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Your at-home core training program

In partnership with Kristy Curtis
A young woman wearing black workout tights and a white shirt doing a side plank on her living room mat with her puppy watching

We spoke to a personal trainer for tips

A young woman wearing black workout tights and a white shirt doing a side plank on her living room mat with her puppy watching

Thanks to at-home fitness offerings like remote classes, fitness influencers and DIY home gyms, working out from home has never been easier. These days you can smash a fitness session with little more than a mat and a spare 10 minutes – all while bingeing your favourite series on Netflix.

And when it comes to your core? There are a ton of options for ab exercises at home.

In an effort to create an epic DIY core training program, we hit up personal trainer and health and wellness coach Kristy Curtis for some easy reps – no equipment required. 

The benefits of core work

From athletes to office workers, everyone uses their core daily – which is why it’s often referred to as the body’s powerhouse.

“When we think of the core muscles we automatically assume we are referring to our abs,” Kristy says. “Yes, the abdominals are part of the core, but it consists of a multitude of muscles between our diaphragm and our pelvis, including the pelvic floor, obliques, diaphragm, trunk extensors and hip flexors. Keeping the core strong will assist with stabilising our pelvis and our spine.”

So, how should we be building up strength in our cores? Kristy recommends the following set of exercises you can do from home – core training without weights. 

50-year-old man doing a quadruped in his living room on yoga maty while wearing grey exercise clothes

Bridge

Reps: 6 - 10

  1. 1

    Start by lying on your back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and feet and hips parallel.

  2. 2

    Breathe through the nose and as you breathe out, push your feet into the floor, tilt the pelvis, peel the lower back off the floor and then the middle of your back. Keep peeling until you have a straight line from your knees to your shoulder. Inhale and hold.

  3. 3

    Exhale and slowly peel back into your start position, keeping your shoulders and neck relaxed.

Make it harder: “Add a Pilates ball between your knees to engage the inner thighs,” suggests Kristy. “Alternatively, you can lift one leg into table-top position and do a single leg bridge.” 

Single leg lifts

Reps: 3 - 5 each side

Stay lying on your back with your feet hip-width apart and knees bent. Inhale through the nose, and on the exhale float one of the bent legs off the floor and up to table-top position.

  1. 1

    Inhale, hold and then exhale to return the leg to the start position.

  2. 2

    Switch legs.

Make it harder: “Try alternating legs, so instead of doing one leg at a time, switch
them in mid-air,” says Kristy. 

Spine twist 

Reps: 3 - 5 each side

  1. 1

    Inhale and rotate to the other side

  2. 2

    Exhale and draw the abdominals in, bringing your legs back to the centre.

  3. 3

    Inhale and rotate to the other side.

Make it harder: “Add a single or double leg extension while in the rotation,” suggests Kristy.

Chest lift

Reps: 6 - 10

  1. 1

    Inhale to control your body back to the starting position.

  2. 2

    Exhale and lift your chest and head off the floor, reaching your arms long.

  3. 3

    Inhale to control your body back to the starting position.

Make it harder: “Add a single or double leg extension while in the rotation,” suggests Kristy. 

Hula 

Reps: 3 - 5 each side

  1. 1

    Start by laying on your back and placing one palm on top of the other, arms pointing to the ceiling.

  2. 2

    Exhale to rotate your torso to the left side of your body, reaching your hands past the left knee.

  3. 3

    Inhale and rotate back through the centre.

  4. 4

    Exhale and rotate to the right side of your body, reaching your hands past your right knee.

Make it harder: “Place your hands behind your head and lift your legs into table-top position,” suggests Kristy. 

Are core exercises suitable for everyone?

Although everyone can benefit from core weight training, as with any aerobic activity, starting at a comfortable level of intensity and gradually increasing is key.

Please note: The tips throughout this article serve as broad information and should not replace any advice you have been given by your medical practitioner.

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Kristy Curtis wearing a black sports bra at the gym and smiling at the camera

In partnership with

Kristy Curtis

Kristy Curtis is one of Australia and Asia’s leading wellness experts. She discovered her passion for fitness at a young age and has since transformed that passion into a career, with a successful personal training business and as a TV presenter. Kristy strongly believes while there are some things in life you can’t control, you can take ownership and responsibility of your health by eating good food, thinking positively and keeping your body moving. Every night before bed, Kristy completes a sudoku puzzle.