Ditch sit-ups — you just need a resistance band and these 5 exercises to build a stronger core

Woman performing glute bridge with resistance brand
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

There are lots of way to train your core, whether that's sticking to traditional exercises like sit-ups, planks and crunches or incorporating some of the best kettlebells into your workouts, but they're not your only option, as we've found a resistance band routine that'll challenge your core and abs in just five moves.

The trainer behind this banded workout, Cindy Yu, uses one size of band for the whole workout but if you own a set of the best resistance bands you might like to challenge yourself and up the level of resistance as you progress through each round of the routine.

This is way, you can use the progressive overload to gradually increase the intensity of your workouts, and boost muscle growth. Once you've got a resistance band to hand and you're pumped to work your core, you're ready to take on Yu's effective five-move workout.

Watch Cindy Yu's five-move resistance band core workout

You will work through each exercise for 30-40 seconds and the aim is to complete four or five rounds in total. Helpfully, Yu demonstrates all the moves you'll need to perfect your technique. Here's a list of the exercises you'll need: 

  1. Glute bridge abduction cross crunch
  2. Banded kick out
  3. Abduction abs crunch
  4. Banded bicycle abs
  5. Leg drop abduction

Resistance bands can be really helpful for making sure you are targeting the right muscles, thanks to the constant tension they provide. Unlike weights, where there might be moments of reduced tension, bands provide constant tension throughout the entire range of motion of an exercise. 

This consistent tension forces the muscles to work harder to maintain control, leading to greater muscle activation. Plus, the continuous resistance increases time under tension, which is crucial for stimulating muscle growth and improving strength.

Thanks to Yu's routine, you'll be targeting and strengthening all areas of the core. The combination of abductions, crunches, and leg movements engages the upper and lower abs and activates the obliques, developing overall core stability and functional strength

Plus, the inclusion of glute-activating moves, such as the glute bridge abduction, will get those butt muscles working. Not only will this contribute to defining the glutes but also enhance your lower back support and improve overall lower body strength. 

Completing this core routine is a fantastic step towards strengthening and toning your midsection, but it shouldn't be the end of your efforts. To further promote muscle growth and achieve visible results, consistency is key.

Regularly incorporating core-strengthening workouts into your fitness regimen is important. Additionally, varying your exercises is essential to continuously challenge your muscles and prevent plateaus. 

If you're not seeing the desired definition, it might be because you need to dedicate time to lowering your body fat by establishing a nutritious diet that you enjoy and maintaining regular cardio and strength training.

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Jessica Downey
Fitness Writer

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her love for keeping fit and fueling her body with healthy and enjoyable food quite naturally led her to write about all things fitness and health-related. If she isn’t out testing the latest fitness products such as the latest running shoe or yoga mat for reviewing then she can be found writing news and features on the best ways to build strength, active aging, female health, and anything in between. Before then she had a small stint writing in local news, has also written for Runners World UK (print and digital), and gained experience with global content marketing agency, Cedar Communications.

Born and raised in Scotland, Jessica is a massive fan of exercising and keeping active outdoors. When at home she can be found running by the sea, swimming in it, or up a mountain. This continued as she studied and trained to become a PPA-accredited magazine journalist in Wales. And since working and living in London, she splits her time between weight training in the gym, trying new fitness classes, and finding scenic running routes. Jessica enjoys documenting this on her fitness-inspired Instagram page @jessrunshere where she loves engaging with like-minded fitness junkies.

She is a big fan of healthy cooking and loves learning more about this area with expert nutritionists she has met over the years. Jessica is a big advocate for building healthy relationships with food rather than building restrictive attitudes towards it. When she isn’t eating or running she also enjoys practicing yoga in her free time as it helps her to unwind and benefits her performance in other sports.