Some people add core work into their routine with a singular goal in mind: getting those abs. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, functional core exercises do a lot more than tighten and tone—they also help you build up the strength you need to go about your everyday activities with ease.

When it comes down to it, there are a million and one ways to work your core. So how can you decide what’s best? Or just where to even start? I put together a list of some great ones to try. Most of them use only your body weight, so you can easily add them into your workout routine whether you’re at home, in a gym, or traveling.

Other great core exercises, like deadlifts and squats, seemingly don’t work your midsection at all—but core engagement is crucial to do them properly, which is why I like to call them “sneaky” core moves.

Do all exercises in a row; rest between each when needed. Once you can complete every exercise for 30 seconds consecutively (an eight-minute routine), add five seconds per exercise. Suggested frequency is once daily, three to five times per week; max of twice daily, seven days per week.

Bent-Knee V-Sit With Heel Cup:

Bent-Knee V-Sit With Heel Cup

How to:

  • Sit on the floor with knees bent 90 degrees, torso leaned back 45 degrees, and hands cupped.
  • Lift feet off the floor until shins are parallel to the floor.
  • Touch right heel with the right hand, twisting torso and bringing left arm behind you.
  • Return to start position.
  • Repeat on the opposite side for the time.

Related article: 5 Exercises to Beat Belly Jiggle Without a Single Sit-Up! All In 5 Minutes

Dead Bug:

Dead Bug

How to:

  • Lie on your back with your right arm and leg straight, just above the floor.
  • Bend your left knee, lifting your foot off the floor and bending your left elbow.
  • Place a block between your left knee and elbow, holding it in place using your abs.
  • Keeping your left side stable by using your abs, crunch your right leg and arm toward each other until they meet over your chest.
  • Return to start without letting right heel touch floor.

Related article: Start Building Your Strength And Shape With This 5 Minute Core Workout

Tabletop Heel to Sky:

Tabletop Heel to Sky

How to:

  • From a seated position with knees bent 90 degrees and hands beneath shoulders, lift hips to form a tabletop position.
  • Keeping left leg straight, raise it to the ceiling, as if kicking a ball from the air, then lower to tap heel on the floor.
  • Return to start position.
  • Perform movement for the right leg.
  • Repeat in a steady, controlled manner for the time.

Related article: 5 Minute Tiny Waist Workout In Just Four Quick Exercises

Slam and Twist:

Slam and Twist

How to:

  • Lie on back with legs on the bench, knees bent about 90 degrees.
  • Hold hands to ears with elbows wide.
  • Sit up quickly, slamming chest to thighs.
  • Lower torso halfway back to the floor and then slam up again.
  • Lower torso midway again.
  • Then twist the torso, 3 times each to right and left, staying tall.
  • Return to start position with head back on the floor.
  • Repeat for time

Related article: Will A Variation Of 9 Exercises Give Me A Six Pack? This Workout Will Prove It Does

Star Plank Rollover:

Star Plank Rollover

How to:

  • Get in top of full plank position on the right side, stacking left foot on top of the right.
  • Lift left arm and left foot into a “star” position.
  • Hold for 1 to 2 seconds, then walk left hand and foot to the floor so you’re in the top of a pushup position.
  • Roll into a left-side star plank.
  • Hold for 1 to 2 seconds.

Related article: 9 Exercises That Challenge Your Body and Brain For A Satisfying Body Changing Workout

Stayin’ Alive:

Stayin’ Alive

How to:

  • Get in top of plank position, feet slightly wider than hip-width.
  • Extend right hand overhead and then diagonally to side (2 o’clock), while pointing left leg diagonally (8 o’clock) to the opposite side.
  • Pause 1 second.
  • Return to start.
  • Repeat for the other side (left hand and right leg).

Related article: 5 Plank Variations For A Well Defined Six-Pack, Carve Your Core And Get Stronger

Stretch Clock:

Stretch Clock

How to:

  • From the top of the plank position, walk hands farther out above the level of the head, about a foot, and as wide as hips.
  • “Walk” right hand and left foot clockwise simultaneously, then walk left hand and right foot to meet them.
  • Continue in the same direction for a time.
  • Repeat going in the opposite direction.

Related article: This Burn And Firm Workout Will Trim Fat Faster, You’ll Look Sleeker & Feel Stronger



How to:

  • Lie, belly down, on a stability ball, legs straight and close together and arms straight.
  • Keeping the neck in line with the torso, lift your right arm and left leg until at least parallel to the floor.
  • Hold for time, then return to start.