You don’t need weights to develop core strength—try this four-move abs workout instead

Improve your posture, boost your balance, and make everyday tasks easier with this short core-focused routine

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

Sit-ups alone won't cut it if you want a comprehensive core workout. Luckily, we've chatted to expert trainer Britany Williams to serve up a routine that will strengthen all of your crucial mid-body muscles.

It takes less than 20 minutes and doesn't require any equipment either (although a yoga mat can be handy for extra cushioning on your spine). So, whether you're at home or at the gym, all you'll need is a quick warm up before you tackle it. 

"The core muscle is truly the powerhouse of the body—it’s what connects the upper and lower body together into one cohesive unit," Sweat app trainer Williams explains. 

"A strong core can alleviate back and hip pain, help you get out of bed without pain in the morning, and it can support nearly any performance or sports goal (from running a marathon to being a better three point shooter in basketball)."

If you want to leave sit-ups and crunches behind, then give Williams' routine a go and target your lower abs. It's a customizable workout, too, as she recommends choosing just four moves from seven core strengthening exercises.  

The aim  is to complete 12 reps of each exercise for four rounds, resting for 15 seconds between moves and 60 seconds after each round. To get the most from your training, practice your technique using Williams' demonstrations before starting.

Watch Britany Williams' lower abs workout

This is an example of a barre workout; a type of exercise inspired by a blend of ballet, yoga, Pilates, and strength training. 

"Barre is a workout that utilizes a flow of exercises inspired by ballet positions via small-range movements and isometric holds," Williams explains. And, luckily for us, "though the workout was created by a ballet dancer, there is absolutely no dancing involved and no experience needed to succeed at it". 

There are plenty of benefits to expect from this type of training too. "Barre can improve muscular endurance, strength, posture, balance and coordination, and it has a big emphasis on your core," Williams adds. 

As a result, this core workout will have a positive impact on the way you move, helping you carry out everyday tasks with greater ease and protecting you from possible injuries. 

They're efficient too, with this routine offering plenty of bang for your buck in 20 minutes. If that's still too long for your schedule today, you might want to check out our collection of five-minute workouts.

Or, if you have a bit more time on your hands, why not try adding Williams' core workout to another of her strength-building sessions, like this back and shoulder dumbbell workout?

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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.