Searching the Internet for "core workouts at home"? You're in the right place. While you'll have heard all about the importance of having a strong core in both exercise and daily life, but might not realise just how important it is. After all, it can effect everything from your posture to pelvic floor.
One mega analysis of studies published between 1970 and 2011 found that core stability exercises were better than general exercise for reducing pain and improving physical function for chronic lower back pain. Essentially, the core is the central part of your body, so it makes sense that it plays a crucial part in pretty much most movement.
“Your core muscles play an integral role in your everyday lives,” explains Stef Williams, personal trainer and founder of the fitness app, WeGlow. From your posture, to protecting your spine, to aiding with balance, your core puts in a lot of work day to day. This is why incorporating core workouts into your workout routine is so important, stresses Williams.
There are some very worthwhile benefits to adding core workouts into your exercise routine, she says. Reducing your risk of injury, helping with posture, better pelvic floor function and improved performance and strength are just a few. It could even help lower blood pressure: a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that "static isometric exercises" – such as the plank and glute bridge (core-strengthening favourites) – could prove beneficial in lowering blood pressure.
A bit like our edit of the best home workouts to try to smash your goals, the below workouts are personal trainer-approved and ideal for trying from home. Ready to get a sweat on? Keep scrolling.
On the hunt for the best core workouts at home?
Why is core strength important?
“Your core acts as the centre point of your body,” points out Williams, explaining how strengthening it improves our balance and coordination. It’s also crucial to improving posture - which for those of us sitting at a desk all day or working from home - is key if we want to reduce the chance of aches, niggles and back pain.
Did you know that the core also includes the pelvic floor musculature? Well, now you do and it's yet another great reason why we should pay attention to strengthening your core. In turn, it can contribute to better pelvic floor function, says Williams. In fact, as many as 35 muscles make up your core (ab workouts for women, at the ready).
Working on the core can also lead to improved performance and strength. "Having a strong, stable core helps to protect your spine when weightlifting, maintain good form when performing different movements and allows us to better transfer power from your upper to your lower body," says Williams.
As a qualified personal trainer, it's fair to say Williams knows a thing or two about the best ways to train. Luckily for us, she's shared a few of her favourite exercises, which can easily be done at home using only your own body weight. From beginner-friendly options to a hardcore HITT workout focused on the core and a spicy five-minute session, the selection of five core workouts has a little bit of everything to strengthen and tone that core. You're welcome.
5 best core workouts at home to try tonight
1. 8 minute no equipment obliques workout
What? An 8-minute no equipment obliques workout.
Why? This 8-minute class focuses on the oblique muscles, incorporating a variety of bodyweight movements that will strengthen the core muscles that run alongside either side of your transverse abdominis.
How long? 8 minutes.
2. 15-minute abs workout
What? A 15-minute abs workout.
Why? This short but spicy Pilates class is designed to train your deep core muscles and challenge your core stability and control, ultimately strengthening your core muscles so important for everyday life.
You'll start with a warm-up which helps you connect to your breath and achieve proper alignment so you can reap the full benefit of the class.
How long? 15 minutes.
3. 16-minute shoulder and core workout
What? A 16-minute shoulders and core bodyweight workout.
Why? This workout targets your abdominal region and upper body making it a great core and shoulder session. Not only will it help to build your core muscles but it'll improve your shoulder strength, too.
How long? 16 minutes.
4. 20 minute ultimate HIIT core workout
What? A HIIT core workout.
Why? In the mood for a high-intensity interval workout that'll get your heart rate up and blood pumping? This workout from Williams is designed to target your abdominal region, making it a great core workout alternative for when you fancy something fast paced.
How long? 20 minutes.
5. 5-minute ab finisher
What? A 5-minute ab finisher.
Why? It may look like you're not moving an awful lot from the floor, but wait for the burn. This 5-minute lying down ab workout includes toe-taps, lying single-leg extensions, straight leg lying single-leg extensions, elevated straight leg raises, deadbugs and straight leg reverse crunches, making it the ultimate quick finisher for any workout.
How long? 5 minutes.
Shop MC's go-to core workout kit now
With it's cropped and flattering fit, the Sculpt tank top from lululemon not only looks great for your sweat sessions but can double as a day-to-day basic, too. It's butter-soft and breathable material makes it a dream to wear.
Health Editor Ally Head is a fan of Adanola leggings for a reason - they're soft, supportive and sweat-wicking without breaking the bank.
Whether you're doing a core workout at home or heading out for a long run, Under Armour's Infinity Mid Covered Sports Bra has got you covered. It's a firm favourite amongst fitness fans and editors for a very good reason: it supports, sweat wicks, and never chafes.
Is a 10 minute core workout good?
The NHS website advises that we aim to do some kind of movement every day, whether that's walking, running, strength training, or something else.
Ideally, you'd be aiming for two strength training sessions a week and at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week (that's five 30-minute workouts, FYI).
While a ten minute core workout will certainly get your blood pumping and your muscles working, you'll need to lengthen your session to 30 minutes to hit your daily NHS target.
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Amy Sedghi is a freelance journalist, specialising in health and fitness, travel, beauty, sustainability and cycling.
Having started her career in The Guardian newsroom working with an award-winning team, Amy's proud to have reported on a variety of topics, speaking to a range of voices and travelling far and wide to do so. From interviews on ski lifts to writing up breaking stories outside courtrooms, Amy is used to reporting from a range of locations (she’s even been known to type up a story in a tent).
She also loves being active, spending time outdoors and travelling - with some of her favourite features she’s worked on combining all three. Cycling and eating her way round the Isle of Man, learning to sail on the Côte d'Azur and traversing the Caminito del Rey path in Spain are just some of her highlights.
Covering a diverse range of subjects appeals to Amy. One minute she may be writing about her online styling session with Katie Holmes’ stylist and the next she’s transporting readers to the basketball courts of Haringey where she joined a group trying to lower knife crime in the capital.
While at university, Amy was awarded The Media Society bursary. Following her stint at the Guardian, Amy worked at Google and as well as writing for Marie Claire, she regularly contributes interviews, features and articles to National Geographic Traveller, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, Stylist, Refinery29, Glorious Sport, Cycling Weekly and Rouleur.
When she’s not writing, Amy can be found trying to get through her towering stack of books-to-read, cycling down at Herne Hill Velodrome or looking for the next place to eat and drink with friends.
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