Now that the sun is finally out, many of us are starting to realise that the minimal amount of effort we put into exercising might not be enough to sculpt that beachbody we said we'll have this year. No need to panic, though, as amends can still be made, for example by doing this 15-minute core workout by a pro rugby player who actually has a six pack.
Vicky Fleetwood, pro rugby player and performance coach, is a brilliant athlete and no stranger to gruelling workouts. As she explains, "Whether you love it or hate it, core work is essential for better posture, better balance and improving your compound lifts." Well said.
She also recommends using a variety of exercises that comprise of isometric holds, dynamic movements, and anti-rotation rather than just thousands of crunches. Below are a few of her favourite core exercises for you to try. You can complete them as a circuit at the end of your session, or add them in between your main lifts to make supersets. Aim to do 3 sets of each exercise.
If you do them a circuit, it should take roughly 15 minutes complete the workout. Feel free to pick and mix and try different combinations to keep the workout fresh. As well as doing this workout, check out our best workout tips on how to get a six pack and the best plank workout to get a six pack too.
15-minute core workout by Vicky Fleetwood
Hanging leg raise or Toes to bar
In depth: How to do hanging leg raises
Using a pull up bar, place your hands shoulder width apart and hang below the bar. Keeping your torso straight, raise your legs up as far as you can. If you can get your feet all the way up to the bar, this is called a ‘toe to bar’ and is a common CrossFit exercise. This exercise can be made easier by tucking your knees towards your chest, rather than lifting straight legs.
This exercise is sometimes also called 'plank up and down'. Especially if you're working out on hard floors, you might need a yoga mat.
Starting from a forearm plank position with legs hip width apart, keeping your torso tight and back flat, push up into an extended plank one arm at a time. Push through both feet and don’t let your hips rock. From the extended plank position, return back to the forearm plank position. This is one rep.
30 seconds hold
Start by lying on your back, arms outstretched above your head and feet on the floor. Keeping everything tight, pick shoulders and feet up from the floor and bring yourself into a ‘dish’ or ‘banana’ shape. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
Side plank snatch
You’ll need a dumbbell for this exercise. A smaller kettlebell might also work.
Start lying on your side, feet stacked one on top of the other. Bend your bottom arm at the elbow and keeping it directly under your shoulder, raise your hips up from the floor so that you are balancing on your elbow and forearm. Make sure your top shoulder, hip, knee and ankle are all in line and you’re not leaning forward.
From this position, with your top arm, raise a dumbbell from the floor towards the ceiling, extending the arm in an explosive movement. Slowly return the dumbbell to the floor.
You’ll need an ab roller or a barbell with weight plates on for this exercise
Starting on your knees, position your shoulders directly over the barbell with hands shoulder width apart. Engage your core, and staying on the front of your knees so that your hips move with your upper body, slowly roll the bar out as far as you can. Pause and then roll back in to the start position. To make this exercise easier, try using a swiss ball instead.