You only need five minutes to strengthen your core and boost your balance

Man performing mountain climber exercises at home
(Image credit: Prostock-Studio/Getty Images)

Building a stronger core is a great way to improve your workout performance, boost your balance, and make everyday activities like walking, lifting, and sitting easier. Fortunately, you don’t need long to see results, as this core-focused routine takes you through five moves in just five minutes.

If you regularly train at home, it’s worth investing in one of the best kettlebells, especially if you like full-body workouts with moves like kettlebell swings to strengthen your core and raise your heart rate. But you don’t need any equipment for this short routine.

The five-move routine was developed by the team at Centr, Chris Hemsworth’s workout app, and is led by his personal trainer Luke Zocchi. It’s a five-minute circuit, so you’ll do each exercise for 40 seconds, take a 20-second rest, then start on the next move.

It’s ideal if you’re short on time, but you could also use it as a core-focused finisher after your usual workout or repeat the circuit up to five times for an intense mid-section session. However, the most important thing is to do each exercise with proper form.

Whether you’re new to core exercise or could use a refresher, Luke demonstrates each of the moves, so you can follow along, practice your technique, and get the most from your training. You don’t need any equipment, but a yoga mat can make floor-based exercises more comfortable.

Watch Centr’s five-minute core workout

People often use core and abs interchangeably, but there are some differences between these two areas of mid-body muscle. Your abs, which include the rectus abdominis six-pack abs muscle, form part of your core, which is a larger collection of muscles that connect your upper and lower body.

So, strengthening your abs also builds muscle in your core, but a dedicated core workout, like this six-move routine from Hemsworth’s team, is the best option if you want to get all the benefits like improved posture, better balance, and greater mobility as you age.

Part of the reason it can be so effective in just a few minutes is the type of exercise on offer. It’s a form of high-intensity resistance training (HIRT), where the aim is to train intensely in short bursts with minimal breaks between moves.

This works your muscles hard and helps raise your heart rate and boost your metabolism. This is a crucial factor if you’re looking to develop visible abs, as you’ll need to reduce fat around your stomach. However, it’s important to remember that you can’t spot-target fat.

Instead, you need to focus on all the essentials, like regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep. And if you’re a fan of efficient training, then it’s worth adding some of the best exercises to reduce belly fat into your routine.

These high-intensity moves include Russian twists, burpees, and jumping jacks, which work muscles all over your body and raise your heart rate. You could even add a few of them in before or after Centr’s five-minute session for a core-focused, fat-burning workout.

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is Tom's Guide's Fitness Editor, covering strength training workouts, cardio exercise, and accessible ways to improve your health and wellbeing.


His interest in fitness started after being diagnosed with a chronic illness, and he began focusing on strengthening his core, taking regular walks around the city, and practicing meditation to manage the symptoms. He also invested in fitness trackers, home workout equipment, and yoga mats to find accessible ways to train without the gym.


Before joining the team at Tom’s Guide, James was the Fitness Editor at Fit&Well, where he covered beginner-friendly exercise routines, affordable ways to boost your wellbeing, and reviewed weights, rowing machines, and workout headphones.


He believes that exercise should be something you enjoy doing, so appreciates the challenge of finding ways to incorporate it into everyday life through short muscle-building sessions, regular meditation, and early morning walks.