Core Beginner Workout No Equipment – Introduction
Beginner Core Workout No Equipment for Home
When it comes to core training, a lot of people make the mistake of focusing all their efforts on the muscle at the front – the rectus abdominis (abs).
While this muscle is undeniably important, it’s not your only core muscle.
So, here is a beginner-friendly core workout that trains all your core muscles and not just your abs.
Best of all, it requires no equipment, so it’s perfect for home exercisers.
Beginner Core Workout No Equipment: Core Anatomy Basics
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of your core workout, let’s take a quick look at the muscles you’re going to be training.
That way, you can name the muscles you can feel working!
Located on the front of your abdomen, the rectus abdominis is a long, flat muscle that runs from your sternum and lower ribs to your pelvis.
It’s divided into sections by lines of ligamentous tissue, which give it a unique six-pack appearance.
However, you’ll have to get pretty lean to see those lines.
The functions of the rectus abdominis are flexion and lateral flexion of the spine and compression of the abdominal contents.
The obliques are your waist muscles.
They’re responsible for rotating and laterally flexing your spine.
There are two sets of obliques – internal and external – and both work together to control your movements.
Where the rectus abdominis runs vertically up the front of your abdomen, the transverse abdominis (TVA) runs horizontally around it.
Acting much like a corset or weightlifting belt, the TVA contracts inward to create intra-abdominal pressure, which supports and stabilizes your lumbar spine.
While you can’t see your TVA, you’ll feel it working during exercises where you need to “brace” to prevent your lower back from arching.
It’s easy to forget your erector spinae muscles as they are part of your back, so you can’t see them.
However, neglecting this part of your core could increase your risk of lower back pain or injury.
The erector spinae is a group of three muscles that runs up both sides of your spine, from your pelvis to the back of your skull.
Core Workout Beginner Exercises
- Cat cow
- Bird dog
- Side plank
- Dead bug
- Prone floor angels
Beginner Core Workout Exercise Instructions
Follow these step-by-step instructions to get the most from this workout while minimizing your risk of injury:
#1. Cat cow
Cat cow is a yoga pose that mobilizes your spine while gently engaging and turning on your anterior and posterior core muscles.
Think of this exercise as the transition between your warm-up and core workout.
However, you should actively engage your core muscles and feel them working despite the fact this is more of a mobility than a strength exercise.
- Kneel on all fours with your shoulders over you’re your hands and your hips over your knees.
- Contract your abs and pull your pelvis and shoulders closer together.
- Lift the center of your back up toward the ceiling.
- Next, lift your head and butt, lowering your midsection down toward the floor.
- Alternate between these two positions for the prescribed number of reps.
#2. Bird dog
The bird-dog is so-called because, when you do it, you look a little like a hunting dog pointing out fallen prey.
It’s a very functional deep core exercise that teaches you to stabilize your lumbar spine while moving your arms and legs.
- Kneel on all fours with your shoulders over you’re your hands and your hips over your knees.
- Brace your core.
- Lift your left arm and right leg, extending them out in front and behind you until they’re parallel to the floor.
- Return to the starting position and repeat with your right arm and left leg.
- Continue alternating sides for the duration of your set.
#3. Side plank
Side planks work your lateral core – the oblique muscles.
However, you should also feel it in your rectus abdominis, albeit one side at a time.
Side planks are a superb waist-tightening exercise, and all you need is a folded mat or foam pad to rest on to do them.
- Lie on your side and rest on your bent elbow and forearm.
- Your upper arm should be perpendicular to the floor.
- Lift your hips up so your legs and body are straight.
- Hold this position (but not your breath!) for the designated time.
- Lower your hips to the floor, roll over, and repeat on the opposite side.
- Make this exercise a little more challenging by lifting your uppermost leg up.
#4. Dead bug
This exercise is so-called because you look a little like a dying fly when you’re doing them.
Macabre names aside, this exercise is an excellent way to strengthen your rectus abdominis, especially the lower fibers.
- Lie on your back with your legs bent to 90 degrees and thighs vertical.
- Extend your arms up toward the ceiling.
- Press your lower back into the floor to engage your abs.
- Extend your left arm and right leg, lowering them to within an inch of the floor.
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite sides.
