Supercharge your core strength and boost balance with these three exercises

A personal trainer has shared a nine minute routine that'll help make your core stronger

Woman doing side plank
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You’ll probably be pleased to hear that doing endless amounts of crunches aren’t going to build a strong core. After all, the core is made up of multiple muscles around the trunk of your body, it’s not just your abs. However, this workout from personal trainer, James Stirling, also known as The London Fitness Guy, targets all of them in three simple moves. Better still, it’ll take you around nine minutes to complete. You just need a single dumbbell for one of them, or a heavy water bottle.

Speaking about the core in his Instagram video, James says: “A common misconception is the more visible the abs are, the stronger the core is. A strong core actually refers to the deep muscles that are at least one layer below the surface muscles, the core areas is also called the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex (LPHC) and it stabilises the upper and lower body.” It also aids our balance, posture (which can reduce back pain) and improve athletic performance.

As you know, this workout is only three exercises. James advises you complete them as a circuit, doing each one for 40 seconds, back to back. Once you've completed all three, rest for a minute, then repeat the workout two more times. Complete the workout two to three times a week to really supercharge your core strength. Ready? Here's your core exercises:

  • Dumbbell drags - in a high plank position,
  • Weighted heel taps 
  • Side plank (20 seconds each side)

If you struggle to do a tall side plank, do it from your knees and, remember, if you don't have a dumbbell, you could use a single kettlebell or just a bottle of water for the drags and heel taps. Fancy another core workout for later in the week? If you don't get on with floor core exercises, give this standing core workout a try, otherwise here's a five-move bodyweight workout to target the body's trunk muscles. 

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.