Develop functional core strength with these five beginner-friendly exercises

They'll take you 10 minutes

Woman doing core workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A strong core is the gateway to a healthy moving body with less aches and pains. But not all core exercises are ‘easy’. Take the plank for example, which requires strength in your upper body, lower and core. This 10 minute workout however contains five exercises that will not only solidify your core strength, but are also perfect for beginners. No equipment is needed either, just an exercise mat.

If you suffer from back pain, especially in the lower back, it could be a sign that you have weak core muscles. According to the Premier Spinal Institute: "Strong core muscles maintain your balance, help you avoid awkward movement, and prevent unwanted strains or sprains. They also allow your body to transfer force and stress through your muscles rather than your spine, which significantly reduces your risk for back pain."

You've got five different exercises to get through for this workout and you'll do each one for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds. Now, they may seem quite easy, but don't be tempted to rush through them. To work your core properly it's not about simply moving your body from A to B, you want to do the exercises slow and controlled to actually make sure you're engaging those muscles. Aim to do four rounds in total, or two if you're adding it onto the end of another workout.

  • Heel taps
  • Bird dog crunch
  • Glute bridge with knee drives
  • Bear hold kickback
  • Side plank hold (you can also do this from your knees)

If you're in need more core exercises, we've got plenty and they're not all floor-based too. Check out this standing core workout that really tests your balance and stability (and are good for small spaces) using a pair of dumbbells. For those who own a pair of kettlebells, or any type of weights for that matter, try this one exercise that will transform your core strength, as well as your arms, shoulders and legs – it's a brilliant all-rounder. 

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.