The 20 minute workout: Tabata workout for core muscles

woman doing a plank

Want to get a short, sharp blast of fitness this weekend – without taking up too much time?

Tabata could be just the thing you need.

Tabata is a form of high-intensity training in which very short periods of hard work are alternated with shorter periods of rest, typically over a period of just four minutes.

The number of rounds you do it up to you, but aiming for five sets of four minutes is a good goal for a really challenging and effective workout.

This tabata workout has been designed by Anthony Mayatt, personal trainer and owner of Breathe Fitness, and focuses on strengthen and toning your core muscles.

You don’t need any special equipment, just a bit of space in your living room or in the gym, and a good helping of stamina and grit.

Core tabata workout to try at home

‘A tabata is only four minutes long,’ says Anthony, ‘so I am sure everyone can fit this into their day.

‘Do five rounds of this and you have yourself a 20-minute workout. This tabata focuses purely on core so time to get your abs burning.

‘Set up a tabata timer app on your phone (20 seconds exercise, 10 seconds rest for 8 rounds) and complete the following moves:

  • Bicycles
  • Side plank raises (right)
  • Side plank raises (left)
  • Scissors

Can you hit five rounds of this?

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Lay on your back with legs out straight and hands gently cupped behind your ears.

Pull your left knee in at the same time as crunching driving your right elbow towards that left knee.

As you return to the start swap sides and continue this movement for the set time.

Side plank raises

Lay on your side with elbow below shoulder and legs out straight.

Drive your hips upwards as high as possible, pause then slowly lower back to the floor and repeat.

Do this on one side for the set time then flip to the other side.


Lay on your back, arms by your side and legs stretched out in front. Keeping the legs straight, raise one leg vertically then as you lower it to the floor raise the opposite leg.

Continue alternating for the set time.

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