Your core is so much more than just your abs. From your hips to your ribs, and circling all the way around your torso, it’s the whole muscular center of your body, powering most everything you do.
“Your core technically includes your pelvic floor muscles, your internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis and all the other superficial layers you think of when someone says six-pack, the erector spinae and multifidus [which are the rope-like muscles that run along either side of your spine on your back and help stabilize it], and all the deeper, smaller muscles in your trunk,” says Alena Luciani, CSCS, and founder of Training2xl.
But just because your core is a complicated set of muscles doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of time strengthening them every day. Peloton instructor Ally Love says that when it comes to working your core, a little goes a long way. “If you want to maximize your training when you don’t have time or can’t hop onto a machine, do basic core workouts,” Love previously told Well+Good. “You can never do enough core. Your core is your center—your limbs, everything flows from your core, and the stronger your core is, the faster you can be.”
If you’re looking for short and sweet core workouts that pack a punch, we’ve got you covered with these six core workouts under 20 minutes. Some will even combine core work with other parts of your body (everything is connected, after all) in that short amount of time. Whatever your core is in the mood for, check out the videos below.
A 15-Minute Abs Workout
We know we just talked about how the core is more complex than simply the abs, but if you prefer to break your core workouts down to focus on the muscles in your abs, butt, and back individually, this is a good place to start. Charlee Atkins will take you through a series of 40 second exercises twice that build on variations of crunches, sit-ups, and leg lowers. Oh my!
A 6-Minute Core Workout for Stability
Your body’s ability to hold itself still and strong comes from the core, so it only makes sense that certain exercises can target that stability specifically. In this six minute workout, you’ll do six creative moves that challenge your body and your balance.
A 10-minute Core Workout to Ease Low Back Pain
I personally did this workout the day after a back-crunching road trip, and it made feel lengthened and strengthened. The focus on bridges will relieve pain while doing double duty to prevent future strains.
An 18-Minute Core Workout for Runners
Your core helps you keep your body erect, lift your legs, and so much more while you’re running. That’s why this workout specifically targets all those small muscles that support runners as they’re logging those miles.
A 10-Minute Bodyweight Workout with No Planking
Want to feel the burn of the plank, but hate the plank? This is one of Well+Good’s most loved core workout videos because it focuses on slow and controlled movements rather than long plank holds or fast and furious crunch reps.
An 8-Minute Core and Upper-Back Workout
We’ve already established that the abs and part of the back muscles come together to form the core, so this workout goes together like peanut butter and jelly. An al-fours position that requires you to keep stable through your core while you lifts limbs (and load) in to the air is what forms the base of many of these exercises. But you’ll also find yourself chest pressing and leg lowering on your back, and more.