Health

Challenge Your Obliques With This 20-Minute Bodyweight Workout

Your core has a lot of important jobs, like stabilizing your torso, maintaining proper posture, and keeping your balance. Another key role? Helping you rotate, both in sports (think swinging a tennis racquet) and life (think bending and twisting to lift your toddler for the one-millionth time today).

This week’s Sweat With SELF video—led by athletic trainer Liz Letchford, Ph.D., A.T.C., and coach Paul Wright—focuses on core rotation. The 20-minute bodyweight workout is the second in a six-part series dedicated to helping you learn how to correctly engage, and ultimately strengthen, your core. (If you missed the first part, go ahead and check it out here.)

As Letchford explains, the core has two functions in rotation. One is to allow the transfer of power from the hips to the shoulders. And the second is to rotate on its own. This 20-minute bodyweight workout helps train both functions with moves like Russian twists, side planks, and twisting mountain climbers. Your obliques (the muscles on the sides of your torso) are the main drivers of core rotation, so you’ll really feel them firing in this routine. You’ll also activate your transverse abdominis (your deep core muscles that wrap around your spine and sides) as well as your rectus abdominis (your “six-pack” abs on the front of your torso).

If you’re ready to rotate and seriously strengthen your core in the process, grab a mat and follow along with the circuit-style workout video below. Or, if you’d rather work out at your own pace, simply keep scrolling for detailed workout directions and GIFs of each move.

Workout Directions

Start with the dynamic warm-up. Do each exercise for 35 seconds, resting 15–20 seconds between each move.

Next, do the workout. Do each exercise for 40 seconds, resting 5–10 seconds between each move. Repeat the circuit two more times, resting 15 seconds between each round.

Dynamic Warm-Up

  • Hook x 35 seconds
  • Big Hook x 35 seconds
  • Bow and Arrow x 35 seconds

Workout

  • Russian Twist x 40 seconds
  • Twisting Mountain Climber x 30 seconds
  • Penguin x 40 seconds
  • Arm and Leg Lift x 40 seconds
  • Side Plank (repeat on each side) x 40 seconds on each side
  • Supine Twist x 40 seconds

*Rest for 15 seconds. Repeat the circuit 2 more times.

The Exercises


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