5 Core Workouts For A Tight Midsection — A Beginner’s Guide!

2. Mountain climbers — fast or slow

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3 sets, 12-15 reps (30-45 seconds rest)

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3 sets, 12 reps (30 seconds rest)

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3 sets, 12 reps (30 seconds rest)

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3 sets, 12-15 reps (45 seconds rest)

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Cable Crunch

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3 sets, 8-12 reps (30 seconds rest)

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3 sets, 12 reps (30 seconds rest)

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3 sets, 12-15 reps (30 seconds rest)

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3 sets, 8 reps (30 seconds rest)

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3 sets, 12-15 reps (30 seconds rest)

2

3 sets, 12-15 reps (30 seconds rest)

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3 sets, 12 reps (30 seconds rest)

4

3 sets, 12-15 reps (30 seconds rest)

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3 sets, 12-15 reps (30 seconds rest)

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3 sets, 8-12 reps (30-55 seconds rest)

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1 set, 8 reps (each side, 30 seconds rest)

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3 sets, 8-12 reps (30 seconds rest)

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3 sets, 8-12 reps (30-45 seconds rest)

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3 sets, 8 reps (30 seconds rest)

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3 sets, 12-15 reps (30 seconds rest)

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3 sets, 12 reps (30 seconds rest)

Woman Doing Mountain Climber Exercise

Mountain climber exercise | Aleksander Kaczmarek/iStock.com

Muscles it works: Shoulders, lats, legs, hips, lower abs

How to: Get into proper push-up position with shoulders over hands and no rounding through the back. Then, alternate pulling one knee in toward your chest at a time, holding that strong push-up position. The faster you go with this, the more of a challenge it will be, so start slow.

Begin face-down on the floor, propped up on your forearms, knees and feet together. With your elbows under your shoulders, lift your torso, legs and hips in a straight line from head to heels. Hold for 10 seconds. Raise your right leg a few inches.

Lower and repeat with your left leg.

3. Hollow body hold

Muscles it works: Back, lower abs, upper abs

How to: Lie on your back, keeping your lower back pressed into the ground during this entire movement. Extend your arms and legs out toward your center and hold the position for the full 30 seconds.

This move can certainly prove challenging, so you can make it easier by floating your legs higher off the ground or keeping your arms by your side instead of extended next to your ears. Beginners may also choose to bend the legs at first.

4. Sitting bicycle crunch

Muscles it works: Obliques, lower abs

How to: Sit on the ground with your knees in a light bend and chest up. Then, take your hands and place them behind your head without tugging on your neck, and lean back slightly. Twist to lift one knee so it meets your opposite elbow, and repeat on the other side.

To make this move harder, you can do a full bicycle crunch, which requires the same pathway while you’re lying on the ground.

5. Reverse crunch

young man doing reverse crunch

Man doing reverse crunches | iStock.com

Muscles it works: Lower abs

How to: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor to start. Keep your hands behind your head or next to your ears during the movement, and ensure your lower back is touching the ground at all times (keeping your head and neck lifted here will help that engagement).

6. Glute bridge

Muscles it works: Glutes, hips, lower back, hamstrings

How to: Begin by lying on your back with arms by your side, keeping knees bent and feet on the floor. By pressing down your feet and bracing through your core, lift your hips toward the ceiling. Slowly lower down and lift again without completely allowing your body to collapse.

7. Side to side crunch

Muscles it works: Obliques, upper abs

How to: Lie on your back, knees bent and on the floor. Push your lower back into the ground to engage your core through the move. To begin, lift your shoulders off the ground and bend at your sides to try and touch the outsides of your shoes. Rock back and forth at a quick pace to feel the movement in your obliques.

8. Plank leg raises

Muscles it works: Back, shoulders, hips, glutes

How to: Get into push-up position with hands right below the shoulders and legs extended. Make sure your back is creating a straight line, too (no arching here!). Then, keeping your core engaged, slowly lift the back leg up while keeping it straight to work the glute. Lower down and lift the other leg.

9. Russian twists

energetic woman doing abdominal exercise

Woman doing weighted Russian twists | iStock.com/jacoblund

Muscles it works: Obliques, upper abs, lower abs

How to: Sit on the ground with good posture and legs slightly bent, feet touching the floor. Take your arms out in front of you and lower back slightly to feel engaged in your abs. Then, twist your upper body slowly to the left and right.

Want to make this move more difficult? Try hovering your feet off the ground or lowering back even more. You can also try taking your arms overhead while you twist.

The 10 Best Abs Exercises for Beginners

Just because you’re new to working out (and your abdominals are hiding behind a layer of fat) doesn’t mean you need to be relegated to your middle-school regimen of situps and crunches.

For one thing, crunches aren’t really doing anything for your six-pack. Abs-only routines aren’t a great idea, either—you can’t just spot-train your way to glorious washboard abs.

So: If thousands of crunches aren’t the answer, then how the hell do you get a six-pack?

“For starters, sustaining a caloric deficit, training the whole body consistently with challenging intensities, eliminating booze, and sleeping more will have a bigger impact on the summer six-pack,” says Lucas Dunham, a performance specialist at EXOS. “Core exercises, however, can be catalysts for more frequent, intense training sessions.”

And when it comes to core exercises, it’s best to aim for compound exercises, which force your core to work in tandem with other large muscle groups.

The following 10 exercises are a mix of both abs-focused exercises (like the classic plank) and compound exercises that also work your abs (like the farmer’s carry). As long as you focus on engaging your abs throughout the move, you’ll feel that deep abdominal burn on your way to a concrete core. And once you become more experienced, you can put the finishing touches on your physique by focusing on the abdominal V, shredded obliques, and a carved serratus.

Here are the 10 best abs exercises for beginners.

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Rock-hard abs always need to start from somewhere and the Beginner Abs workout is as good a place as any. These are exercises designed to activate your abs (including the core) without putting undue stress in any of the supporting muscle structure. Perfect for beginners but also a great set of abs exercises for those wishing to maintain ab strength. 

Extra Credit: 1 minute rest between sets. 

Conclusion

There you have it: five core strengthening workouts. I like to work my core every 2-3 days. Try rotating these 5 workouts into your workout split. These workouts sure will help you get that strong muscular core you are looking for.

Remember quality over quantity with the core. Stick with the programs listed above and you will be just fine. As always if you have any questions don’t hesitate to drop me an email.

Intercostals

  • Location: Between the side of the rib cage. It comes into play when you flex the torso and twist from side to side.
  • Function: Elevation and depression of the ribs
  • Exercise: Air Bike

Oblique

  • Location: Side of the waist.
    • Internal Obliques
    • Transverse Obliques
    • External Obliques
  • Function: Tilt and twist the torso
  • Exercises: Side Bends and Decline Oblique Crunches

Rectus Abdominus

  • Location: Covers the area from sternum all the way down to the pelvis bone.
  • Function: Pulls the upper torso to the hips
  • Exercises: Crunch or Sit-up
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Rep Ranges

The core is made up of primarily fast-twitch muscle fibers. Fast-twitch muscle fibers are more dense than their counterparts (the slow-twitch muscle fibers. Hence, hard, heavy, and explosive bouts of exercise will stimulate fast-twitch fibers a lot more.

This means that core training should be in the moderate rep range for best growth. No more endless reps of crunches and sit-ups like you’ve done in the past. Focus on sets in the 8-15 rep range.

Now that you understand which muscles make up the core, their function, location and the rep range needed to stimulate them, let’s give you some workouts to help you get that strong muscular core.

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