If you’re looking for gains, are cutting or in maintenance mode, your middle matters. In the midsection, or what is often called your core, you will find the abs, sides, pelvis, gluteals and back muscles. A strong core makes you more powerful and makes other activities easier. A weak core can affect your balance, lead to injury and affect the stability of your spine.

So how do you get a stronger core? Whether you’re looking for a gym in Melbourne, or personal training in London to help you build core strength, consider the 5 core workouts below. Incorporate them into your fitness regime to maximise your mobility and strengthen performance

Pilates. You’d know the name, but what does one do in a Pilates class? There are various reasons to do Pilates, from rehab through to elite athletic performance. But all Pilates styles share a common emphasis on core stability and mobility. Start with a few intro classes, but a one-on-one session will give you tailor-made exercises and muscular assessment. Expect abdominal bases exercises in all planes of movement and a focus on deep inner core muscles. You’ll also learn coordination of breathwork to optimise muscle activation.

Skating and skiing. The act of propelling your body forward while maintaining balance is great for your core. Whether your jam is snowboarding, skateboarding, skiing, rollerblading or ice skating, all these activities force you to stabilise and develop the postural muscles in your core. These workout outs are great cross-training and at a more leisurely pace are for great recovery days. Maximum fun.

Functional Workouts. Like Pilates, functional workouts are a broad category, but generally involve mimicking movements that you do in real life. Functional fitness might involve props like cables, boxes, weights and ropes. Or you may simply use your bodyweight and nothing else. Expect a focus on movement patterns and variations on whole body combinations using squats, pushing and pulling exercises. Intervals and circuits and popular formats for many functional fitness workouts, and best of all you can replicate these at home or when training solo.

Aerial Workouts. The sky is the limit when it comes to aerial fitness. Previously the domain of circus schools, many fitness studios and gyms are offering aerial programs. You can opt for gym-like TRX suspension training or calisthenics based programs (hello gymnastics rings). You’ll also get great results from apparatus specific training such as straps, tissue, lyra and pole. Core is key in these workouts, but you’ll enjoy a hardcore workout for your overhead strength and shoulders while you’re at it.

Boxing. There are heaps of styles to try such as Kickboxing, Muay Thai, regular boxing, cardio and fitness boxing. There’s also a bunch of hybrid styles from piloxing to boxilates. Whatever your vibe, through boxing you will develop a strong core to deliver powerful punches and agility as you duck and weave in your defensive moves. By constantly moving your centre of gravity, your balance and control improves through the midsection and is a great cardio workout.

When it comes to the core, it’s wise to start slow before you load it up to avoid overusing the outer rectus abdominals. As you develop awareness and control of the inner core muscles, you can then vary your workouts to keep your body guessing and introduce a greater variety of function to your midsection. The key to developing better core strength is regular activation in all planes and axes of movement. You don’t have to smash it out to get results, rather, focused practice with good technique is optimal to work it most effectively.