Written by Sophie
I find it hard to fit in exercise when work and socialising are a necessity in life, so I tend to pick several shorter workouts and string them together as a mini ‘bootcamp’, depending on how long I have available.
This core workout is a great one to do; it’s straight forward and doesn’t use any equipment.
I tend to add in a ‘core section’ when I do my homemade bootcamps so they often feature something like the sequence below. This workout goes well with 10-15 minutes cardio (sprint/jogs, 5km on the exercise bike, skipping or even stairs climbing), then a legs routine at the end.
Exercises: 40 seconds on, 10 seconds rest (*see ‘how to’ guide below for explanation of each exercise)
- Plank to push-up
- Side plank – hip dips (each side for 40 seconds)
- Side plank – thread the needle (each side for 40 seconds)
- Three legged-plank (20 seconds on each side throughout the hold time)
- Rocking plank
- Extended-arm plank with shoulder touches
- Extended-arm plank with knee to elbow touches (same side knee to elbow, i.e. right to right, left to left)
- Extended-arm plank with knee to opposite elbow touches (opposite knee to elbow, i.e. right to left, left to right)
- Full-extension sit ups
- Plank and hold (either on elbows or on hands with straight arms)
This is a great workout to aim for. If you find it difficult, then don’t make excuses but decrease the hold time and increase the recovery in between each. E.g. start off with 25 seconds on, 25 off, then 30 on, 20 off etc until you can build up to this….then you can go beyond and hold each exercise for a minute with no rest in between 😉
How-to guide (if any of these are unclear then just google the terms and they should come up)
Basic Plank: I don’t really need to explain this one, but it’s important to get your form right. My trainer tells us to make sure elbows are in line with shoulders, i.e. not sloping forward of backwards. Hold your stomach in, squeeze your bum and make sure your feet are close together without being uncomfortable. Lastly ‘Bum down’ – make sure your body is in a straight line, no bums in the air as this makes it too easy and you won’t get the results you want.
Plank to push up: Start on your elbows and then press into the floor, one hand at a time until you have straight arms, then go back down onto your elbows. Make sure you alternate the hand that presses into the floor each time you go up onto straight arms.
Side plank – hip dips: Start in a full side plank (legs stacked on on top of each other, or one in front of the other), supporting yourself on your elbow or straight arm. Place your other hand on your hip or up into the air so that it is in line with your body. Lower your hips until they nearly touch the floor and then push back up, as high as you can, keep repeating.
Side plank – thread the needle: Get into the side plank position and start with the arm that isn’t supporting you, up in the air. Bring this arm down and thread through the gap between your body and the floor, almost like you are giving yourself a hug, then stretch back up and keep repeating this movement.
Three-legged plank: Take normal plank position and hover one leg above the floor, ensuring that your hips are still in the position they would be in a normal plank. This really works your core and glutes.
Rocking plank: Take plank position on your elbows, then rock forward on your toes, so that your biceps touch your forearms and your nose is nearly touching the ground in front (or as close to this as possible!)
Extended-arm plank with shoulder touches: Take plank position on your hands (with extended arms), then whilst holding the rest of your body still, touch each shoulder in turn with opposing hands.
Extended-arm plank with knee to elbow touches: Take plank position on your hands (with extended arms), then whilst holding the rest of your body still, take your knee to the elbow on the same side, alternating between sides
Extended-arm plank with knee to opposite elbow touches: Take plank position on your hands (with extended arms), then whilst holding the rest of your body still, take your knee to the opposite elbow, alternating between sides.
Full-extension sit ups: Lie flat on the floor, stretching your arms above your head in a straight line. Pull your arms right over your head using your stomach strength and take your hands as close to your feet as you can, then lie back down and repeat the movement.
Plank and hold: hold a plank…..and you’re done!