Personal trainer and fitness blogger Brit Williams shares her perfect workout for strengthening the core and burning body fat (both are essential for achieving toned and defined abs). This 15-minute routine can be squeezed into any busy weekday at home, in the gym or in the park.
Your ultimate weight loss core workout
Work through each exercise for 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds rest before moving straight onto the next exercise.
Once you've completed all four moves, rest for 60 seconds then repeat for another two rounds. This provides a 15-minute head-to-toe workout with a constant core connection (without a single sit-up).
- With your hands and toes together in a high plank position, walk your right hand and right foot out to the side and lower into a press-up.
- As you extend your arms back into the plank position, move your left hand and foot inwards to the right hand and foot.
- Repeat on the left side and continue alternating with every rep.
- Hold a high plank position and keep your hips still.
- Touch your left shoulder with your right hand and then your right shoulder with your left hand.
- Complete a full burpee and repeat.
Shoulder tap burpees
You'll get the power and fitness benefits of the burpee with the core-control benefits of the shoulder taps!
- Start in a reverse table-top position (hands and feet on the ground with knees bent and chest facing up).
- Lift your hips as you simultaneously kick the left foot in the air and reach across your body with your right hand to tap your shoelaces.
- Slowly lower down and repeat on the other side, alternating every rep.
Keep this exercise as slow as you need to maintain control and feel the twist in your obliques.
Rolling forearm plank
- Start on your elbows in a low plank position. Make sure that your glutes are engaged and your back is completely flat.
- From here, shift your weight to the left and gently roll onto the left elbow, stacking the hips and reaching your right arm towards the ceiling or sky.
- Hold here for a moment and then return to your starting position.
- Repeat on the right elbow, alternating every rep.
Brit’s tips for getting the most out of your workout
Combine exercises with varying intensities
I like to combine a good variety of slower conditioning exercises with higher intensity cardiovascular exercises, so that your heart rate is gently going up and down throughout the workout.
Non-stop intensity is unsustainable. It also spikes your stress hormone levels and can actually lead to greater fat retention as a result.
By allowing your body to have an active recovery, you are able to put more effort into every exercise and get bigger results from your workout.
Those conditioning exercises are still challenging, but they allow the heart rate to slow down enough so that you can feel that intensity in the working muscles.
How to burn fat during your workout
Most fat burning occurs at above 70% of your maximum heart rate, so it’s important to get a little bit breathless to activate those fat stores and use them as a source of energy.
To safely and gradually build up the intensity, I focus on compound movements which work multiple muscles simultaneously.
Squats with an overhead press or press-ups with an extra stability challenge (like lateral walks) really fire up the core.
These movements require the blood to flow to different areas of the body, forcing the heart to work harder. Voila, you’ve reached your fat burning zone!
How to maintain good form during core exercises
Squeeze your butt! I can't emphasise enough how important the glutes are when it comes to almost every exercise.
The stronger your glutes are, the better your chances are of enjoying injury-free exercise in the long run.
Warm up the glutes
Before most workouts I spend around 5-10 minutes simply activating my glutes with bridges, donkey kicks, crab walks and resistance band clams. This is because engaged glutes improve my form across most movements.
When planking, squeezing the butt helps reinforce the alignment of your spine so that you don't get any dipping in the lower back.
For squats, lunges, deadlifts and kettlebell swings
Activate your glutes to help maintain strong lines down your back, so that you don't carry any undue weight in your lumbar (lower) spine.
Eat before and after your core circuits
Everybody is unique when it comes to the way their body handles food.
Personally, I can't train when I'm hungry, so if my stomach starts rumbling before a workout I make a banana my go-to source for quick fuel.
It has lots of simple carbohydrates for the fast energy you'll need, plus bananas are rich in potassium to help maintain normal muscle function (this is especially handy if you’re about to put your muscles through their paces).
After a workout, try to have a protein-rich snack or meal within the first hour or two. This helps tired muscles recover and rebuild, so you'll be even stronger ahead of your next workout.
How can Slendertone help?
To achieve a strong core and toned abs, we recommend combining this workout with healthy eating and regular toning sessions with our abs belts.
Train with Brit
Join Brit on Wimbledon Common (10am) every Saturday for her weight loss and core enhancing boot camps.