We get it: Core training can be intimidating because there are a bunch of core muscles and even more core exercises to work them out. The antidote ? A basic strength training for beginners with just four movements that will teach you to stimulate your abdomen with simple but effective exercises.
But first, let’s talk about what your very heart is. Your core includes your rectus abdominis, the muscles that run vertically along the front of your abdomen, but it also includes many other muscles, like your obliques (the muscles on the sides of your torso) and the transverse abdomen (the deepest core muscles below your obliques), as well as your glutes, pelvic floor, and the muscles that stabilize your spine and hips.
Now why is core strength even important? On the one hand, your heart helps transfer power from your lower half to your upper half and vice versa, NASM Certified Personal Trainer Alicia jamison, CPT, trainer at Fitness area in New York, says SELF. The stronger your core, the more power can be shared and the better moves you can perform.
Say, for example, you do a push-up. A strong core will transfer the power generated from your upper body pushing off the ground to your hips. As a result, your lower body will be in an ideal position, i.e. strong and raised, instead of sagging towards the floor. This means less energy drain and more efficient exercise.
Another important job of your heart is to provide a stable base for movement. Jamison gives the analogy of squatting on sand versus squatting on concrete. You’ll feel stronger and more stable while squatting in this latter scenario, and that’s the difference a strong core can make.
Your heart also plays a vital role in protecting your spine from injury, because your heart surrounds your spine “like a corset,” says Jamison. The stronger your abdominal muscles, the more protected your spine is, both during movement at the gym and with everyday tasks. Plus, a strong core just helps you move through everyday life efficiently and with ease, whether you’re walking to work, carrying groceries to your fifth floor without an elevator, or lifting a lift. squirming toddler.
Okay, so how do you go about engaging and ultimately strengthening those abdominal muscles? There are two main routes: through movement, or dynamic exercises, and anti-movement. In dynamic exercises, your heart engages as it moves, such as when tightening. With anti-movement exercises, your core commits to resist movement, like in a plank.
You can think of anti-movement exercises as your “basic core movements,” says Jamison. They are a great choice for beginners because they have a lower risk of injury than dynamic movements, says Jamison.
With that in mind, Jamison created the following 12 Minute Core Strength Training for Beginners. These are just four bodyweight movements, three of which are anti-movement and one (the Russian twist) which is a low-risk dynamic movement. Two of the movements – dead bug and leg lift – are performed on the back, which Jamison says is the safest position for doing basic work. This position can also help beginners engage their midsection more easily, as the ground can serve as a useful benchmark – you know your core is engaged if your lower back stays sunk into the ground.
Do you feel ready to seriously set your heart on fire? Keep scrolling for everything you need to know about safe and effective core strength training for beginners.
What do you need: An exercise mat for more comfort.
- Dead bug
- Hip dip on the forearm side plank
- Leg lift
- russian twist
- Do each exercise for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. Do the entire circuit three times in total. Try not to take extra rest between turns. (Of course, if you feel your form starting to wane, you should rest as needed.)