Beginner's Guide: A Guide to Working Out the Abdominal Muscles (Abs)
Do you struggle finding time to exercise? Well, you have come to the right place! Below, you will find out some easy – and quick – ways to work out your abdominal muscles with limited required equipment that you can do at home. These exercises are perfect for beginners and are guaranteed to work out all muscle groups that make up the core.
There are five major muscles that are in your core. There’s the rectus abdominis – your six-pack; the transversus abdominis – the muscles beneath your six-pack; and the multifidus – the back of your core along your spine. There are also the erector spinae – the muscles along the side of your spine, and both the internal and external obliques.
For those beginning to work out their abs, here are five exercises to start with: the crunch, plank, side plank, knee-to-elbow plank, and “bird dog.” Below, you’ll read about these workouts, how to do them, and helpful tips to make them more efficient.
EXERCISE #1 – THE CRUNCH
With over 5 variations, the crunch is a classic go-to for beginners. You don’t need any equipment and you can do as many as your body can endure. It’s a fantastic way to engage your core and improves your overall strength.
To start, lay on your back with your knees bent, feet planted, and arms crossed on your chest. Continue by raising your shoulders and the top half of your torso until you begin to feel a stretch in your abdominals. Finish by slowly lowering down to the floor.
EXERCISE #2 – THE PLANK
Being an all-time classic choice, the plank is a fantastic way to engage your core with minimal body movement. The goal of the plank is to hold the position for a set time without dropping your body.
Start by grabbing a mat and kneel at the back of it with your toes tucked in with your butt resting on the heels. Then, walk your hands to an all-fours position with your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. From there, lean forward and tilt your pelvis back slightly before lifting your knees to form a straight line with your body. Hold for about 15 seconds and then relax on the mat.
TIP: Make sure to keep your hips high and abdominal muscles engaged to get the best benefits of the plank exercise. Support yourself on your forearms and toes and keep your elbows beneath your shoulders the whole time. The most important thing to remember when doing a plank is to try and relax and breathe. But if you feel any kind of strain in your lower back, you want to relax and try again to keep your pelvis pulled in towards your belly button.
EXERCISE #3 – THE SIDE PLANK
The side plank allows you to raise and lower your hips while working your obliques, and it also helps improve your stability.
To start, lay down on one side with your forearm on the floor. Keep your elbows under the shoulders and extend both of your legs so your body forms a straight line. Then, engage your core by lifting your hips off the floor and hold for about 15 seconds. Lower back down to the floor, relax, and repeat the exercise on your other side.
TIP: Use your top arm to keep balance or you can place your hand on your obliques. If you find the exercise difficult, try bending and resting on your lower knee.
EXERCISE #4 – THE “BIRD DOG”
The bird dog exercise improves your stability and requires you to move opposite limbs at the same time.
Start on all fours with your wrists directly under the shoulders and knees under your hips. Extend one of your arms in front and keep it at shoulder height. At the same time, lift the opposite leg behind you at hip height. End the exercise by lowering your leg and arm down and repeat on the opposite sides.
TIP: Keep your shoulders and hips square to the floor as your arm and leg extends. Make sure your back is flat, the elbows are slightly bent, and your abs are engaged.
EXERCISE #5 – THE KNEE-TO-ELBOW PLANK
One of the key benefits that come with the knee-to-elbow plank is your abs work extra hard and your body will become more toned. Start out in a high plank position and lift one foot up off the floor. At the same time, drive that leg toward one elbow. Reverse this movement to return to your starting place and repeat on the other side.
TIP: Make sure to keep your hips level and your back flat as you complete this plank exercise.
Now that you have some beginner abdominal workouts, you can finally achieve your six-pack. You don’t need an expensive gym membership or a ton of equipment – in fact, all you need is confidence and motivation to practice these exercises regularly. Whether it’s the all-time classic plank or the unique bird dog, these ab routines are the perfect way to start reaching your goal.