A sweaty 25-minute total-core blast workout

Hi, friends! How are you? Yesterday was a little bit different for me, because Dave was off of work for an extended Fourth of July weekend. It was cool to have him home during a weekday. In fact, he met me for lunch in downtown Walnut Creek after I finished up teaching at Orangetheory Fitness and we sat outside together at Jamba Juice — it was almost like a weekend, but not, because I still had all the responsibilities of a typical Monday. Yet, I digress, because today I’m going to talk about fitness.

The last couple of months I have been teaching a 30-minute freestyle core blast class at a gym on Thursday nights after teaching a 45-minute BODYPUMP Express class. While I am certified to teach Les Mills CXWORX, which is a 30-minute core program, the gym does not have the license for it, so I have to create my own program in that time-slot. That being said, I make up a new routine nearly every single week and most of the time, these moves are perfect to do at home, so I thought you may want a little taste.

And by the way, did you know that the core muscles include nearly everything from the top of the thighs to the shoulders? So this workout is not just crunches. Not even close. 

Three things I always include in a balanced workout

There are a few things I always do when designing workouts, including this particular core class …

  • Include a dynamic warm-up at the beginning
  • Include moves that work the body in all three planes of motion (front-to-back, side-to-side and rotational)
  • Include a few stretches at the end

Checking off those three boxes ensures that the workout is well-rounded for most people who attend my classes, although many times I make up options for those who need it.

Because the class needs to end five minutes early (as most group fitness classes which run back-to-back do), this workout ends up being closer to 25 minutes — which is efficient and doable when you’re short on time.

Without further ado, here’s an example of some of the moves in a workout perfect to be completed at home. You’ll need a medium-sized weight-plate or dumbbell for this as an option only. It’s totally fine to do this workout with no weights at all. Take your time with each move and focus on quality repetitions in the time-frame allotted.

And even though this is a “core” workout, a few functional and compound full-body movements are included which work the core a lot, so you’re hitting more than just the mid-section.

*Disclaimer: While I’m a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, I’m not your trainer. Consult with your doctor or trainer before trying anything new, because this may not be right for you. Proceed with caution.

A sweaty 25-minute total-core blast workout

It’s a seven-move set, which you’ll repeat for a total of three times, taking your time with each exercise. Make sure you stop for a little breather in between each set to rest as needed.

25-minute core blast via A Lady Goes West blog #fitness #workouts

Believe me, you only need 25 minutes when you do a workout like this one. I do the workout moves along with the class to demonstrate, and this one had me completely drenched! I’m not sure what I’ll make up to teach this week, but it will be along these lines, because this has proven to be a winning format. Add in some fast-paced music in the background, and it’s a good time for all.

Here are some notes about each move, along with links to demonstrations:

  • Reverse lunge with torso rotation — Stand with feet hip-width, with the weight at your chest, arms bent. Step back and bend your back knee down toward the floor (it doesn’t have to touch the floor). Make sure you keep your chest up and hips square to the front the whole time. Extend the weight out in front of you with almost straight arms. Rotate over the front knee and follow the weight with your eyes.
  • Weighted bridge — Lay on your back, put the plate in your lap, hold on to it and drive your hips up to the sky while squeezing your butt. Dig your heels into the ground and try and get your chest up to your chin at the top of the movement. Don’t let your heels lift off the ground. During the top-half pulsing, stay very high in the movement without letting your butt touch the ground.
  • Weighted crunch — Lay on your back with your heels down or close to your butt. You can hold the weight straight above your shoulders pushing it up to the sky or hold it closely on your chest. Slide your ribs to your hips on the way up and make sure you get your shoulder blades off the ground at the top of the movement. Eyes should look between your knees at the top. To make it more challenging, lift your legs up with shins parallel to the ground.
  • Low-to-high plank — This move can also be done on your knees as a low option. Start with your elbows under shoulders, body long and strong. Try and keep your hips and shoulders as still as possible, without rocking back and forth while pushing up from the forearms to the hands. Make sure you place your hands directly under your shoulders as you push up, then return back down to your forearms. 
  • Superman — Lay on your stomach. Lift your legs up off the ground as you lift your chest and extend your arms out. Squeeze your butt at the top and take your time as you lower down to the starting position. Eyes up, chest up and try to keep your arms as straight as possible when extended.
  • Side hover hip lift — Set up with your elbow under your shoulder on one side. Feet can be stacked or scissored, and as a low option your bottom knee can be down. Lift your hip to the sky, keeping your body nice and straight.
  • Hover — Set up with your elbows under your shoulders. Body in a strong and flat plank position. Squeeze your core muscles and stay super still.

And by the way, once you’ve finished a workout like this, you never want to do any weightlifting, because your core will be spent. However, moderate cardio is certainly okay.

Be safe and have fun with it. And that’s it, friends! For more workouts like this, head on over to my Fitness +Workouts page and search around. I’ll see you back here tomorrow for a post about food. Have a lovely day!

Questions of the day

Do you have a favorite core move?

What’s going on in your week?

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55 Comments

  1. Great workout friend! I just love body weight exercises!! The low to high plank is fabulous for the core and shoulders, that’s a go to move for me ! πŸ˜‰

    1. Sometimes it’s good to stop counting reps and go for time, and that seems to work best in a core class from what I’ve seen. Happy Tuesday, Megan. And again, thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Heather! I know, overhead squats are another move I love to throw in, because they are killer on the core. Happy Tuesday, lady! πŸ™‚

    1. Not quite CXWORX, but a good fill-in for the core! πŸ™‚ heheh! I guess you need more of these now that you’re working out at home too. Right, Lisa? Happy Tuesday!

