Build a stronger torso in just 15 minutes with this beginner-friendly core workout

A pair of dumbbells and an exercise mat is all you need

woman doing plank in living room
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When we think of core exercises, dreaded planks may instantly come to mind. The thing with planks, as good as they are, is that they recruit lots of muscles at once and if performed incorrectly can put a lot of strain on other areas of the body. This beginner-friendly workout, however, has none of these. In fact, most of the exercises are performed standing and include rotation movements – you just need a pair of dumbbells and an exercise mat. Don't have a dumbbell? You could use a single kettlebell too.

Doing exercises standing and adding in rotation movements are extremely beneficial for our core. Why? Because they actually challenges our balance and stability more as more of your body's muscles are recruited to help you complete the movement. Whereas a lot of floor exercises, like crunches, will only target your abs. Plus, if you’re someone who suffers from lower back pain, floor-based exercises could irritate this further, so standing ones are a great alternative.

For this workout you've got seven exercises in total. Now, you can either do all of these exercises as a complete core workout, or you can pick three and add them onto the end of another workout you've got planned. Whichever you choose, you'll do 10 to 12 reps of each exercise and repeat the workout three times in total. As most the exercises are performed standing, we'd recommend wearing your best workout shoes, to help enable balance and stability even further. Here's your workout:

  • Standing dumbbell wood chop
  • Around the world
  • Farmer’s carry (do this for 30 to 60 seconds)
  • Standing opposite elbow to knee crunch
  • Single leg Romanian deadlift (hold onto a chair for balance)
  • Side plank (on knees) with a reach through
  • Bent knee heel taps

Your core may be a little sore the next day after doing these, but just remember it's on its way to getting stronger. If you want some more core-inspiration, then we've got another standing core workout that only consists of four exercises. If you have a little more time on your hands though, give this 15 minute core and back workout a try instead.

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.