Core and Flexibility Workout to Strengthen Your Body

This workout focuses on strengthening the core with challenging exercises targeting the rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominis, and the lower back. The flexibility exercises stretch the entire body with a focus on the back and hips. Do this workout after your regular cardio workout or on its own for a challenging, yet relaxing, workout.

Precautions

See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions. Modify any exercise that causes pain or discomfort.

Equipment Needed

To complete this workout, you will need an exercise ball, a medicine ball, a resistance band, and a mat.

How To

  • Warm up with light cardio or do this workout after your regular cardio workout.
  • Modify exercises when necessary.
  • Do this workout 2 to 3 times a week with a day of rest in between.
1

Bird Dog

Bird Dog

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

  1. To do a bird-dog, begin on hands and knees. Engage the abs and lift the right arm and left leg until level with the body, holding your balance and keeping your torso tight.
  2. Lower back down and repeat with the left arm and right leg.
  3. Repeat for 2 sets of 12 reps, alternating sides (one rep includes both the right and left sides).
2

Med Ball Rotations on the Ball

  1. Lie with the exercise ball under your shoulders, neck, and head. Your hips should be lifted in a bridge position
  2. Take the arms straight up over the chest holding a light weight or medicine ball.
  3. Tighten your abs and rotate your torso to the left as far as you can, allowing the hips and legs to move naturally with the motion.
  4. Return to center, then go to the other side for 2 sets of 12 reps on each side (one rep includes both the right and left sides).
3

Forearm Side Plank

Woman on yoga mat doing forearm side plank

Photo: Ben Goldstein / Model: Ana Alarcon

  1. Lie on your side balanced on the forearm, feet and hips stacked on top of one another.
  2. Holding the torso steady, slowly contract your abs and lift the hips off the floor (don't sink into the shoulder). Lower and repeat.
  3. If you experience discomfort in the shoulder, the hip does not need to come all the way to the floor. Simply lower as much as you can while keeping the shoulders comfortable.
  4. Repeat for 2 sets of 10 reps on each side.

To modify, keep the knees bent or take the feet wider rather than stacked. You can also put one knee down for more support.

4

Seated Torso Twist

Woman training in gym
Johner Images / Getty Images
  1. Sit holding a medicine ball at chest level. Bend the knees, lean back slightly and lift the feet off the floor. The torso should remain straight with the abs engaged.
  2. Rotate the chest to the right and touch the medicine ball to the floor near the right hip.
  3. Bring the torso back to center and rotate the chest to the left. Touch the ball down near the left hip. Return to center and continue the sequence side to side.
  4. If you are not able to maintain the feet off the floor with a long, tall torso, keep the feet on the floor and simply rotate side to side holding the ball at chest height.
  5. Repeat, alternating sides for 2 sets of 10 reps (one rep is to the right and left). 
5

Plank

Plank

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

  1. Place forearms on the floor and press up into a flat-back position on the toes, keeping the hips down so that the body is in a straight line from head to heels. 
  2. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, lower, and repeat. 
  3. To modify, take one or both knees to the floor.
6

Woodchop

cable woodchop exercise

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

  1. To do a woodchop, you can use a cable, or attach one end of a resistance band to something sturdy on your right side at shoulder height or higher.
  2. With feet placed hip-distance apart, grasp the handle with both hands and sweep the arms down on a diagonal across the body and past the opposite thigh. Your torso, hips, and knees will rotate slightly during this fluid movement.
  3. Control the reverse movement, slowly allowing the handles to retract to their starting position.
  4. Repeat for 2 sets of 12 reps on each side.
7

Ab Roll

  1. Kneel in front of the exercise ball and place your hands on the ball parallel to one another. Roll the ball out, keeping the hips and back straight. 
  2. Roll out until you feel the abs engage (don't arch or strain the back) and push into the ball to roll back in. 
  3. Repeat for 2 sets of 10 reps.
8

Hamstring Stretch

woman stretching hamstrings while standing

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

  1. From a standing position, take the left foot in front of you, your foot flexed, and tip from the hips, lowering the torso until you feel a stretch in the left hamstring.
  2. Keep the back flat and hold for 15 to 30 seconds, repeating on the right leg.
9

Quad Stretch

woman stretching quad

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

  1. Hold onto a wall for balance if needed and bend the left knee, taking the heel towards the glutes.
  2. Grab onto the foot with your left hand, keeping the knee pointing toward the floor, and feel a stretch in the front of the leg.
  3. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
10

Shoulder Stretch

Standing Shoulder Stretch

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

  1. Take your right arm straight across your chest and curl the left hand around your elbow, gently pulling on the right arm to deepen the stretch in the shoulder.
  2. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and switch sides.
11

Hip Figure 4 Stretch

Eye of the needle

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

  1. Lie down on the mat on your back. Cross your left foot over the right knee.
  2. Clasp your hands behind your right thigh and gently pull the leg in towards you, keeping the upper body relaxed.
  3. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and switch sides.
12

Pigeon Stretch

Pigeon pose

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

  1. Begin on the hands and knees and bring the left knee in, resting it on the floor between your hands (you should be on the outside of the knee).
  2. Straighten the right leg out behind you and, if you can, bend forward and rest the forearms on the floor.
13

Knee Drops

Woman in tank top and shorts lying on back on blue mat, arms lying straight out at sides, hips twisted to one side, performing side roll
Russell Sadur / Getty Images
  1. Start on your back on the floor. Bring the knees up and bend them to 90 degrees, shins parallel to the floor and arms out to the sides.
  2. Contract the abs and rotate the torso to lower the legs to the right, bringing them down to the floor. Keep the left shoulder flat on the floor and release any tension in your waist and back.
  3. Hold the stretch for about 5 breaths. Bring the knees back to center and repeat on the other side.
14

Spine Twist

spinal twist

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

  1. Lying on the floor, place your right foot on the left knee.
  2. Using your left hand, gently pull your right knee towards the floor, twisting your spine and keeping ​your left arm straight out, hips and shoulders on the floor.
  3. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and switch sides.
15

Side Child's Pose

Childs Pose

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

  1. Use this modified child's pose to get an extra side stretch. Begin on your hands and knees, sit back onto the heels, walk the hands forward, and stretch the arms out. You can take the knees wide if that's more comfortable.
  2. Relax your forehead on the floor and walk the hands a few inches to the right, feeling a stretch down the left side.
  3. Hold for a few breaths before walking the hands to the right and holding there.
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3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Brumitt J, Matheson JW, Meira EP. Core stabilization exercise prescription, part I: current concepts in assessment and interventionSports Health. 2013;5(6):504–509. doi:10.1177/1941738113502451

  3. Javadian Y, Akbari M, Talebi G, Taghipour-Darzi M, Janmohammadi N.Influence of core stability exercise on lumbar vertebral instability in patients presented with chronic low back pain: A randomized clinical trialCaspian J Intern Med. 2015;6(2):98–102.