  2. Planks are by far my favorite core exercise. Works everything! Also, thank you for posting this! I’ve been looking for good core workouts lately to get my bod back in shape post-baby. This is perfect!

    1. Hi Becky, Yes, these would be good for you — since there aren’t too many “crunches.” And I’m a big fan of the plank too! Happy Tuesday! πŸ™‚

  3. Adding this to my core workout arsenal! I’ve had to sub a few CX classes lately (not certified, won’t go for initial training until September) so I’ve been following the format (adding warm up, core strength, standing strength etc.) with similar moves. This is a huge help since my default/crutch moves are cross crawls and hovers.

    1. Hi Gen! Yup, I love some standing strength. If the gym where I teach had resistance bands, I’d do way more standing moves! Good luck with initial training in CXWORX in a couple of months! πŸ™‚

  4. Core workouts are the best! I feel that as a runner, those are the most important muscles. I try to work them as much as possible! I have to say my favorite move is probably the traditional plank. My current PiYo class’s core track is all plank. I love the different variations that we do! It’s tough but I can already see a HUGE difference in my abs!

  5. I tried “dolphin” for the first time not too long ago… you hold a plank and then push your hips up and back and then return to a plank. Great abdominal workout as well as good workout for your shoulders! Great post – thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Jamie! I love that move! It’s a little difficult to coach in a bootcamp setting, but it’s a good one. Thanks for the reminder:)

  6. Looks like a good one, can’t wait to try it out! I love to hate the Low-to -High plank, hurts so good.

    Been a crazy week for me, boyfriend is out of the country on business, we are in the middle of moving to a newer, nicer place, and the rain/bad weather won’t stop here in KC. On the bright side, our pup is not afraid of storms, so that is good.

    1. Hi Jessie! Our little Rudy hasn’t experienced a storm yet, but I bet he would be scared. And that’s great that you are moving into a nicer place. Congrats — but of course — a lot of work to get that finished up. Hope your man comes back soon to help out! πŸ™‚

  7. Great workout, thanks for sharing Ashley! Can’t wait to give it a go….looks a lot like some of the workouts I have my bootcampers do..they always love me for that!

    1. Thanks, Jamie! I like do the minutes approach rather than reps sometimes in a bootcamp for timing purposes! Happy Tuesday! πŸ™‚

  8. Pinned and saved for my workout tomorrow! Love that you included the ever important point that you shouldn’t lift after that much core training!

    Side note: Just saw your Les Mills Blogger badge. That’s so cool! Looking forward to your latest release reviews:)

    1. Thanks, Jenna! I teach the new BODYATTACK on Monday and then wait a while before I teach the new BODYPUMP. Can’t wait! πŸ™‚

  9. Bodyweight workouts are where its at! I usually neglect core work for favor of a more ‘intense’ workout but in all honesty these workouts always make me exhausted! This one looks super fun, I love when the whole body becomes involved in the moves. My favorite core exercises would have to be planks and leg raises!

    1. Hi Niki! I’m a big fan of the plank too! The core is worked during many moves, but it’s also nice to spend time focusing on it with a workout like this. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Heather! Planks and hovers are my favorites for sure! But standing moves are a great challenge too. Happy Tuesday to you! πŸ™‚ Yay for yummy no-bake chocolate protein bars. Want to send me some? ahhhaha

    1. Hi Jessica! Thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoyed your core session if you did end up trying it! πŸ™‚ Have a lovely evening!

  10. Love this core work out – thank you for posting it! I have always just loved the hover. I once had a goal of holding it for 5 minutes (because I know it’s the challenge for CX training). However, I never finished that goal. I got to 2 minutes and 45 seconds and that is my all time high. I need to start on that again. You know what I’m doing this week πŸ˜‰ Second wave of packers come tomorrow. The first pack is over – all the stuff that will be in storage for 2 years is gone and it looks a little empty around here. When you did your big cross country move, what was the route you took? Did you see anything cool on the way?

    1. Actually, Melissa. We flew, so we didn’t see much! We had our movers take our stuff, Dave came out two weeks before me, and we both flew our separate times. We put his car on a cross-country transport truck too, so it made it over here a couple weeks after we were settled. I would have loved to see the country, but we needed to get things done faster than that! heheeh! And holding the hover for five minutes in CXWORX training wasn’t that bad, believe it or not! hehe:) You know how you get in the zone in those trainings and can do just about anything. Happy packing, lady! πŸ™‚

      1. No driving?! Bummer! I actually like doing cross country drives – it’s kinda cool πŸ™‚ Maybe next time (if there is a next time!).

        1. That was a little confusing – I meant maybe you can drive across the country next time – if there’s a next time πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Sue! I love stability balls too, except I don’t have one at home, nor does my gym have enough for people in the class. But they are a great tool.

    1. You’re welcome, James! Core work is quite important and something we often neglect. Hope you’re having a great week. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Katie! Sorry for the late response on this one, but I know — while you use your core in most workouts, I actually like to focus on it every once in a while. And doing that in less than 30 minutes is the way to go! πŸ™‚ Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  11. Pingback: Friday Favorites |
    1. Hi Sally! If you have any trouble areas that hurt, I would always try to avoid doing moves that irritate, and focus on strengthening the muscles around it. Are your hips tight from sitting all day? That can cause your lower back to hurt. Instead of supermans, try getting into a bird-dog position on all fours and wagging your hips left and right. It’s a GREAT move to soothe the lower back. πŸ™‚

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