June 15, 2020, by Amie Black

Inclusive workout series | Core and Flex

University of Nottingham Sport are proud to be a leading institution for inclusive sport in the higher education sector. We have a full-time Disability Sport Officer and a range of award-winning inclusive sport programmes.

As part of our new online Health and Wellbeing Home, the University of Nottingham Sport fitness team have put together a series of inclusive workouts and exercises aimed at all abilities.

In the third of our Inclusive workout series, join Sue as she runs through a core and flex session. This no-impact workout is designed to activate and strengthen the core, improve posture and mobility using a range of stabilizing exercises and stretches in a low to moderate intensity class.

There are eleven exercises in the main part of the workout. You can perform as many or as few as you feel able and Sue recommends resting for 30 – 40 seconds between sets. Take your time and try to control all movements focussing on using your abs and core.

Before you start just ensure you have something comfortable to lie on, like an exercise mat, and some space around you. You may also want to use a small weight, a bottle of water or a can of food is perfect. And do not forget to have water within easy reach to stay hydrated.

Do not forget to check out our huge range of online resources through the Health and Wellbeing Home. You can try weekly challenges, join a live class or watch a series back like this one.

Check out the core and flex exercises below or watch the whole series here – do not forget to follow the warm-up and cool-down exercises recommended before and after your workout!


The workout

  1. High plank – 15 seconds

The focus here is on your core.

Adopt the four-point kneeling positions, placing your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Engage your core and raise onto the toes into the full high plank.

Hold for 15 seconds before relaxing.

  1. High plank with leg extension – 30 seconds

The focus is on your core.

Start in a high plank position. Exhale and lift one leg off the floor and in line with your torso. Keep a neutral spine and engaged core to avoid arching your lower back. Inhale as your leg returns to the floor and repeat on alternate legs.

  1. Lumbar rotations – 5 on each side

Focus is on very controlled reps, engaging your core and breathing.

Lie flat on your back with arms away from your body. Bring your knees in towards your torso into a tabletop position and connect your inner thighs. Inhale to prepare, and exhale whilst sending your knees to one side, keeping your knees connects and in-line while legs are angled in a tabletop position.

Allow the lower back to come away from the floor, maintaining a neutral spine whilst rolling your head and neck to the opposite shoulder. Inhale to hold, exhaling as your head, neck and legs roll to return to the midline.

  1. Low double superman – 8 reps

Focus is on controlled reps, strengthening the lower back, abdominal and buttock muscles.

Lie on your front and lift your legs up behind your and your arms in front of you. Hold this position and then relax, making sure to control your breathing throughout.

  1. Superman – 8 reps on each side

Focus is on engaging the core and controlling breathing.

Start with your hands and knees on the floor with hands placed directly below your shoulders. Your back should remain natural and your core engaged. Extend 1 leg and the opposite arm simultaneously. Then, keeping both limbs straight and controlled, hold the pose for 3 seconds before inhaling as you relax back down on all fours and repeat on the opposite side.

  1. Dead-bugs – 8 reps on each side

Focus is on controlling the reps and breathing.

Lie on your back with your feet lifted and your knees bent to 90 degrees. Raise both arms so that they are directly above the shoulders. Straighten one leg and lower the opposite arm. Hold this position for 2 seconds and alternate.

  1. Knee tucks – 10 reps

Focus here is on strengthening the hip flexor, core and quadricep muscle group.

First, lie flat on your back and bend your knees towards your chest. Slowly straighten your legs and lower them to start the position.

  1. Low plank – hold for 20-30 seconds

This focus is on engaging the core.

Begin by lying on your front, resting on the elbows. Keep your elbows in line with your shoulders and lengthen the back of your neck. Glide your shoulder blades downwards as you rise onto your toes whilst maintaining a straight back.

  1. Mountain climbers – 8 reps on each leg

The focus is on strength-endurance and works the whole body.

Start in a press-up position. Bring one leg in so that your left knee is close to your left hand. Straight away return your leg to the starting position and repeat on the right side.

  1. Leg raises – 12 reps on each leg

The focus here is on stretching the hamstrings and using the lower abdominal muscles.

Begin by lying flat on your back and lift both legs up as far as feels comfortable, keeping them as straight as possible. Hold this position and then relax.

  1. Side plank – 20-30 seconds on each side

The focus here is on the abdominal and oblique muscles, but also contributes to spinal stability.

Start by lying on your side and forming a bridge between your feet and forearms, lifting your pelvis from the floor. Maintain this position for 20-30 seconds, engaging the core muscles.


For more inclusive workouts check out our inclusive series on our Facebook page.

To receive a personalised programme book in a 1-2-1 session with one of our fitness instructors. For more information read our blog post on how to book yourself a session.

Make sure you are following UoNSport on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too keep up-to-date with all things #GreenandGold.

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