For this workout series, I will be using Dr. Abigail Ellsworth’s book of core exercises, Core Training Anatomy. A physical therapist and pilates specialist, Dr. Ellsworth provides fitness enthusiasts with a solid understanding of the core muscles, allowing us to make the most of our workout.

Our daily movements are dependent on our core, which is divided into major and minor muscles. The major core muscles include our belly area, and our mid and lower back. The minor muscles provide support for the major muscles during certain activities that may require more stability.

It is extremely important to develop a strong core, for it helps with our posture, the alignment of our bones, and it helps us stand or walk for a long period of time without fatigue. It is vital that we work out all of the different core muscles to create a balance in our body.

This daily workout touches on all of the major core muscles in just 30 minutes. All exercises in this series are knee and wrist-pain friendly! If you have neck or back pain, this isn’t the workout for you. Please consult a medical expert before performing this workout.

[If you have any health concerns, please consult your doctor or physician before performing any exercise posted on this blog. Lil’ Fit Birdie is concerned for your health, but is not responsible for any injuries. Happy workout!]

Things you will need: 

  • Mat (your carpet floor will work just fine)
  • Water
  • Music
  • A fierce attitude

For an extra challenge, you may want to wear weight anklets like these:

Grab your mat and water bottle, and let’s begin!

To avoid injury, let’s stretch the muscles we’ll be exercising.



Music: Just Breathe by Anna Nalick


1.     Neck Flexion/Side Bend

  • Gently pull your head down so you chin touches your chest.
  • Hold for 15 seconds.
  • Pull your head toward one side gently.
  • Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side.


2.     Shoulder/Triceps Stretch

  • Extend right elbow to left side. With your left hand, pull the arm into your chest. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times on each arm.
  • Raise your right arm and bend it behind your head. Pull your right elbow back with your left hand. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times on each arm.


3.     Latissimus Dorsi Stretch

  • Weave your fingers together and lift your arms above your head, palms turned upward. Make a circular pattern, moving as slowly as possible. Make 3 circles in each direction.


4.     Quadriceps Stretch

  • Lift your right foot toward your buttocks. Using your right hand, pull the foot in while pressing out with the left leg.
  • Hold for 15 seconds on each leg.


5.     Hip Stretch

  • While seated, extend your left foot and cross your bent right knee over to your left, with the foot flat on the floor. Wrap your left arm around the bent knee.
  • Keeping your back straight, turn your torso toward the right.
  • Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times on each side.


6.     Spine Stretch

  • With your back flat on your mat, bring your right leg toward your left, placing the knee down as far as you can.
  • Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side.


Now we’re ready to begin our workout! Dr. Ellsworth provides exercises for core stability and core strength. Core stability exercises do not involve movement of the spine. She writes, “When strengthening the core stability, you are essentially trying to improve the strength and endurance of the core, as well as gain the muscle control required to perform each exercise correctly.”

Take a drink of water—it’s not going to be easy!


Core Stability

Music: A Little Bit More Us by Stereo Skyline


1.     Spine Twist

[Back flexibility]

  • Sit tall with your legs extended. Lift your arms up to create a parallel line with the floor. Twist slowly from your waist to the left and right. Work on maintaining the perfect line with your arms.
  • Repeat 10 times in each direction.


2.     Single-Leg Circles

[Pelvic stability]

  • Lying on your back, lift one leg up and make large circles. Make sure your back is not arched; use your abs to push your spine to your mat.
  • Switch directions.
  • Repeat full circles 8 times on each leg.


3.     Double-Leg Ab Presses

[Total body]

  • Lie on your back with your legs bent 90°. Place your hands on your knees.
  • Keep your legs flexed.
  • Crunch up, pressing your hands against your knees while pushing your knees into your hands.
  • Hold for one minute. Repeat 5 times.


Water Break! Here’s where the sweat comes in!


Core Strength

Music: God’s Not Dead (Like a Lion) by Newsboys

1.     Lemon Squeezer


  • Lay down on your mat. Lift your upper body, coming up to a sit-up position, while bringing your knees towards your chest. Extend your arms forward.
  • Slowly open up, returning to your starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of 10. (Take about 2 minutes between each set.)


2.     Side-Lift Bend

[Obliques, abdominals]

  • Lie on your left side with your head rested on your left arm, and lay the right hand flat on your thighs.
  • Tightening your abs, lift both legs off the floor while performing a side-ways crunch.
  • Repeat 10 times on each side.


3.     Abdominal Hip Lift

[Abdominals, Triceps]

  • Lie down with your legs straight up in the air, crossing your ankles. Keep your arms flat on your mat.
  • Lift your hips upward while tightening your buttocks muscles.
  • Lower your hips.
  • Repeat 10 times. Cross your legs the opposite way and repeat.



Repeat the stretches in reverse order.


End of Day 1. Congratulation! You’ve made it!




Some of these photos are courtesy of Core Training Anatomy by Dr. Abigail Ellsworth, published by Thunder Bay Press and used with permission.



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