When people refer to “core stabilization,” this collection of exercises is exactly what they’re talking about. You can’t successfully perform any of these four moves without your midsection remaining solid and stable throughout every set. If you’re unstable, you’ll quickly learn why core strength is necessary and how it can help you reach your goals.

Get through the following workout, progressing from beginner to advanced with the suggestions mentioned below, and you’ll start developing a strong core.

The Workout

Perform all four exercises consecutively as a circuit, three times through.

Excercise Reps
Single-Arm Dumbbell Crunch 8-15 per side
Weighted Sit-Up on Bosu 8-10
Windshield Wiper 8-25 per side
Side V-Up 15-20 per side

Single-Arm Dumbbell Crunch

Lie on your back with your knees bent, holding a dumbbell over your face with your arm completely extended. Crunch up at the waist and try to raise the dumbbell several inches toward the ceiling.

Weighted Sit-Up on Bosu

Your level of expertise will dictate how much weight to use. Beginners should start out holding a 10-pound plate, while advanced trainees can try this move with a 45-pound plate.

Windshield Wiper

With your legs extended perpendicular to the floor, lower them down and to the side, a few feet left and right of center. Advanced trainees can try this move with five-pound ankle weights.

Side V-Up (Not Pictured)

Your range of motion with this exercise will be relatively small. Lie on your side and lift your legs and shoulder girdle off the floor. Hold for a second at the top.

Harry Selkow is a trainer at Re-Active Gym in Pleasanton, CA