Contact Us

The 5 Best Core Exercises For Beginners

Published January 18, 2019 (Revised: December 03, 2019)
Ben Kissam

Written By: Ben Kissam, BS

Ben has a B.S. in Movement and Sports Science and over 7 years Certified Personal Training Experience.

Fact-Checked By: Jenny Lau

core-exercises-for-beginners
<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context":"http://schema.org", "@type":"BlogPosting", "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "KC Clements, MS" }, "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Warrior Made", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.warriormade.com", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/12/core-exercises-for-beginners-thumbnail-0052.jpg" } }, "headline":"The 5 Best Core Exercises For Beginners", "datePublished":"2019-01-18", "dateModified": "2019-12-03", "description":"Learn five of the best at-home core exercises for beginners that you can do to build back and abdominal strength.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/12/core-exercises-for-beginners-thumbnail-0052.jpg" } </script> <script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is the best core exercise?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The short answer: It depends on your fitness level and your goals.<br>Every body is unique. We all have different body types, and therefore require slightly different paths to achieve our goals. <br>And because that's the case, some core exercises will work better for you than others.<br>Which core exercises are best for you depend on your personal fitness experience, goals, and current abilities.<br>Studies do show, however, that the best core exercises have a few things in common:<br>They promote core stability: Core stability, or one's ability to stabilize the trunk of our body, keeps the deep muscles surrounding your spine and pelvis strong. The stronger these muscles are, the more safely you can perform movements and prevent injuries.<br>They work several muscle groups at one time: Integrative, or compound exercises (movements that work several muscle groups instead of isolating one at a time) are more effective than isolation exercises for both core strength and stability, according to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.<br>They can be made more or less difficult based on needs: All effective exercises, including core exercises, should use the progressive overload principle. This means that movements get more challenging as your fitness increases. Small increases in weight, number of reps, or intensity help you keep getting stronger instead of plateauing." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "How can I strengthen my core at home?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Bodyweight movements and even seated core exercises can strengthen the muscles in your abs and lower back. You don't need fancy gym equipment, just floor space and the right exercises (see the next section for ideas).<br>A 2016 study by Sports Health deemed bodyweight exercises—ones where you lay on your back, on your stomach, or on your side—effective ways to train the core muscles." } }] } </script> <script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context":"http://schema.org", "@type":"VideoObject", "name": "4 Best core exercises for beginners", "description": "In this video you are going to learn 4 core exercises for beginners that will help you build core strength.", "thumbnailUrl": "https://i1.ytimg.com/vi/3XVGDYuPay4/hqdefault.jpg", "uploadDate": "2018-11-29", "duration": "PT10M49S", "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Warrior Made", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.warriormade.com", "width": "709", "height": "400" } }, "contentUrl": "https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=3XVGDYuPay4", "embedUrl": "https://youtu.be/3XVGDYuPay4", "interactionCount": "86252" } } } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">What Is The Best Core Exercise?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">How Can I Strengthen My Core At Home?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">The 5 Best Core Exercises For Beginners</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">Best Core Exercises: Wrap Up</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>A strong core makes you a healthier, stronger person<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4290805/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">1</a></sup>. The muscles in the middle of your body help protect your spine, transfer force from the lower body to the upper body, and help you maintain posture<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296944" rel="nofollow noreferrer">2</a></sup> <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3806175/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">3</a></sup>.</p> <p>But there's a ton of information out there about how to properly train your core. Quite frankly, it can be a bit overwhelming. If you're new to fitness training, you're probably wondering what the best core exercises for beginners are.</p> <p>In this short guide, we'll look at what makes a core exercise good for beginners, and 5 movements you can do right at home to build back and abdominal strength.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/core-exercises-0052.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/core-exercises-0052.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/core-exercises-0052.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/core-exercises-LR-0052.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="core-exercises"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section1"> <h2>What is the best core exercise?