The core isn’t only your abs; it is also your back and shoulders. Essentially, the core is the trunk of the body. Your core has a role to play in virtually every movement you make. With standing, or stepping, lifting, running and reaching the core is engaged. Because it is so integrally involved in much of what you do, strengthening your core can help you do most things better.  Think a super busy schedule means you don’t have time to strengthen your core? Think again. Try this 5-minute routine to get results fast.

Planks are perfect because you can do them anytime, anywhere and no special equipment is required. Best of all, planks are a total body exercise so not only do you show your core some love but your legs also get a little love.

Start by getting into pushup position on your mat. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms. Be sure your elbows are directly beneath your shoulders, and your body forms a straight line from your head to your feet. Feet should be resting on the toe box of your sneakers.

Single-Leg Lunge
We all know about lunges. And whether you love them or hate them …does anyone really love them? You know they work so go ahead and bite the bullet.

Begin by standing in a lunge with left foot in front, knees bent and left thigh parallel to floor. Next, bend forward from your hips and straighten your left leg. Your right leg should be extended behind you at a 45 degree angle. Return to beginning position and continue the movements for one minute.

one caucasian man exercising lunges  fitness weights exercises in studio silhouette isolated on white background

Lying leg raise
As the old saying goes… no pain, no gain. We are three minutes in – you can do this. Keep breathing and stay focused on your form and the reward of all the outcomes you anticipate. Not only will you be stronger, you will also feel sexier and more confident. Five minutes is a small investment in your future self.

Begin by placing your hands under your glutes with your palms facing down. Keep your legs as straight as possible. Now slowly raise your legs perpendicular to the floor. Hold the position for one beat before lowering your legs to the start position with deliberate control. Repeat for desired number of sets up to one minute.

Push-ups are hard! But oh so worth it, here is how to do one with correct form.
Start in plank position with hands placed just outside of your shoulders and palms flat on the floor. Pull in your abs by trying to bring your belly button toward your spine and slowly lower your body toward the floor. Your neck and spine should form a straight line. When your chest is about the distance of a fist away from the floor, slowly press back up to full plank position. Continue as long as you can maintain form, then rest and begin again as many times as you can for one minute.

Bicycle Crunch
You may remember this one from gym class.

To start, lie on your back, with your lower back pressed to the mat. Place your hands beside your head, touching the back of your ears. Do not hold your head or strain your neck. Lift your shoulders from the mat. Bring your knees up until they are at right angles from the floor, your lower legs should be raised, but parallel to the floor. Next, pedal as if riding a bike; push your right leg out while bringing your left leg toward you. Twist your torso so that your right elbow is touching your left knee. Repeat this movement alternating opposite knee to opposite elbow. Continue, with breaks as needed, for one minute.

Commit to this routine at least three times each week. Perform each exercise for one minute, or as long as you are able to hold proper form. It is okay to take rest breaks during and between exercises as you build stamina. Shorten, and eventually eliminate, rest breaks as your fitness level increases. Be careful not to overdo calories or fat and move more all day. Small movements such as taking the stairs, tapping your foot or standing when you take calls will help you burn more calories overall.