Whether you’re getting back into fitness or you’re just starting training, developing a solid core will increase your stability and balance. You’ll be able to perform more advanced moves with confidence as you regain your strength and it will help build and stabilise more advanced exercises.

Maybe you aren’t in shape to get down and perform 50 crunches, but you’re not ignoring your core either. Every time you carry groceries, laundry, or even your everyday movements, you’re relying on your core. This is a foundation of strength!

By strengthening your core it will help keep your chest up and your spine strong, this can correlate to some back pain relief as well if you suffer from any back problems.

You don’t need to use fancy machines to target inner stomach muscles. Below are six easy-to-follow core exercises for beginners, which only require bodyweight.

Related article: Build Strength And Shape With The 14-Day Butt And Core Challenge

 

1. Bird-Dog Crunch:

Targets: Abs. Hamstrings. Glutes. Shoulders.

How to:

  • Start on the floor on all fours.
  • Hands placed directly underneath your shoulders.
  • Hips in line with your knees.
  • Lift your right hand and extend your arm straight out in front of you, keeping it shoulder height, while simultaneously lifting your left leg and extending it straight back.
  • Your whole body should be in a straight line from right fingertips to left toes.
  • Bring your left leg to touch your right elbow under your stomach.
  • Extend your leg and arm out again.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Do five reps on each side.

If you’re unable to maintain form, simplify this movement by forgoing the crunch:

  • Extend your arm and opposite leg out.
  • Hold for three seconds.
  • Switch sides.

Related article: 8 Powerful And Effective Yoga Poses For Perfectly Shaped Arms In 1 Workout

2. Standing Bicycle Crunches:

Targets: Obliques. Rotational muscles.

How to:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands placed behind your head.
  • Keep a tight core, straight back and relaxed shoulders.
  • Lift your right leg and simultaneously raise your right knee and lower your left elbow towards each other.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Do five reps on each side.

If rotating your upper body downwards is too difficult:

  • Lift your knee to your chest while keeping your upper body still.
  • Alternate legs.

Related article: 6 BodyWeight Butt Exercises to Sculpt Head Turning Glutes

3. Seated Leg Lifts:

Targets: Abs.  Hamstrings.

How to:

  • Sit on the floor, legs extended straight out in front of you.
  • Keeping your core engaged, lean back slightly, place your hands on either side of your glutes.
  • Take a deep breath and lift one leg six inches off the ground.
  • Hold for five seconds and then put it down.
  • Repeat with the other leg.
  • Continue alternating for one-minute straight.
  • Take a 20 second break.
  • Repeat for five rounds.

To make this exercise easier:

  • Lift one leg at a time without stopping to hold each one extended for five seconds.

Need more of a challenge?

  • After lifting a heel, bring your knee into your chest,
  • Extend your heel back out and lower down.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

Related article: Stability Ball Workout For Strong Core Abs & Legs

4. Sit-Ups:

Targets: Abs. Hip flexors depending on range of motion.

 

How to:

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent, heels touching the floor.
  • Hands on either side of your head.
  • Shoulders dropped and relaxed to avoid tension in the neck.
  • Keeping your feet on the ground, lay back until your back is flat on the floor.
  • Rise back up.
  • Continue for one-minute straight.
  • Take a 20 second break.
  • Repeat for five rounds.

Having trouble keeping your core and back engaged:

  • Slowly lower yourself as far as you can, and work up to lowering completely down to the floor.
  • There’s no need to go all the way back until you can maintain perfect form.

Related article: The 4 Minute Solid Abs Blast Workout For A Tighter Toned Tummy

5. Modified Bicycle Crunch:

Targets: Obliques. Rotational muscles.

How to:

  • Start in the same neutral position as the sit-up.
  • Sitting with knees bent, heels flat on the floor, hands on either side of your head.
  • Bring the right knee and left elbow towards one another, with a simple and gentle twist.
  • Return to the start position.
  • Complete the movement with the left knee and right elbow.
  • Continue for one-minute straight.
  • Then take a 20 second break.
  • Repeat for five rounds.

This is a major progression from the sit-up, so if this movement is tough for you, keep practising sit-ups.

Related article: The 30 Day Plank Challenge That Will Tone And Strengthen Your Core

6. Spider Plank Crunch:

Targets: Lower abs. Glutes.

How to:

  • Start in a push-up position.
  • Hands on the ground directly underneath your shoulders.
  • Legs extended backwards with your toes on the ground, so your body is in a straight line.
  • Lift your right leg and bring your knee towards the outside of your right elbow.
  • Return to plank position.
  • Repeat the movement with the other leg.
  • Do five reps with each leg.

If this is too challenging:

  • Simply hold a plank on your elbows or hands for 30 seconds at a time, for three rounds.