Forget the plank – try this quick standing ab workout for complete core strength

It'll take you 10 minutes tops!

Woman doing standing oblique crunches
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There’s no denying that planks are a brilliant bodyweight exercise for toughening up our core. However, they often present one problem…they’re VERY hard to do, as they recruit so many muscle groups at once and, if performed incorrectly, you can easily end up injuring yourself and straining your back. If you struggle with them, give this standing workout a go instead. Just like the plank, these four exercises are excellent for developing your core strength. All you need is a single dumbbell, or one of the best kettlebells and 10 spare minutes.

Standing core exercises can also provide just as many (if not more) benefits than floor-based exercises, like the plank. For starters, when performing an exercise standing, you’re putting your muscles through a greater range of motion, challenging your balance and stability more than if you were on the floor. Also, if you suffer from injuries in your back or wrists, standing exercises can take a lot of pressure off your lower back and wrists. Plus, you barely need any space for standing exercises.

This workout has four beginner-friendly moves — for three of these you'll need your one dumbbell and kettlebell, the last one is just a bodyweight movement. We recommend wearing your best workout shoes, to provide you with extra stability and protection in case you drop your weight (avoid anything too foamy, like running shoes). You're going to do 12 reps of each exercise and you're aiming to do at least three rounds. Here's your exercises:

Remember, if you have access to no weights for this workout, fill up a large water bottle and use that instead. Keg water bottles (like the one in our best gym water bottle guide) are great to use as dumbbells, as they have a handle. If you're after more workouts like this one, here's another four-move core workout that uses a dumbbell. Or, why not try this single core exercise that is brilliant for building up your core (you will need a pair of dumbbells though, but it's worth it).

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.