This At-Home Core Conditioning Workout Doesn’t Require a Single Crunch

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A strong core is at the, ahem, core of solid fitness routine. Core strength helps you move through workouts—and life—with a lesser risk of injury. If you're looking to spice up your usual abs workout routine, check out this episode of Trainer of the Month Club. In it, Kat Atienza, coach and co-owner of Session, demos a 20-minute home core conditioning workout. She walks you through a sequence of moves that both strengthen your core and get your heart rate up, all in just under 20 minutes.

After a quick warm-up to get those central muscles fired up, it's time for the real work to begin. "We've got two circuits of work, three exercises in each one, our work time is 45 seconds and then we have 15 seconds to rest, transition, catch our breathe, all the good stuff," says Atienza. Follow along with the video above, and get the breakdown of the moves below.

Set 1

Lateral shuffle to squat jumps: Start at one end of your mat. Soften your knees, push your hips back, and then laterally shuffle to the other side of the mat—for a lower-impact version of the move, simply turn the shuffle into a lateral walk. Perform two squats, then shuffle back to the other end of your mat. Perform two squats. Repeat until time is up. You can either do bodyweight squats, jump squats, or squat-to-toes.

Deconstructed burpee: "We're gonna focus on our form in this burpee first, then our next two times through we're gonna spice it up," says Atienza. Start at the top of your mat. Squat down so your hands meet the floor. Step back into a high plank and hold for a beat, then perform a push-up. Step your feet back to the top of your mat in your squat position, squeeze your glutes, and stand up. Repeat until time is up.

Single-leg lowers: Lay on your back and send your legs straight up into the air. Lower one leg, then raise it back up. Repeat on the opposite side. Keep going until time is up. For an added challenge, bring your shoulders off of the floor.

Repeat the set two more times. 

Set 2

Split lunge jumps: "Think reverse lunge with a hop in the middle," explains Atienza. Start at the top of your space and hop back into a reverse lunge. Load up your glutes and quads, and bring your feet together with a tiny hop. Alternate sides until time is up. "We're not going full-out lunge jumps here," she says. "We're loading up, taking that impact in our glutes and our quads, and not in our knees." If jumping isn't on the menu today, step back into your lunges instead.

3-step high knees: Start at one side of your mat and perform three high knees going laterally. Hold for a beat on the third one. Repeat in the opposite direction and continue until time is up. "Think high knees, opposite arm opposite knee, then we hold on our third step," says Atienza.

Hip-dips to walking plank: Start in a forearm plank. Dip your hips to one side, and then the opposite side. Create a circular motion with your hips, "like you've got a basketball underneath," says Atienza. Do four total, alternating sides.Then, push up to a high plank one hand at a time, and then return back to a low plan one elbow at a time. Repeat two more times for a total of three. Repeat the entire complex until time is up.

Repeat the set two more times. 

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