I tried the core exercise the Fittest Woman in the UK does – it certainly works

It was a lot harder than I thought it would be

Woman in a sports bra showing off her strong core
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You may have seen that recently I did a workout with the Fittest Woman in the UK, Jennifer Muir, and it was hard to say the least. She may only be 23, but the WIT athlete certainly put me through my paces, that’s for sure.

Of course, the day wasn’t filled with just sweat and heavy breathing, as I had a few minutes to catch my breath and chat with Jen about all things training. Especially core-related exercises, as CrossFit demands a lot of power and stability. Plus, at T3 we're always talking about importance of having a strong core.

You’ll be pleased to know that the most popular core exercise in Jen’s training isn't crunches or the plank, although she does do lots of plank variations (bringing one foot out to the side, or elbow to knee whilst holding this position). It’s actually a overhead plate glide. "This exercise maximally lengthens our abs while placing them under a load that is far away from the working muscle," says Jen. Naturally, as it had her approval, I was keen to try it for myself. 

I decided to start with a 5kg Olympic weight plate which, although was incredibly easy for me to lift, when it came to leaning back and it going over my head, not so much. My body was shaking all over the place and  I quickly learnt this is an exercise which, although may sound ‘easy’, isn’t. Not to mention if you do it wrong you could end up doing a lot more damage than good.

Jen said she does five sets of five seconds on and five seconds off. Putting my ego aside, I decided to ditch the weight plate and opted for a single 2.5kg dumbbell instead. Even just using this I could feel my stability and balance being tested, because you’re trying really hard to keep your spine neutral, as opposed to it just continuously bending backwards, which is what makes it’s so challenging.

Overall, I thought it was a great alternative core exercise to my usual deadbugs, but it’s safe to say after those five sets I was done. The good thing about it though is that I found it very adaptable, like being able to use a single dumbbell instead of the weight plate, or you could even try one of the best kettlebells instead. 

How to do an overhead plate glide

To give this a go Jen says to: "Put the weight plate over your head, bend your knees and lean back slightly. We’re looking to feel this through our upper body and abs. Not our lower back. So make sure you adjust accordingly to achieve this stimulus."

If you need a visual, check out the very short video below that demonstrates exactly what Jen's referring to.

If you decide to give this exercise a go then make sure you have a good pair of workout shoes on. I wore my Nike Metcon 9s, which is a great all-round functional fitness trainer, which is also what Jen wore on the day we trained together.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.