front of the stomach, responsible for the sought after six-pack shape. 

These are part of the core, but they work alongside many other muscles like the internal and external obliques, transverse abdominis, pelvic floor and multifidus to carry out vital functions such as stabilising your spine and allowing you to twist and bend your trunk.

Williams' core workout hits all of these muscles, rather than just focusing on the abs with sit-ups and crunches. Or, in her own words: "This abs workout targets your deep core function, not just the superficial parts! (Though it helps for that too!)"

To get the most out of this session, squeeze your core and think about really using your midsection muscles to initiate each of the movements. This will help activate mind-muscle connection, which can increase activity in the targeted muscles.

If you don’t have any equipment at home and you’re looking for a bodyweight routine instead, try some of the moves from this core workout for beginners. Or, if you want more of a challenge, give this abs workout with weights a go.

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.