Challenge Your Obliques With This 20-Minute Bodyweight Workout

Your core has many important functions, such as stabilizing your torso, maintaining the correct posture, and maintaining balance. Another important role? It helps you move around, both in sports (think about swinging a tennis racket) and in life (think of bending and turning to pick up your child for the million times today).

This week, the Sweetwood self- video, directed by Athletic Coach Liz Litchford, PhD, ATC and Coach Paul Wright, focuses on the main rotation. The 20 Minute Bodyweight Exercise is the second in a six-part series dedicated to helping you learn how to engage properly and ultimately strengthen your core. (If you missed the first part, go ahead and take a look here.)

As Letchford explains, the cover has two rotating functions. One is to allow the transmission of electricity from the hips to the shoulders. And the other is to walk by yourself. This 20 minute bodyweight exercise helps you train both functions with Russian twists, side accesses and twisted climbers. Your diagonals (the muscles around your torso) are the main stimuli for primary rotation, so you will really feel them touch the sky in this routine. It will also activate your transverse abdomen (the deep core muscles that wrap around your spine and sides), as well as your rectus abdominis.

If you are ready to take this process seriously and strengthen your core, grab a mat and follow the circuit style training video below. Or, if you like to train at your own pace, keep scrolling for detailed training instructions and GIFs of each movement.

Training Instructions

Start with a dynamic warm-up. Perform each exercise for 35 seconds, resting for 15 to 20 seconds between each movement.

So train. Do each exercise for 40 seconds, resting for 5 to 10 seconds between each movement. Repeat the circuit twice more, resting for 15 seconds between each round.

Bodyweight Workout

Dynamic warm-up

  • 35 seconds
  • Big hook x 35 seconds
  • Bow and arrow x 35 seconds


  • Russian twist x 40 seconds
  • Rotating mountain climber x 30 seconds
  • Penguin x 40 seconds
  • Lifting arms and legs x 40 seconds
  • Side panel (repeat on each side) x 40 seconds on each side.
  • Soap twist x 40 seconds

* Rest for 15 seconds. Repeat the circuit 2 more times.



  • Standing with your legs slightly wider.
  • Release your fists and place your hands in front of your body at chest height, bend your elbows and spread them to the sides.
  • By bending your elbows and keeping your right hand at chest height, move your left arm outwards and along your body to the right as you rotate your torso, so that your legs bend naturally. As you do this (do not bend your knees).
  • Bring your left arm back to chest height as you repeat the movement of the other side with your right hand.
  • Continue this alternate punching pattern, keeping your core busy at all times.

The Big Hook

  • Perform the same movement as described above, but straighten your elbows and find the full range of motion by exaggerating the movement, swinging your arms and turning your torso to turn your cover.

The bow and arrow

  • begin in a complex position with the feet hip-width apart and the left foot forward and the right foot backward. Bend your knees slightly and lift your right heel off the ground. Make sure your hips are forward.
  • Stretch your arms at chest height in front of your body. Fold your hands facing each other.
  • From here, slowly bend your right elbow and bring that arm to your chest, as if you were shooting a bow and arrow.
  • Reverse the movement. Then repeat on the other side.
  • Continue with this pattern alternately. Make sure your hips are always forward.
  • After completing all repetitions with the left foot, change position so that the right foot is forward and repeat.

Russian Bendbendbend

  • Sit up straight,your knees andyour feet so that your heels rest on the floor. Keep your back as flat as possible, keep your chest up and keep the cover busy.
  • Place your hands in fists at chest height.
  • Rotate your torso and arms to the left, lower your arms to your sides. (Your hands do not need to touch the ground.) Keep your legs and hips as close as possible and do not bend or circle your spine.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Continue with this pattern. Move as fast as you can, turn from side to side, keep in good shape.
  • Tighten it: Lift your feet off the ground, so that your shins are parallel to the ground.

Spinning Mountain Climber on

  • Start thea high plank, with your hands on the ground, your shoulders resting on your wrists, your legs extended, your legs flexed, and your core hooked.
  • Fold your core and bring your right knee to your left elbow as you rotate your torso to the left. Pause for a moment.
  • Return to the starting position and immediately bring the left knee to the right elbow and rotate the torso to the right. Pause for a moment.
  • Return your left leg to the starting position.
  • Continue with this pattern alternately. Make sure you keep your cover tight and your back flat at all times.
  • Make it easy: Mountain climbers (where you don’t turn around and just pull your knees to your chest). Or hold a high board.
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