Workout articles, healthy lifestyle tips, and fitness advice.

A Quick and Simple Back and Core Workout

hands, legs and feet of someone doing a plank
A good back and core workout is an important part of any workout plan.

by Lindsay Tigar


There's leg day, full-body day, and arm day but what's one element that's common to all of those routines? They all likely feature some sort of back and core workout since this section of our body connects all of the major muscle groups. Engaging these essential regions is important no matter what type of fitness program you're doing, and taking just 20 minutes to complete a total back and core workout can help build your strength. If you're not sure how to get started, don't worry! Follow the simple and easy steps below to start exercising this section of your body in an effective way.

The Back and Core Workout

Here's your challenge: Try the following four expert-recommended moves for one minute each (feel free to take a 10-second break afterward) and cycle through two rounds. While you'll definitely feel the burn, stick with it! It will become easier over time — and then you'll be able to increase to two (or even three) minutes! Get started today with these moves.

Move 1: Bicycle Crunch

This move is a great way to engage your obliques, which are sometimes difficult to reach. It's similar to riding a bike but it's performed while lying down.

  • To start, lie flat on your back. Bend your knees to your chest and place your hands on the sides of your head. Make sure you don't crunch up!
  • Extend your right leg out straight, keeping it slightly off of the ground. Then lift your right elbow toward your left knee, squeezing your abs tightly.
  • Lift your leg closer to your chest as you draw your right shoulder even closer to your knee, touching them if you can.
  • Switch and repeat on the other side.

Move 2: Bird Dog

As long as you don't have knee issues, this back and core exercise is a great one to add to your routine. Make sure to maintain your posture to maximize the benefits.

  • Begin on your hands and knees and ensure that your hands are underneath your shoulders and your knees are underneath your hips.
  • Engage your core muscles by extending your left arm straight out in front of you.
  • Now lift your right leg, extending it completely, with your toes pointing toward the floor.
  • Hold for 10 seconds while maintaining a flat back.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Move 3: Pike Climb

There's no denying pikes are challenging, but they are also an efficient way to strengthen your mid-section and back. It might take a few tries to get into this position, but don't become discouraged. It simply takes some time!

  • Start in a basic plank position with a flat back and tight abdominal muscles.
  • Keep your forearms on the ground and chest pressed downward while pushing your hips up to the ceiling.
  • With your abdominal muscles engaged, shift your hips back into the plank position as you move your left knee toward your left elbow.
  • Return to the plank position.
  • Do 10 reps on each side, or as many rounds as you can get through in two minutes.

Move 4: Hip Lifts

Before you raise an eyebrow, remember, your hips are directly tied to your backside and core, so giving them some TLC is important. This move might be easier than others but it can still boost your endurance and improve your posture!

  • Lie on the floor with your knees bent and arms at your sides.
  • Engage your core and push your lower back into the ground.
  • Hold this position as you lift your midsection and butt off of the ground.
  • Hold for 10 seconds, and then gradually return to the starting position.
  • Repeat as many times as you can in two minutes.

A good back and core workout is an important part of any workout plan. So, give yourself a pat on the back for all of your hard work! As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.