If you’re starting out on your journey of strengthening your abs, these core exercises for beginners are for you. Click here to start transforming your body!
Do you want tight, toned abs? Do you want to feel stronger and more stable when performing any type of movement?
If you answered yes to either question, then it’s important to make strengthening your core a priority. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry.
Explained below are seven of the best core exercises for beginners.
What is Your Core?
When most people think of their core, they think only of their abdominal muscles and getting six-pack abs. Your abdominals are certainly a major part of your core, but there are many more muscles that you also need to be aware of.
Your core extends from the sternum to the lower back and consists of the following muscles:
- Rectus abdominis: The “six-pack” muscles that are responsible for flexing and rotating your torso
- External and internal obliques: Responsible for stabilizing the spine and allowing the torso to flex and rotate to the side
- Transversus abdominis: Important for stabilization
- Multifidus: Important for spinal stabilization, rotation, and flexion
- Quadratus lumborum: Responsible for twisting and bending the spine in relation to the pelvis
- Lumbar erector spinae: Allow the spine to twist, bend, and extend
As you can see, your core is pretty complex. And, if you want a truly strong core, you’ll need to work on strengthening all of these muscles.
Benefits of Strengthening Your Core
It’s important to note that strengthening your core isn’t just about having a flat stomach.
Besides mere aesthetics, there are many other benefits of having a strong core, including the following:
- Improved ability to perform daily acts (picking up a package, putting on your shoes, etc.) with ease
- Easier time with on-the-job tasks like lifting, sitting, standing, and twisting
- Reduced lower back pain
- Better sports and gym performance
- Easier time performing basic housework
- Better balance and stability when you’re walking and standing
- Better posture
If you want to experience all these benefits and look great, make core strengthening a regular part of your routine.
Best Core Exercises for Beginners
At this point, you’re probably wondering what you can do to start strengthening your core. Some of the best core exercises for beginners are listed below.
Planks are one of the best exercises for strengthening your core. This is because they target all the core muscles, not just the rectus abdominis.
To do a plank properly, start by kneeling on all fours. Then, lower yourself so that you’re propped up on your elbows. Clasp your hands together or keep your palms flat on the floor.
Walk your feet back behind you so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels. Make sure your abdominals are pulled in to support your lower back — don’t let your stomach sag down.
Squeeze everything in toward the middle of your body and take long, deep breaths. Hold for 30 seconds, then return to the beginning position. Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat.
Do 3-4 sets total.
2. Dead Bugs
This is another great exercise that targets all the muscles of the core. It’s especially good for people who struggle with lower back pain.
To do dead bugs properly, lie flat on your back. Bend your knees and lift your feet so your legs form 90-degree angles. Raise your arms up toward the ceiling.
Once you’re in this position, pull your stomach in so that your lower back touches the floor.
Then, exhale and lower one leg until your heel touches the floor. Inhale as you pull it back in and exhale as you switch legs.
Do four reps on each side and complete 2-3 total sets.
3. Bear Crawls
This might not seem like a core exercise at first, but it’s very effective for improving your balance and stability.
Start by kneeling on all fours with your shoulders right over the wrists and your knees right under the hips. Lift your knees about two inches off the ground, taking care to make sure you’re not lifting your hips.
Look in front of you and start to crawl forward. Use opposite arms and legs — step forward with your right hand and left knee, then bring the left hand and right knee forward. Make sure your knees don’t touch the ground.
Crawl forward for 30 seconds, then turn around and crawl back. Repeat for 3-5 total sets.
4. Mountain Climbers
Many people rush through mountain climbers because they want to increase their heart rate, but there are also benefits to slowing them down and really making sure your core muscles are engaged.
Mountain climbers are an especially good exercise for people who do a lot of running, jumping, or weightlifting.
To do them properly, start in a plank position. Then, slowly pull one of your knees in toward your chest while keeping your hips and torso lifted. Return that leg back to the plank position and bring the opposite one in.
Move slowly and with control — try to take three seconds to bring the leg in and three to extend it back out.
Do five reps on each side, then rest. Complete three total sets.
5. Farmer’s Carries
This is another deceptively simple exercise. It also translates well to movements you do outside the gym, like carrying groceries.
To do farmer’s carries properly, you’ll need two pieces of gym equipment, such as dumbbells or kettlebells.
Pick up your equipment of choice, then walk slowly while holding them at your sides. Make sure you’re not rushing, shrugging your shoulders, or leaning forward. Walk for 30 seconds, then pause for a minute or so and repeat.
You can also do this exercise while holding just one dumbbell or kettlebell at a time.
6. Reverse Crunches
Reverse crunches are great for people who sit for extended periods of time or have lower back pain.
To do them, lie flat on your back with your arms behind your head. Grab onto a stable surface, like a bench or the bottom your sofa to stabilize yourself. Then, bend your knees and plant your feet flat on the floor.
Press your lower back into the floor (like you did with the dead bugs) and lift your knees, pulling them in toward your chest as you exhale. Continue bringing your knees in until your pelvis comes off the floor. Then, as you inhale, slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position.
Do 6-8 repetitions, then rest for 30-60 seconds. Repeat for three total sets.
7. Hanging Knee Raises
This is another great exercise for improving posture.
Start by hanging from a pull-up bar with an overhand grip. Bring your knees together, then slowly curl them up as you exhale. Inhale and lower them back down, keeping your abs engaged so the movement is slow and controlled.
Perform 1-2 sets with 5-6 repetitions in each set.
Looking for More Workout Tips?
You’ve now got a list of some of the best core exercises for beginners, but what about working out other muscle groups?
If you’re looking for more fitness advice and workout recommendations, be sure to check out the fitness section of our site today.
We also have lots of diet and weight loss advice available if you need help getting started or speeding up your weight loss journey.