A strong core means a strong body. The core works as a stabiliser and transfers load from the lower body to the upper body and vice versa.
Having a strong, stable core prevents injury and helps us perform at our best.
This is why we compiled a list of the 5 most effective exercises and made them into a 15 minute core workout that you can do right at home to improve your core strength. The greatest thing is you don’t need any equipment for this workout.
Table of Contents
The 15 Minute Core Workout
List of Core exercises
Here are the 5 exercises you will be doing in this workout. Don’t worry, there are instructional videos for each exercise further down the page!
- Russian Twist
- Bicycle Crunch
- Leg Raises
Instructions for the Core workout
This workout will be done as a circuit, meaning we do each exercise one after another.
This has many advantages, some of which are:
- It is time-efficient and effective
- It increases your metabolism
- It stops you from getting bored!
- Perform each exercise continuously for 30 seconds
- Rest for 30 seconds before moving on to the next exercise
- Continue until you have completed all 5 exercises (this is one circuit)
- Repeat x2, to complete 3 laps of the circuit
Remember: The core is not just your abs. It also includes the glutes, lower back, and obliques, so we put some exercises in there that will help you develop all of these areas.
Explanation of each exercise
The Russian Twist is a great addition to this workout as it hits almost all aspects of your core. This exercise incorporates the abdominals, hips, lower back, and obliques. You can’t go wrong with the Russian Twist.
The Glute Bridge is among the most essential exercises to strengthen the glutes. Strengthening our glutes is important as it helps reinforce our hip and knee joints. The glutes also assist your quads, hamstrings, and calves, when performing lower body compound movements.
The Bicycle Crunch is a great exercise for the abdominals and obliques.
One benefit of this exercise is that it is a unilateral movement, meaning we move one side of the body at a time. The advantage of this is that it forces your midline to stabilise and helps fix imbalances.
The ‘Superman’ is a great exercise for reinforcing and strengthening the lower back. Remember, the lower back not only helps stabilise the entire body but also your abdominals.
That’s right. Strengthening the lower back will help make your abs stronger.
Leg Raises are great for developing your lower abdominals.
One advantage of this exercise is that it promotes eccentric contraction. This means the muscles in your abdominals will elongate under load. This produces more of the microdamage needed to promote muscle growth, rather than the concentric contraction you get in an exercise like Crunches.
This is a great exercise if you want to look good at the beach.
Importance of the Core
What is the Core?
Before we look at the importance of the core it is important to know what the core is made up of.
In simple terms, the core is defined as the structures that make up your pelvic region. This includes the abdominals, obliques, lower back, pelvic floor muscles, and to some extent the glutes.
Why is it important to strengthen your core?
You might think the core is only important for keeping balance and stability. This is partially true. Yes, the core does help you stabilise and keep balance, but it is so much more than that. The core is the very foundation upon which your “house” is built. There are almost no exercises that don’t require some input from the core.
Some of the core muscles are unique as they work to stiffen and prevent movement of the torso, unlike other muscles in the body which create movement.
Just like a spring, the stiffer the muscles can become the more efficiently the energy can transfer between the lower and upper body. This works to increase performance and stability when performing large compound movements.
A strong core is also among the best ways to prevent back, hip, and knee injuries. It also helps you maintain a good and healthy posture which, over the long run, will help prevent musculoskeletal deformities.
The following article in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons examined the function and effects of core training on injury prevention and performance. Unsurprisingly they found that a stronger core contributes greatly to decreasing the risk of hip, lower back, and knee injuries. They also found that a stronger core correlates greatly with the increased athletic performance of all types.
Having a stable and strong core is an important aspect of your training and cannot be emphasized enough. We hope these exercises will help you in strengthening your core and improve your athletic and life experience.
If you are just starting out, then don’t worry if you can’t finish the workout the first time. The key, as always, is to take it slow and improve over time.
Listen to your body and push yourself to get stronger.
If you are interested in continuing your journey into the world of calisthenics check out our calisthenic equipment guide.
If you are looking for more free calisthenics programs you can find some of our top picks here.
Founder of www.calisthenics-101.co.uk. Training calisthenics since 2012.
Currently working on: 30 second one-arm handstand, muscle-up 360, straddle planche.