12 Core Exercises for Beginners (with sample core workout)

Beginner core workouts can be a great way for people new to training to ease into resistance training. These core exercises provided can be used to create your next beginner ab workout.

9 min read
Sean's profile
Written by
Sean Klein
Published on
Last updated
In This Resource
  • Why These Exercises?
  • Simplicity
  • Difficulty
  • Target All The Movement Patterns Of The Core
  • 3 Benefits Of Core Exercises For Beginners
  • 1. Improve Posture and Postural Muscles
  • 2. Maintaining Positions On Other Exercises
  • 3. Core Muscles Help In Our Day To Day Fitness
  • Sample Ab Workout For Beginners
  • Thoughts Behind This Beginner Core Workout
  • How Do You Strengthen A Weak Core?
  • What Are The Signs Of A Weak Core
  • How Do I Strengthen My Core For Beginners
  • Differentiating Between Beginners
  • Training Recommendation For Beginners
  • Are Core Muscles In The Back
  • More Core Strengthening Exercises

Core training should be built into any training regime that aims to improve health and wellness. Thankfully, there are many exercise variations suitable for beginners so you can take your time to develop your core musculature. Let’s look at 12 exercises you can use to start your core training today.

Why These Exercises?


These exercises will be very simple and easy to perform for beginners, which will allow beginners to create physical adaptions immediately rather than putting emphasis on technique.


A great deal of core exercises available on the internet will be too challenging for beginners. This can often create frustration or bad technique, resulting in inconsistent and ineffective training.

Target All The Movement Patterns Of The Core

These exercises cover all the bases of the movements that can be used to train the core. They include

  • Resisting rotation
  • Anterior Core
  • Resisting Lateral Flexion
  • Lumbar Stability
  • Rotation
  • 3 Benefits Of Core Exercises For Beginners

    1. Improve Posture and Postural Muscles

    Getting a stronger core can be an excellent way to improve your posture, the core is the musculature used to maintain good posture throughout the day.

    The core muscles play a critical role in how you hold your body in your daily life, this is know as your posture. Having weak core muscle will result in having poor posture which can lead to breathing mechanics and issues with both the cervical and lumbar spine .

    Poor posture can be a vicious cycle of weak and inefficient muscles that lead to even weaker and less efficient muscles, this can result in a lot of pain and fatigue if not addressed. This is why core training is so beneficial to beginners as it can dramatically improve posture.

    2. Maintaining Positions On Other Exercises

    Resistance training consists of many different movement patterns, these require a great deal of concentration and often core stability to maintain good positions. The core is such a large group of muscle that play a crucial role in almost all movements we produce, they allow the expression of strength in both the upper and lower body. Working on your core from the beginning will help you when learning other more complex movements like squatting and deadlifting.

    If we look at the squatting movement pattern when the weight is anterior to the body, the core is an essential part of these movements being performed effectively and safely.

    Both the Front Squat and the KB Front Rack Walking Lunge require huge amounts of lumbar stability to be performed with challenging loads. It is also crucial in movements patterns like the hinge. If beginners are able to develop this in conjunction with strengthening the key movement patterns with exercises that stress the core appropriately in a few months the core musculature can see huge increases in strength and stability. Core stability also allows the development of intra-abdominal pressure , which can be very useful later if beginners want to move into lifting heavier weights.

    3. Core Muscles Help In Our Day To Day Fitness

    We use our core musculature all the time, picking up something heavy whilst moving home, standing up out of a chair. Having a strong core will enable you to have a sense of ease throughout your day.

    Research has shown that core instability strength training, like the exercises proposed in this article, can improve trunk muscle strength, spinal mobility and dynamic balance, all of which are crucial to health and day to day life.

    Sample Ab Workout For Beginners

    Complete 3 rounds

    1. Bear Crawl Hold

    Hold for 30 seconds

    2. Half Kneeling Halo Rotation

    Complete 8 repetitions

    3. Side Plank Kneeling Leg Raise

    Complete 8 repetitions

    Thoughts Behind This Beginner Core Workout

    This sample beginner core workout includes a variety of core stability exercise that service the core muscles in their entirety rather than just putting emphasis on the ab muscles.

