Ab Exercises: A Guide for Beginners

For those who hate spending time in the gym, we’ve got some good news for you. If you want to focus on tightening your tummy, it doesn’t need to take up a massive chunk of your day. Yet the downside is that there are so many ab exercises it can be challenging to know where to begin. Let’s focus on a few that are the most important — so, grab a mat and let’s get started!

Let’s focus on a combination of simple yet effective exercises that improve your midsection’s function and appearance. To get you started, we put together a list of five trainer-approved beginner core workouts. 

Just remember: Completing hundreds of sit-ups and crunches each day is not the best way to get abs or develop a strong core. Your abs are a muscle – they need rest to get stronger and grow. Taking time in between exercises is the best way to make sure you see results. Let’s begin:

Sit-Up Crunches

Sit-ups and crunches are classic methods for working out your abs. You probably remember these from middle school gym class. They’re pretty simple and a great way to work your core and hip flexors. As a beginner, shoot for 20-30 reps.  

Side-Lying Crunch

Now, let’s focus on those obliques (or what’s known as “love handles”).  

Begin by lying on your right side with legs stacked on top of one another and knees bent. Keep your elbows broad and your chin slightly tilted down; lift your head, neck, and shoulder blades away from the floor as high as you can. Bend your elbows with your hands supporting the weight of your head. Aim for 12-15 reps on each side. 

Heel Tap

Lie faceup with your arms to your sides and hands against the floor.

Bend your knees, keeping your calves parallel to the floor, and then slowly lower your flexed feet forward until your heels barely touch the floor. You will feel this! Now squeeze your abs to help raise your feet back up to the starting position. Whew! Continue to repeat for 30 seconds.

Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are one of the more challenging exercises for the muscle group. The dynamic movement tends to need more energy than some other exercises, but on the plus side, it’s a good calorie burner, too.

Get into a push-up-like position and bring the knees up as close to the elbow as you realistically can, one leg at a time. Keep going at the speed you can handle, and you’ll get a good hit on your abs. To get a good feel on form, watch this YouTube video.

Russian Twists

These ab exercises are a tried and tested success. Lying flat on your back with shoulders off the floor, twist 90 degrees to the left, return to the start, and twist 90 degrees to the right. The twisting motion and holding yourself above the floor will cause drastic contractions and help build those abs, but there’s more to it than just up and down, and your obliques will help you out a lot.


Did these ab exercises help you? Was there something that I missed that works for you? I’d love to hear from you at hello@heartandsoulblog.com. If you’re looking for more great ab exercises, I suggest you check out a 5-Minute Exercise to Strengthen Your Core. Also, be sure to subscribe to the Heart & Soul Newsletter to receive more great content straight to your inbox each Friday.  

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