mbg moves: A Speedy Workout That Targets Your Entire Core

Personal trainer & holistic nutritionist By BB Arrington, CPT
Personal trainer & holistic nutritionist
BB Arrington is NASM-certified personal trainer, holistic nutritionist, and sustainability advocate.
core twist exercise

Welcome to mbg moves! We've been working out at home more than ever lately—and we know our readers are, too. To help keep your fitness routine feeling fresh, we're releasing a new at-home workout every Monday to start your week off strong. Each month will feature routines from a different incredible trainer we adore. Now, let's get moving with our spotlight trainer: BB Arrington.

If I say "core workout," what's the first thing that comes to your mind? A lot of movements aimed specifically at those visible abdominal muscles? Well, today I'm going to lead you through a core workout that involves your entire core—not just your abs.

In order to do this, I've put together a four-move routine that explores all the different ways we use our core: flexion, anti-flexion, rotation, and anti-rotation. 

Flexion is when you bring the pelvis to the ribs or the ribs to the pelvis. For example, in this workout, we're going to go pelvis to ribs with a seated reverse crunch. With anti-flexion, on the other hand, we don't want the hips to move toward the ribs or vice versa. In this workout, a solid plank achieves that goal.

As for rotation and anti-rotation, the first involves twisting your torso to work your core, whereas the latter requires you to engage your muscles to prevent rotation in your core.

Ready to put these principles into practice? Try the quick workout below! I recommend moving through the sequence two or three times total and adding it to your routine a couple of times weekly. That said, even once a week is totally enough to get every part of your core burning!

Your 4-week challenge: Over the last four weeks, I've shared a different strength-training workout that focuses on a specific exercise principle—to help you strengthen your mind and body all at once. I challenge you to make it a goal to incorporate these routines two to three times per week.

Workout Summary

  • Time: 5 to 15 minutes
  • Equipment: Two dumbbells and a yoga mat.
  • Instructions: Move from one exercise to the next with 30 seconds of rest in between. Repeat the entire sequence two or three times total for a full workout.
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Reverse Iso Crunch

Reverse Iso Crunch exercise

Image by mbg creative

  1. Lie on the mat; bring your shins to tabletop. Press your palms into the floor to help with stability. 
  2. Slowly tip your pelvis toward your face, lifting your hips up slightly. You're not trying to rock and bring your knees overhead; it's just a small movement.
  3. Return back to start with control.
  4. That's one rep. Continue for 30 seconds.

Forearm Plank

forearm plank

Image by mbg creative

  1. Start on all fours, then bring your forearms to the mat.
  2. Extend your legs out, and lift your body up.
  3. Pull your belly button toward the spine, press your forearms into the ground, press your shoulders down to your hips, and squeeze the glutes. This helps engage the whole body.
  4. Hold for 40 seconds.

Seated Oblique Twist

seated oblique twist

Image by mbg creative

  1. Sit on your mat. Plant your heels on the floor, sit up tall, and tip back slightly. Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands.
  2. Inhale. As you exhale, twist your body toward your left hip. Rotate to the other side. (Imagine your torso is a wet towel you're wringing out.)
  3. That's one rep. Continue for 30 seconds.

Hollow Hold Variation

hollow hold variation

Image by mbg creative

  1. Sit on your mat. Plant your heels on the floor, sit up tall, and tip back slightly. Hold one dumbbell in your right hand. 
  2. Engage your core, reach the weight up to the sky, tip back a little farther. Bring your weight to the right side, then bring it back to center. Grab the weight in your left hand, and bring it out to the left side. Be sure to keep your torso as stable as possible as you twist from side to side. 
  3. Note: For an extra challenge, try lifting your feet off the ground. 
  4. Continue for 30 seconds.

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