Friendly reminder: Your core is way more than just your abs. It also includes your glutes and the muscles in your lower back and pelvis. And a functional core goes way beyond #sixpackgoals—it will help you move faster, lift heavier, avoid injury, and, admittedly, look slimmer.
To achieve that strong core, you need to do more than just abs exercises, too. Here, Jonathan Mike, Ph.D., a certified strength and conditioning specialist, exercise physiologist, and professor in Phoenix, has created a total-body workout that delivers a strong and lean waistline in an unexpected yet practical way. It recruits your upper and lower body to teach those midsection muscles to work as a team, stabilizing your spine and hips.
To make the most of this routine, do it twice a week and follow the four-move sequence as a circuit: Starting with the first move, perform the prescribed number of reps, then continue to the next without resting. Repeat this pattern until you’ve done all the moves; rest for three minutes. Complete three total rounds.
15-Minute Workout For Stronger Abs
MEDICINE BALL ROLL-OUT
How to: Kneel on floor, knees shoulder-width apart and feet together, and place hands on top of a heavy medicine ball directly under shoulders so your body forms a straight line from head to knees (a). Keeping core engaged, slowly roll ball away from you as far as you can, lowering torso toward floor (b). Reverse to return to start. That’s one rep; do six to eight.
SINGLE-ARM MEDICINE BALL PLANK
How to: Grab medicine ball and get into pushup position, legs extended and hands under shoulders; place left hand on top of ball (a). Keeping core tight and hips as level as possible, raise right hand to left shoulder (b). Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat on other side.
MINI-BAND COMBO HIP THRUST
How to: Loop a mini band just above both knees and hover butt a few inches above floor with upper back against a bench (a). Push through heels and squeeze glutes to raise hips in line with shoulders (b). Return to start, raise hips, then lift right leg, knee bent 90 degrees, until shin is parallel to floor (c). Lower, then repeat all steps on other side. Continue alternating for 20 total reps.
SINGLE-ARM BAND SHOULDER PRESS
How to: Stand with one end of a resistance band under right foot, and hold other end with right hand at shoulder height, elbow out to the side (a). Brace core, then press band directly overhead until arm is fully extended (b). Pause, then slowly reverse to return to start. That’s one rep. Do 12 to 15, then repeat on other side.
This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US.