If You Only Have Time to Strengthen One Body Part, Make It Your Core

Photo: Getty Images/Mikolette
I find that some of my body parts get FOMO when I'm focusing on others. For example: On days when I'm doing upper body workouts, I feel like my legs are jealous of the love—hence why I might try to fit in some lunges to give them some attention, too. It's like a full-on competition happening between my limbs.

The problem is that I simply cannot do every single body-part focused move every single time I workout. I mean, who has the time? So when I spoke with star Peloton instructor Ally Love at an Origins breakfast about her strength training tips, she made it all easier for me (and all of us): If you're crunched for time at the gym, just work on your core.

"If you want to maximize your training when you don't have time or can't hop onto a machine, do basic core workouts," she tells me. "You can never do enough core. Your core is your center—your limbs, everything flows from your core, and the stronger your core is, the faster you can be."

It's true—having a strong core is the foundation to overall strength and better efficiency in all movement. "Your core is your main stabilizer, and when it's strong your form gets better," says Love. "I always say, 'strengthen your core' because your core is a part of any movement, any exercise, any form of training." Also, it's key to your posture. "Especially if you're sitting at a desk all day or even in an Uber or driving, you slump. Five minutes goes a long way when you do it right—five minutes and your core is burning." (#Truth.)

Trainer Erica Ziel (strongly) agrees, but stresses the fact that this doesn't mean just your abs. Your core includes your back and your obliques, too—your entire middle trunk. "It's important with core work that you balance your core by connecting correctly from your pelvic floor through your entire torso, lengthening in your spine so you're creating more strength and space for your core to support your body, your spine, and your organs inside," she says. "You are only as strong as you are able to connect deeply through your core—keeping it balanced and strong can help you feel more confident, encourage you to maintain better posture, and improve your overall energy."

Short on time but wanna work your core? We've got you covered. Below is a 15-minute ab workout that targets everything in your midsection, courtesy of Charlee Atkins.

And also: This is a short Pilates for abs workout you can try at home. And here's one using a Pilates ring, from our very own Trainer of the Month Kimmy Kellum.

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