When you hear core workout, most people think of their abs, but your abdominals are only part of the story. Your core includes your abdominals and the muscles surrounding your spine. In almost any activity you do during the day, your core is engaged. Strong core muscles give you better balance and posture, and in the long run, minimize or prevent pain. Asphalt Green group exercise instructor Gavilán Longino shares a 20-minute core workout that strengthens your stabilizer muscles.  

Here’s how it works:  

Set a timer for 20 minutes. Do the following exercises in order to complete one set. For each exercise, do 20 reps per side.  

Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift  

Muscles targeted: back, glutes, hamstrings 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. You may do this with or without a weight.  
  • Hinge forward at the hips, putting the weight in your right leg and kicking your left leg back. Make sure your back is straight throughout the movement.   
  • Return to starting position, either keeping your left foot off of the ground (harder) or placing it down (easier) before your complete your next repetition. After 20 reps, switch sides.  


Easier: Keep both feet on the ground.  

Harder: Complete the move on an unstable surface like a pillow.  


Crunches with Legs Extended  

Muscles targeted: abdominals, hip flexors 

  • Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and legs straight in the air so your body forms a 90-degree angle.  
  • Squeeze your core to lift your head, neck, and shoulders off of the ground. Hold for a second at the top.  
  • Return to starting position, maintaining control throughout the movement and keeping your back pressed into the mat (no arch).  


Easier: Bend your knees.  

Harder: Add flutter kicks while you crunch. Alternate pedaling your legs forward and backward throughout the movement.  


Swimming Exercise  

Muscles targeted: back, glutes, hamstrings  

  • Lie on your stomach. Extend your arms overhead, shoulder-distance apart, palms down. Extend your legs straight out, hip-distance apart with your ankles placed comfortably on the floor. 
  • Reach your opposite arm and leg away from each other. If your joints are flexible, your arm and leg will come off the floor. The non-active arm and leg should remain on the floor. Your forehead can either rest on the floor or lift when your arm rises. Return the active arm and leg to starting position. 
  • Repeat on the opposite side. 


Easier: Lift only the arms or only the legs. 

Harder: Begin with your arms and legs off of the floor.  


Bicycle Crunch  

Muscles targeted: Obliques  

  • Lie on your back, place your hands behind your head, and bring your knees to tabletop position so your legs form a 90-degree angle.  
  • Extend your right leg and bring your right shoulder across your body to meet your left knee.  
  • Repeat on the opposite side.  


Easier: Place your feet on the ground.  

Harder: Press both legs out at the same time.  


Side Plank Bridges  

Muscles targeted: Obliques, shoulders  

  • Start in a side plank position on your left side. Your body should form a straight line with your feet stacked on top of each other and your weight in your elbow.  
  • Maintaining control, lower your left hip to the floor, then return to starting position.  
  • Switch sides after 20 reps.  


Easier: Place your bottom knee on the ground.  

Harder: Raise your top leg while you perform the exercise.