There's no miracle shortcut when you're looking to get in shape; a healthy, balanced diet, a solid sleep schedule, and an active lifestyle remain the most sustainable ways to build a fit and functional body.
However, there are exercises you can do to improve certain aspects of your fitness. Fore example, NCSF-certified personal trainer Elise Young suggests the single-leg bridge with leg lift for strengthening your core and glutes simultaneously.
Young says deep core exercises like this one have helped her relieve lower back pain and train her abs to be "the strongest they have been", so they're well worth adding into your weekly exercise routine.
Try performing four sets of 12 repetitions, resting for 60 seconds between each one, for a 10-minute session. You can either use this as a quick way to add some bonus exercise into a busy day, or tag it onto the end of your next workout.
To make sure you're using the right technique, watch Young's video below for a demonstration of how to perform the exercise correctly. Roll out a yoga mat if you could use some support and comfort while training.
Watch Elise's Bodyshop's 'deep core' exercise for stronger abs and glutes
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When Young refers to the deep core, she means muscles like the transverse abdominis, multifidus and pelvic floor. These muscles get a lot less attention than the rectus abdominis (responsible for the sought-after "six-pack" shape) but they arguably fill a more important role, both during exercise and everyday life.
They're responsible for supporting your spine and stabilizing your entire body, so strengthening them can improve your posture, boost your balance and improve your performance in weighted compound exercises like squats and deadlifts where your body has to support a dumbbell or barbell.
Developing these muscles will also take strain away from your lower back, easing pain in this area and preventing future injuries—not a bad pay-out for a single exercise, eh?
If you want more core workouts to strengthen these muscles even further, consider this alternative deep core session. While programmed sessions have their place, it can pay to learn a single move like a biceps curl to build strength, too.
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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.
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