</h2> <p><i>The short answer</i>: It depends on your fitness level and your goals.</p> <p>Every body is unique. We all have different body types, and therefore require slightly different paths to achieve our goals.</p> <p>And because that's the case, some core exercises will work better for you than others.</p> <p>Which core exercises are best for you depend on your personal fitness experience, goals, and current abilities.</p> <p>Studies <i>do</i> show, however, that the best core exercises have a few things in common:</p> <ul> <li><strong>They promote core stability</strong>: Core stability, or one's ability to stabilize the trunk of our body, keeps the deep muscles surrounding your spine and pelvis strong. The stronger these muscles are, the more safely you can perform movements and prevent injuries.</li> <li><strong>They work several muscle groups at one time</strong>: Integrative, or compound exercises (movements that work several muscle groups instead of isolating one at a time) are more effective than isolation exercises for both core strength and stability, according to the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22580983" rel="nofollow noreferrer"><i>Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research</i></a>.</li> <li><strong>They can be made more or less difficult based on needs</strong>: All effective exercises, including core exercises, should use the progressive overload principle. This means that movements get more challenging as your fitness increases<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4215195/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">5</a></sup>. Small increases in weight, number of reps, or intensity help you keep getting stronger instead of plateauing.</li> </ul> <h3>What is a good core workout for beginners?</h3> <p>Performing 3 to 5 sets of 1:00 of any of the core exercises (abdominal bracing, planks, side planks, bicycles, or hip bridges) are all great workouts for beginners.</p> <p>If you're just getting into working out, focus on the modified versions of each movement, proper breathing and posture, and most of all, being consistent with your workouts.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section2"> <h2>How can I strengthen my core at home?</h2> <p>Bodyweight movements and even <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-better-way-to-do-core-exercises-from-a-chair" rel="noreferrer">seated core exercises</a> can strengthen the muscles in your abs and lower back. You don't need fancy gym equipment, just floor space and the right exercises (see the next section for ideas).</p> <p>A 2016 study by <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4922527/" rel="nofollow noreferrer"><i>Sports Health</i></a> deemed bodyweight exercises—ones where you lay on your back, on your stomach, or on your side—effective ways to train the core muscles.</p> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <iframe width="709" height="400" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3XVGDYuPay4" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> </div> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section3"> <h2>The 5 best core exercises for beginners</h2> <p>Use the 5 core exercises below, or check out <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XVGDYuPay4" rel="nofollow noreferrer">this video</a> on Warrior Made's YouTube channel.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/beginner-core-exercises-0052.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/beginner-core-exercises-0052.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/beginner-core-exercises-0052.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/beginner-core-exercises-LR-0052.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="beginner-core-exercises"> </picture> <h3>1. Abdominal bracing technique</h3> <p>Before you start practicing these exercises, practice this <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/abdominal-bracing" rel="noreferrer">abdominal bracing technique</a>. Bracing teaches you how to activate the deep core muscles. You might be surprised how challenging it is to do correctly!</p> <ul> <li>Start in a standing position.</li> <li>Take a deep breath in through your belly.</li> <li>After you inhale, brace your front and sides (abs, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/best-oblique-exercises-for-core-strength" rel="noreferrer">obliques</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/best-at-home-exercises-for-lower-back-pain" rel="noreferrer">lower back</a>)</li> <ul> <li>Feel your core. <i>Are the muscles in your midsection tight?</i></li> </ul> <li>Exhale, then try again.</li> </ul> <p>Practice holding this position by itself <i>and</i> during exercise, especially static ones like planks and side planks.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/plank-holds-exercises-0052.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/plank-holds-exercises-0052.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/plank-holds-exercises-0052.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/plank-holds-exercises-LR-0052.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="plank-holds-exercises"> </picture> <h3>2. Plank holds</h3> <p><strong>Targets</strong>: abs, lower back, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/5-exercises-for-hip-pain" rel="noreferrer">hip flexors</a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/plank-exercises-to-activate-your-core/" rel="noreferrer">Planks</a> are a functional exercise that forces your whole body to work together as a unit. They're perfect for beginners because they can easily be modified.</p> <p><strong>Level 1: Kneeling Plank</strong></p> <ul> <li>Kneel on the floor, resting on your forearms and knees.