Core exercises for beginners – the best way to get flat abs

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To have flat abs, you need to train all the layers of abdominal muscles, including the core stabilisers. These muscles work together to align the pelvis and stabilise the body. They are underneath the “6-pack” and when they are strong, the core muscles pull the abdominal area in flat. To get good results from core exercises, you need to understand how the core muscles act as stabilisers. Core exercises for beginners therefore need to start with the basics of finding the “neutral” pelvis position and keeping the pelvis stable.

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Neutral pelvis

The pelvis needs to be able to tilt forwards and backwards as we move, but bad postural habits can lead to it being in a forward or backward position at rest, instead of in the neutral position. In women, the forward position is very common, especially after pregnancy. If you do core exercises with a tilted pelvis, they won’t work the muscles they’re supposed to work.

Before doing these exercises, please read the general exercise safety guidelines here.

To find neutral pelvis

How to find neutral pelvis

Leg lowers 10 each leg

In this exercise, the core muscles must hold on to the neutral position, while you lower one leg at a time to the floor.

Find neutral as described above, then take both feet of the floor and hold the legs as shown:

leg lowers 1

Holding on to the neutral pelvis position, lower one leg to the floor. It’s important not to let the pelvis move – the core muscles will have to work to hold on to neutral. Bring the leg back up to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.

Leg lowers 2


“Table top” arm and leg lifts 5 x 3 seconds

The core muscles work in this one by keeping the back flat and keeping the whole body stable. If they aren’t engaged, your back will dip instead of being flat and you’ll wobble. The starting position is all-4 kneeling. Make sure your back isn’t arching – use a mirror or ask someone to check.

Ab hollows 1

Keeping the abdominal muscles pulled in, lift opposite arm and leg until they are parallel with the floor. Keep the back flat and the body steady. Hold for 3 seconds. Lower and repeat on the other side.

Arm and leg raises

Abdominal hollowing 5 x 5 second holds

Abdominal hollowing is just sucking the core muscles in. You can do it in any position – standing, sitting, lying, kneeling .. but doing it in the all-4s kneeling position is good because you are working directly against gravity.

Get into the all 4s position as above, then suck your tummy in as much as you can without your back moving. Hold for 5 seconds, release and repeat.

Ab hollows 2
Remember with core training, it’s important to keep making sure the abs are engaged and the spine is in the neutral position. If you don’t, the exercises won’t work and you could hurt your lower back.

Core exercises for beginners printables

Get a 6 week core program instant download from the Planner Shop.  This includes workout schedules and tracker for the 6 weeks, instruction booklet for all the exercises and a guide to how improving your posture will improve your core.

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Beginners Core Exercises: Core training should form part of any fitness program. When the core muscles are weak, posture is poor and there is unnecessary strain on the muscles and joints of the back. This can lead to chronic back pain or back injury. If you exercise with weak core muscles it increases the risk of pain and injury. This beginners core strengthening workout covers the basics| Free fitness printable included #coreworkout #coreexercises #freeprintable

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