- Continue alternating arms and legs for the prescribed number of reps.
- Terminate your set if you cannot keep your lower back pressed to the floor.
#5. Prone floor angels
Prone floor angles target your posterior core muscles, i.e., your lower back.
Ignoring these muscles and focusing exclusively on the abs would leave your lower back weak and prone to injury.
As an added benefit, this exercise also works your upper back/postural muscles.
Sitting and standing in good posture makes you look instantly slimmer!
- Lie on your front with your arms by your sides, palms flat on the floor.
- Using the muscles of your lower back, lift your head and chest a few inches off the floor.
- Keeping your upper body raised, sweep your arms forward until your hands meet above your head.
- Sweep your arms back, lower your head and chest back to the floor, and repeat.
- Continue for the prescribed number of reps.
Beginner Core Workout No Equipment: Program Overview
Do the following beginner core workout 2-3 times per week on non-consecutive days.
But, before you begin, prepare your muscles and joints by doing 5-10 minutes of easy cardio, e.g., jogging or jumping rope, followed by mobility and flexibility exercises for your hips and lower back.
Ready? Then let’s begin!
|1||Cat cow||2||8-12||30-60 seconds|
|2||Bird dog||2-3 sets per side||12-20||60-90 seconds|
|3||Side plank||2-3||12-20||60-90 seconds|
|4||Dead bug||2-3||12-20||60-90 seconds|
|5||Prone floor angels||2-3||12-20||60-90 seconds|
Beginner Core Workout No Equipment: FAQs
#1. Can I do this workout every day?
You can, but you probably shouldn’t.
Your muscles take 48-72 hours to recover from training, and working them daily means they get less opportunity to develop and adapt to your workouts.
2-3 core workouts per week are more than enough for even the most advanced exercisers.
#2. Will this workout give me a six-pack?
Why such an evasive response?
While training your core will strengthen the underlying muscles, you may need to lose some body fat to see the results of your hard work.
Otherwise, your abs could remain hidden from view.
Combine this workout with a sensible, sustainable diet, and you may eventually see a six-pack emerging.
However, as six-packs are also the result of genetics, there are no guarantees.
#3. Can I do this workout even if I have a bad back?
The exercises in this workout were chosen because they’re so lower back-friendly.
As such, they are unlikely to cause low back pain.
That said, if you have a pre-existing back issue, they could make things worse, especially if your problems are caused by a weak core.
Whether you have back pain or not, you should always speak to your doctor before starting this or any other workout.
Depending on your medical needs, they may suggest a different approach for strengthening your core.
#4. Is this a good post-natal core workout?
Giving birth naturally or by caesarian section does a real number on your abs.
They’ll be stretched and may even separate, which is a condition called diastasis recti.
A C-section involves cutting through the lower abdominal wall.
Depending on how you gave birth, you’ll probably need to wait 8-12 weeks before you start training your core, and only after your doctor has said it’s okay to do so.
But, after a couple of weeks of basic abdominal re-education training, this workout will help you get your core back into shape.
However, take care to progress slowly and avoid doing too much too soon.
Your core will still be recovering from the trauma of childbirth.
#5. Can I just do core workouts to get in shape?
Your core is a relatively small selection of the 600+ muscles in your body. Trying to get in shape with a few core exercises is like trying to maintain good oral hygiene by cleaning only one tooth.
While this core workout will certainly help, you really need to include cardio and general strength training in your weekly schedule if you want to get in shape. Core training is usually supplemental to and not a replacement for a balanced workout program.
Beginner Core Workout No Equipment: Wrapping Up
When it comes to core training, many people try to do too much too soon.
Or, they focus on exercises like crunches and sit-ups in an attempt to strengthen their abs and get in shape.
Sadly, while such enthusiasm is to be applauded, it’s somewhat misplaced.
You need to:
- a) take it slow and easy and
- b) train all your core muscles and not just your abs if you want to look, feel, and perform at your best.
This simple beginner program is designed to get your core working correctly and from all angles – front, side, and back.
It teaches you how to stabilize your spine so that your core will be ready for more demanding exercises in the future.
Do this workout 2-3 times a week for the next 1-2 months, gradually doing more reps as you get stronger.
After that, you should be well and truly ready for a more challenging core training program.