    The bear crawl hold works the entire body and is a great way for beginners to learn to take their bodyweight whilst progressing their anterior core muscles. The Half Kneeling Halo Rotation requires a resistance of rotation which will develop the core muscles in a very different way to the bear crawl hold. While the side plank kneeling leg raise will challenging both the obliques by holding the position and the muscles in the hip joint through lifting the leg.

    How Do You Strengthen A Weak Core?

    Strengthening a weak core follows the same principles as strengthening a strong core

  • Start with exercises of appropriate difficulty.
  • Apply consistent stress through training.
  • Make exercises more challenging over time.
  • What Are The Signs Of A Weak Core

    Some signs that indicate you might have a weak core musculature are different depending on which population or group we are discussing. Elderly people who struggle getting out of bed could be a sign of a weak core, whereas for an athlete who struggles to maintain good positions during strength training may also be considered to have a weak core in comparison to his or hers piers.

    How Do I Strengthen My Core For Beginners

    Core and ab training can be done as a stand alone training session or integrated into a full body resistance training regime. Both are great ways to build this style of training into your week. Above we have an example of a stand alone core session, these can be done 1-2 times a week.

    The most important thing beginners can do to improve their core is to get habituated at consistently doing the basics very well. If you’re able to learn all the movement patterns required to perform good technique in the gym, whilst simultaneously improving your core strength, then you’re on the right track.

    Remember this kind of endeavour takes a great deal of time, especially if you’ve been living a relatively sedentary lifestyle prior to training to strengthen your core. That’s not to say that it can’t be done, by using workouts for beginners and specifically beginner core workouts, everyone will be able to see progress in their core strength but the most important ingredient in any sort of progress of this kind is patience.

    The body can take a long time to adapt to the stimulus you present to it and the same is true for the abs, no matter how many sets you throw at it, it’s going to take time, remember that during your sessions you may find yourself getting frustrated wanting faster results - be patient.

    For true beginners core stability exercises are not even required to see great progress in the core musculature. You’ll be presenting the body with such a new stimulus that the basic movement patterns will also have a large impact on core strength and core stability, doing these movement patterns in conjunction with core training will be essential to your long term success with physical training.

    Differentiating Between Beginners

    If your just getting into exercises, but have a long sporting history, are still very active in your day to day life and have little to no movement issues, you may still be considered a beginner, but will be able to attempt more challenging exercises than the ones on this list.

    However if you’ve had a long period of inactivity, are overweight or obese you may need to start with the easier exercises to ensure you can complete them with good technique. This is an important distinction to make because although someone might consider themselves a beginner, and they may well be a beginner at these specific types of movement, they will still have the movement capabilities to try some intermediate exercises.

    Training Recommendation For Beginners

  • 1-2 Full Body Resistance Training Session per week
  • These should have core exercises integrated into them.

  • Long Hike x 1
  • This should be relative to your current fitness levels.

  • Medium to High Intensity Cardio Vascular Training x 1
  • Depends on current fitness levels. You shouldn’t be left on the floor after these efforts, but just develop an ability to deal with fatigue while you improve the cardiovascular system. This can easily be done at the end of a full body resistance training session.

  • High General Activity
  • Being active throughout the day, keeping a high step count.

  • Develop a healthy relationship with food.
  • This is by no means simple but a worthy goal for anyone trying to improve their health. Remember, getting “abs” or a “flat stomach” is much more about having a balanced and healthy nutrition plan than the type of exercises you use. Yes, doing exercise that will burn calories will help with your calories balance but you can’t outrun what you put in. A great deal of self reflection can be required to lift your nutrition to better levels.

    Are Core Muscles In The Back

    Yes. The erector spinae are a key component of the core and can easily be strengthened using core muscles. These muscles are a very important part of a health and fitness.

    More Core Strengthening Exercises

    If you enjoyed this resource you can find more below, or try Programme, a fitness app that plans every workout for you based on your progress, equipment and lifestyle. This resource was written by Sean Richard Klein. Sean has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.

    Sean Richard Klein

    Sean Klein's Signature

    Build Foundational Strength.
    Without The Planning.

    By learning from your training experience, past workouts and available equipment, Programme builds your most optimal workout plan that adapts to your progress.