</li> <li>Bring your hips off the floor, keeping your body in one straight line—no sagging hips (squeeze your glutes to help with this).</li> <li>Hold for 60 seconds.</li> </ul> <p><i>*Another option is to practice planks at a 45-degree angle on a couch or counter.</i></p> <p><strong>Level 2: Regular plank</strong></p> <ul> <li>Lie on your stomach. Brace your abs.</li> <li>Place your elbows under your shoulders.</li> <li>Push your hips off the floor. Get your body into one straight line—no sagging of the hips. Your forearms and toes should be the only thing touching the ground.</li> <li>Hold for 60 seconds.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Workout you can try today</strong>: 5 sets of 1:00 plank holds. Rest 2 minutes between sets.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/side-planks-for-beginners-0052.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/side-planks-for-beginners-0052.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/side-planks-for-beginners-0052.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/side-planks-for-beginners-LR-0052.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="side-planks-for-beginners"> </picture> <h3>3. Side planks</h3> <p><strong>Targets</strong>: obliques, abs, lower back, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/latissimus-dorsi" rel="noreferrer">lats</a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-side-plank/" rel="noreferrer">Side planks</a> offer the same benefits as regular planks, but help strengthen the obliques (the muscles on the sides of your core). Strong obliques help you generate force and rotate your body<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16782246" rel="nofollow noreferrer">6</a></sup>.</p> <ul> <li>Laying on your side, extend your legs in one direction. Stack your left leg over your right leg.</li> <li>Place your hand on the floor next to your hips.</li> <li>Pushing your hand through the floor, raise your hips off the ground. Squeeze your glutes. Again, one straight line from your head to your toes.</li> <li>Hold for 60 seconds.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Workout you can try today</strong>: 5 sets of 1:00 plank holds per side. Rest 1 minute between sets.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/bicycles-core-exercise-0052.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/bicycles-core-exercise-0052.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/bicycles-core-exercise-0052.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/bicycles-core-exercise-LR-0052.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="bicycles-core-exercise"> </picture> <h3>4. Bicycles</h3> <p><strong>Targets</strong>: hip flexors, lower abs, quads</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-bicycles/" rel="noreferrer">Bicycles</a> get you moving</p> <p><strong>Level 1: From a chair</strong></p> <ul> <li>Sit tall in a chair. Find a comfortable position that allows you to breathe into your belly. Hold the sides of the chair for stability.</li> <li>Lift both legs off the ground, bending your knees.</li> <li>Mimic the motion of a bike—left leg, then right. </li> </ul> <p><strong>Level 2: On the floor</strong></p> <p>Repeat the same steps as above. Instead of gripping the chair, place your hands next to your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/glutes-101-best-exercises-for-your-gluteus-maximus/" rel="noreferrer">glutes</a>.</p> <p><strong>Workout you can try today</strong>: Do 20 seconds of bicycles, 10 seconds of rest. Complete 8 cycles.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hip-bridges-beginner-core-0052.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hip-bridges-beginner-core-0052.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hip-bridges-beginner-core-0052.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hip-bridges-beginner-core-LR-0052.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="hip-bridges-beginner-core"> </picture> <h3>5. Hip bridges</h3> <p><strong>Targets</strong>: glutes, abs, hamstrings, lower back</p> <p>Hip bridges work your core and posterior chain (the muscles on the back of your body that maintain posture and help you lift things).</p> <ul> <li>Lie down on your back with your knees bent, heels on the floor, and hands resting by your side.</li> <li>Brace your abs—see exercise #1 for guidelines on this.</li> <li>Pressing through your heels, lift your hips up off the floor. Squeeze your butt cheeks at the top.</li> <li>In a slow, controlled motion, bring your hips back to the floor.</li> <li>Repeat.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Workout you can try today</strong>: Hold for 30 seconds, rest for 15 seconds. Repeat 6 times. Your goal is to build up to holding a 1:00 hip bridge.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section4"> <h2>Best core exercises: wrap up</h2> <p>The best core exercises for beginners have a few things in common: they promote core stability, work several muscles at once, and can be progressed as you get stronger. The latter is particularly important, as small improvements ensure you don't plateau.</p> <p>As a beginner, try doing these exercises at least 2 to 3 times per week, and make small jumps as you go. The most important thing is being consistent with your routine. </p> <p>If you need more challenging core exercises, check out Warrior Made's <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZjFDJI4B4l16uujibduMFA" rel="nofollow noreferrer">YouTube channel</a> and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/" rel="noreferrer">exercise section</a> for more.</p> </section> </article>

Previous Post

Back to Exercise

Next Post