“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.” – Joseph Pilates
The core is the centre of gravity and stability. It consists of the muscles of the abdomen, lower back, hips and pelvis. Strong core muscles help in a better workout experience and also in day-to-day activities.
The risk of injuries and pains while performing sports activities is reduced. The pain we get when we bend to pick up grocery bags, or the neck cramps we get while working for a long time can be reduced with good posture. And good posture can be achieved with good core strength.
One great way to strengthen your core is through these beginner ab workouts. Core muscles help tone your abs. So? Let’s get started. You can use a yoga mat for these exercises.
Beginner ab workouts to build a strong core
1. Single leg stretch
- For this exercise lie flat on your back on the ground. Bend your knees and your shins to be parallel to the ceiling. Inhale to prepare. Exhale and lift your head, neck and shoulders off the mat. Place your hands around your bent left leg and stretch your right leg straight out.
- Inhale and switch legs. Now your left leg is stretched out and your right leg is bent.
- In the beginning, you can stretch your leg at a higher position and gradually lower it towards the ground.
- If the above position is too tough then lie flat on your back and do the same thing. Make sure that your lower back is on the ground in this position always.
2. Double toe taps
- Lie flat on your back with your feet on the floor. Place your hands under the head.
- In the beginning, you can lift your right leg off the ground at a 90-degree angle. Hold this position. Bring your leg back to the starting position. Do the same exercise with your left leg.
- For double tab toes, lift both your legs at 90-degree angles.
- Your ribs should be on the ground and your lower back should be slightly curved. Inhale and then exhale as you bring your legs down. Your spine should remain in a neutral position.
- Bring your feet to the ground as you inhale. This is one rep. You can repeat this 12 – 15 times or according to your capability.
3. Oblique touch toe
- Lie flat on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet close to your body.
- Without curving your body touch your right hand to the side of your right foot. So, you are sliding a little to your side to let your hand touch your foot.
- Do not tuck your head into your neck but look straight ahead while doing the exercise.
- Alternate doing this with your right hand and then your left hand.
- Lie on your back. Bend your knees with your feet on the ground. Keep your hands to your side.
- Push your back to the ground to tighten your abdominal and buttocks muscles.
- Left your hips off the group to form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Pull your belly button towards your spine to squeeze your core.
- Hold this for 10-12 seconds. Return to your starting position and repeat this 10 times.
- Do not lift your hips too high or let them bend low. This will cause pain and won’t be good for your back.
5. Dead bug
- Lie on your back. Lift your hands in the air towards the ceiling. Keep your legs at 90-degree angles bent at the hips and knees. This is the first position.
- Now stretch your right hand backwards and your left leg straight ahead. Make sure your hand and leg don’t touch the ground. Hold this for 2-3 seconds. Come back to the first position.
- Now stretch your left hand backwards and your right leg straight ahead. Hold this for 2-3 seconds and return to the first position.
- Tighten your core while stretching your hand and leg out and release when you return to the first position.
- A simpler version of this exercise is by only alternately stretching your hands by keeping your legs at 90-degree angles. Or by stretching your legs while keeping your hands pointed towards the ceiling.
- Repeat this 10 to 12 times or according to your capacity.
- Lie flat on your back. Now form a V with your body by pushing your buttock muscles on the ground and lifting your torso and legs in the air.
- Stretch your hands forward to be parallel to the ground while your legs are pointed upwards. If you aren’t comfortable with this place your hands at your side to support yourself. Breathe comfortably.
- Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground to relax.
- Perform this exercise slowly and carefully and hold the position for a few seconds.
7. Front plank
- For this position, place your forearms on the ground and your elbows below your shoulders. Your shoulders, hips to your feet should form a straight line. Place your feet firmly on the ground.
- Tighten your core muscles and your glutes. Don’t lock your knees. Breathe slowly.
- Hold this position for as long as you can without compromising your posture or breath.
- Don’t arch your back too much or sag your hips. Look at the ground down and not ahead. Don’t tuck your chin in.
8. Weather vane
- Start by going on all fours, your hands and wrists right below your shoulders and keep your knees right below your hips. Your torso is parallel to the ground and you are looking at the ground.
- Stretch your right hand forward and move it towards the right as much as you can. Stretch your left leg backwards and move it to the left as much as you can. If it’s possible, do these both actions simultaneously.
- Bring your hand and leg down to the starting position and repeat the same process with your left hand and right leg.
- Don’t forget to breathe and repeat this 15 times on each side or according to your capacity.
- Lie flat on the ground. With your back firmly on the ground bend your knees and place your feet close to your body and apart.
- Place your thumbs behind your ears and support your head with your fingers.
- Tighten your core muscles and lift yourself off the ground. Through this whole process don’t lift your lower back at all.
- Hold this position for a few seconds. Exhale when you are going up and inhale when you are going down.
- Don’t lace your fingers or bring your elbows in. This won’t engage your core muscles and you won’t get the required result.
- Complete 10 reps and repeat the set twice. Don’t push or exert yourself if you feel pain.
You can add exercises and routines to the above-mentioned ab workouts for a well-rounded fitness experience. Take precautions while performing the workout if you have any injuries and health-related problems. Exercise every day to strengthen your core. Drink water and pay close attention to your diet. Stay fit, stay happy!