Target your abs in just 15 minutes with this 5-move circuit

Kirsti Buick
·4-min read
Photo credit: rez-art - Getty Images
Photo credit: rez-art - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

Looking for a quick workout to squeeze into your day? Or perhaps a killer core finisher to tack on to the end of a longer session?

Whatever your fitness motivation, we've got you covered with this 5-move core circuit, devised by Emily Taylor, the personal trainer at Fitness Lab.

The best part? You won't need any equipment for this one – just a bit of grit.

Meet your PT: Emily Taylor

What's your favourite exercise?

That’s a tough one. Hip thrusts are my strongest lift, so I do love doing these. For the upper body, I’d say chin-ups are my favourite right now.

Which exercise is the most overrated?

The hip abduction machine is a massively overused piece of equipment. People like the 'burn' they get when using this machine, and (totally understandably) think it means that they’re hitting their glutes hard. In reality, while it has its place, there are far more effective exercises you should prioritise when it comes to your lower-body training. I’d recommend opting for more functional exercises that have a better carry-over to your daily life (think glute bridges, split squats, lunge variations).

Give us your best training tip

Master the basics and prioritise form, always. Progressive overload [gradually increasing the difficulty] is key to the success of any strength training programme. However, it needs to be done sensibly and gradually. Always rushing to go heavier in each session can have a negative impact on your performance and ultimately lead to injury if you end up compromising your technique in an attempt to shift more weight. Slow and steady wins the race here.

What words do you never want to hear again?

It’s a toss-up between 'weights will make me bulky' (no, ladies, I promise you - they really won’t) and 'detox teas'. It infuriates me that companies are still marketing these in 2020 as an aid for weight loss (they just act as a laxative) or as a tool to 'cleanse' your organs (we have our kidneys doing that for us already).

The workout: 15-min core burner

Need to know:

  • Move straight from one exercise to the next

  • Do 3-4 rounds in total

  • Rest for 1 minute in between each round

1. Shoulder taps

Do: 20 reps

a) Start in a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders.

b) Keeping your core tight and hips level, tap your right shoulder with your left hand, then return to start. And switch.

2. Leg raises

Do: 15 reps

a) Lie on your back on the floor and place both hands underneath your coccyx. Extend both legs and engage your abs by drawing in your belly button to your spine. Keeping your feet together, slowly raise your legs off the floor until they form a 90° angle with your hips.

b) Slowly lower your legs to return to the starting position.

3. Commandos

Do: 16 reps

a) Begin in a plank position on your forearms. Push up on your left side so your arm is straight, and then follow with your right arm so you’re now on both hands. Maintain a flat back at all times.

b) Come down onto your left forearm, then your right, returning to plank.

4. Crunch with twist

Do: 10 reps on each side

a) Lie on your back with your hands behind your ears. Keeping your right leg straight, bend your left leg, with your foot flat on the floor.

b) Crunch up and to the left, twisting your torso to bring your right elbow to your left knee. Keep going on the same side until you reach the halfway mark, then switch sides.

5. Push up

Do: 10 reps

a) Get into the plank position, with your hands under but slightly outside of your shoulders.

b) Bend your elbows to lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor.

c) Pause, then push back to the starting position as quickly as possible. Keep your core braced the entire time.

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