Abdominal Workout for Beginners

Boost your butt, improve your balance, and prevent injury with these easy core-strengthening moves. This workout is based on moves from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

 1.     Single Leg Squat

 Targets: Abs, glutes, quads, and hamstrings:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, abs engaged, hands on hips
  • Lift right foot a few inches off floor
  • Squat on left leg, keeping knee behind toes
  • Stand back up
  • Do 12 reps, keeping right foot lifted the entire time
  • Switch sides; repeat

 2.     Beginner: Single Leg Balance/Reach

 Targets: Abs, glutes, and inner thighs:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, abs engaged, hands on hips
  • Lift right foot 12 inches off floor in front of you
  • Keeping left leg still, rotate right leg out to side, then twist torso to the right as you move your right leg diagonally behind you
  • Sweep leg back to front as you return to start. Do 10 reps, keeping foot lifted
  • Switch legs; repeat

 3.     Beginner: Standing Broad Jump

Targets: Abs, glutes, quads, and hamstrings

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, abs engaged
  • Lift arms out to shoulder height in front of you and squat, keeping knees behind toes
  • Use power through glutes and core to jump forward, landing with bent knees.
  • Stand up. Do 10 reps

 4.     Side Plank Variation

Targets: Rectus abdominis, obliques, and transversus abdominis

  • Start in full push-up position with feet together. Grab a yoga block with right hand and rotate body into side plank: shoulders and hips stacked, balancing on left palm and side of left foot
  • Extend right arm up. MAKE IT EASIER: stagger feet.
  • Bring right arm underneath rib cage. Raise arm.
  • Do 10 to 15 reps.
  • Switch sides and repeat. Do 2 to 3 sets

 5.     Wide-Legged Criss-Cross

Targets: rectus abdominis, obliques, transversus abdominis, and inner thighs

  • Lie face up on mat with hands behind head, elbows bent out to sides, and legs extended directly up, squeezing a single yoga block between thighs
  • Curl shoulders off floor and rotate torso to bring left elbow toward right
  • Return to center and repeat toward left
  • Do 2 to 3 sets of 20 reps, alternating sides

 6.     Balancing Act

Targets: rectus abdominis and transversus abdominis

  • Lie face up on mat and bend knees into chest to place a single yoga block atop soles of flexed feet; place arms on floor slightly out to sides and slowly extend legs straight up. MAKE IT EASIER: do not use block
  • Without rocking, slowly lift hips a few inches off mat and then lower them
  • Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 reps
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