Self-guided core workout

What you need to know about your core and a sample workout you can do to get started.

When it comes to fitness, it’s hard not to hear about the importance of working your “core.” Wondering what it’s all about?

In addition to the abs, core includes back muscles and side muscles on your torso, called obliques. Your core serves as a shock absorber, facilitates weight transfer and stabilizes your body while in motion.

Working the core has its benefits

Doing core exercises can help you to:

  • Strengthen your midsection
  • Increase stability
  • Improve posture
  • Relieve lower back pain

Try a core workout on your own

Donavan Haugstad, Personal Training manager at the Burnsville YMCA designed this core workout for you to try at home or the gym.

Start with four minutes and do sets of:

Next, do three sets of:

If you’re up for a challenge, rest for 30 seconds, and do two more sets of planks, Russian twists and 90-degree toe touches.

Adding core work to your fitness program

Donavan is regularly asked about how often core exercises should be incorporated into workouts. He says, “It really depends on many factors. There’s no set way of implementing it into your workout regimen. I believe you can do some form of core exercises on a daily basis.”

Whether you tackle a dedicated core workout like the one included here, or if you integrate a few core exercises before, during or after a strength/cardio workout—find something that works best for you.

For more ideas to work your core, you can meet with a Personal Trainer to get a customized plan, drop into a Group Exercise class at the Y—many incorporate core exercises, or sign up for a core-focused Small Group Training class like Kettlebells or Performance Reformer.