Beginner Abs and Back Workout - Simple Moves to Strengthen Your Core

The following exercises are perfect for targeting the abs and lower back for those of you working on building a strong, fit core.  You'll start with standing ab moves and move your way to the floor for a variety of exercises that will hit every muscle in your abs.

Precautions

See your doctor if you have any problems or medical issues.

Equipment

A medicine ball or a light weight

How To

  • Warm up with some light cardio before this workout
  • Perform each exercise for at least 1 set of 10-16 reps.
  • Do each exercise slowly and focus on good form for each rep
  • If you have lower back problems during some of the crunches, put a rolled up towel under your lower back for more support
  • Skip any move that hurts

1
Med Ball Woodchop

Medicine Ball Diagonal Woodchop
Ben Goldstein

With feet wide, hold a medicine ball (mine is 6 lbs) and squat, sending the hips behind you while you swing the ball down and to outside of the left hip.  Push into the heels to stand up and swing the ball up and overhead at a diagonal, so the the ball is over the right shoulder.

Repeat for 16 reps before switching sides. More »

2
Med Ball Side Bend

side bend with med ball
Ben Goldstein

With feet shoulder distance apart, hold a med ball straight up overhead, arms as straight as you can make them.  Keeping the hips square and straight, lean to the right as far as you comfortably can, squeezing your waist.  Come back to center and got to the other side, keeping the move slow and controlled.

Repeat for 16 total reps. More »

3
Modified Plank

Plank
Ben Goldstein

Begin by placing elbows on the floor and resting body on the knees. Pull the abs tight to hold your body in a straight line from head to knees without sagging in the middle, eyes looking naturally forward. Hold this position for as long as you can, relax and repeat 3 or more times.

If a modified plank is too easy, consider swapping out for a full plank. 

4
Side Plank Hip Lifts

hip lifts
Ben Goldstein

Sit, resting on the left forearm and the left hip, knees bent and hips, knees and ankles stacked.  You can put the right hand on the floor for leverage or on the hip (harder).  Press into the forearm and squeeze the obliques to lift the hips off the mat (knees stay on the floor).  Hold briefly and lower, just touching the mat before lifting the hips again. Repeat for 16 reps on each side.

For a more challenging pose, you can lift your knees off the floor, as pictured. Your arm can be extended or placed on your hips. More »

5
Bird Dog

superhuman core
Ben Goldstein

Begin on hands and knees with the back straight and the abs pulled in.

Lift the right arm up until it is level with the body and parallel to the floor.  At the same time, lift the left leg up and straighten it until it is also parallel to the floor.

Repeat on the other side, alternating sides for 16 reps. More »

6
Crunch with Heel Push

Crunch with a Heel Push
Ben Goldstein

Lie on your back with the knees bent and the hands gently cradling the head.  Keep the feet flexed as you contract the abs, lifting the shoulder blades off the floor.   At the top of the crunch, press your heels into the floor while pressing your back against the mat and slightly raising the glutes off the floor.

Lower and repeat for 16 reps.

Gently cradle your head and avoid pulling on your neck. More »

7
Reverse Crunch

Reverse Crunch
Ben Goldstein

Lie on the floor and place hands on the floor or behind the head and bring the knees in towards the chest until they're bent to 90 degrees.  Contract the abs to curl the hips off the floor, reaching the legs up towards the ceiling.

Repeat for 16 reps.

It's a very small movement, so try to use your abs to lift your hips rather than swinging your legs and creating momentum. More »

8
Bridge

Bridge
Paige Waehner

With the knees bent and arms resting on the floor, gently press the hips up until they are level with the knees.  Keep the neck relaxed and briefly hold that position.  Lower back down slowly and repeat for 10 reps. More »

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