You don’t need weights to strengthen your core—just this six-move, 13-minute bodyweight workout

Develop core strength to relieve lower back pain with this quick equipment-free session

A woman performing a side plank outside on a yoga mat as part of a core workout
(Image credit: Getty / Westend61)

A strong core is (quite literally) at the center of a fit and functional body, so it pays to dedicate some time to training it. Fortunately, you can do this pretty much any time, anywhere. 

This workout from personal trainer Isa Maddocks takes just 13 minutes and uses just your bodyweight to work your midsection muscles. While you don't need any equipment, a yoga mat can be handy for providing extra grip on slippery floors. 

Maddocks' session challenges you to work through six exercises as a circuit, performing each one for 40 seconds followed by a 20-second rest. After one round, take a minute-long break then repeat the six-move sequence to complete the session. 

Watch Maddocks' demonstrate each of the exercises in the video below before you get started, then all that's left to do is lace up your shoes, warm up, and get started. 

Watch Isa Maddocks' bodyweight core workout

There are some notable absentees from Maddocks' six-move circuit which you might expect to see in a core workout—this is one of the reasons we're such big fans of the session.

Not only do her selected core strengthening exercises provide a fun new challenge, bucking the status quo of sit-ups and crunches, they also hit a range of muscles across the core rather than focusing on the rectus abdominis (responsible for the six-pack shape). 

Training your whole core can boost your stability and balance, improving your performance in multi-muscle compound exercises like the squat and deadlift. It also takes some strain off your lower back, relieving pain and preventing injuries in this area. 

If that brief bio has you ready for more core training, consider saving this simple three-move session for a later date. Or you can find out more about why core muscles are important with our handy feature on the topic. 

And because this routine is so effective at working less-used core muscles, you might feel sore the next day. This is known as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), caused by small tears in your muscle fibers. 

Your body needs protein to repair the damage and strengthen the muscles, so it's worth having a post-workout shake with one of the best protein powders for weight loss to promote recovery and build lean muscle. 

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.