Six-packs are great and all, but strengthening your core is about so much more than looking good. Your ab and glute muscles (yes, your butt is part of your core!) play a huge role in stabilising your body, including your pelvis and spine, so it's always worth throwing a quick core workout into your daily routine to help prevent discomfort and lower back pain.
This TikTok-famous routine from chiropractor Alan Mandell, DC, (aka @motivationaldoc) is a good place to start. The workout, which has been watched over 220,000 times since it was posted in August, is 100 percent seated and consists of just three moves that all target your transverse abdominis (TVA) muscles, aka your deep core. Dr. Mandell notes that strengthening this muscle can help flatten your belly, though it won't necessarily help you burn belly fat (you'll also need to focus on your diet and overall workout routine, including cardio and strength workouts, if that's your goal). The injury and pain prevention we talked about earlier are another major benefit of TVA strength, because this is the muscle that supports and stabilises your lower back and pelvis.
So let's talk about this workout. Dr. Mandell recommends doing three bodyweight moves:
- Seated arm raise: sit in a chair with good posture, an arch in your back and feet flat on the ground. Lift your arms and hold for one or two minutes.
- Seated arm raise and leg lift: Holding the same position as before, lift one thigh off your chair, then the other, keeping your legs bent at 90 degrees. Repeat for 10 reps on each side, alternating sides.
- Seated lean-forward: Sit on the edge of your chair with good posture, feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms straight out in front of your chest. Maintain your posture and keep your chest lifted as your lean forward from the waist, tightening your core as you lean. Sit up straight again to complete the rep. Repeat for 20 reps.
After seeing how accessible these moves were, I couldn't resist trying them for myself. And it didn't take long to feel my core working — just a few seconds into that first exercise, in fact. Maintaining my posture was the hardest part; I focussed hard on keeping my spine arched, chest lifted, and core engaged, and felt those deep core muscles engage during every exercise. (It's especially tough during the lean-forward exercise. My spine kept wanting to hunch!) The best part? The whole routine only took three minutes to complete, and I could do it right at my desk. Take a quick break, grab a chair, and try the TVA routine for yourself above!