Not everyone can walk into a gym and expect to achieve some of the most grueling of workouts. Pushing yourself too hard may lead to a myriad of injuries. Before you put too much strain on muscles that you don’t use often, it’s best to start at the beginning. Strengthening your core through ab workouts is an important facet of exercise, and there are many ways you can do it.
What Are Some Excellent Ab Workouts for Beginniners?
Your abdomen supports a great deal of your daily activities. The stronger your core is, the easier many tasks will become. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite ab workouts to start your day.
- Lying Leg Raise
The lying leg raise is a simple exercise that focuses the workout on your abs and a bit on your hip flexors. Laying flat on the floor, you raise your legs in order to point to the ceiling. Don’t worry if you can’t life your legs that high. Start off by lifting them six to 12 inches off of the floor. Once you lower them back down, this is considered one repetition. Don’t expect to crack out a lot of reps with this exercise. My current best is 17 reps. Last night, I did two sets at 10 reps each and struggled with that last one. Start off with low numbers and work your way up according to your own abilities.
For the longest time, I refused to do a plank. I was hung-up on the fad a few years ago where people took pictures of themselves planking on various objects – which I thought was, for lack of a better word, asinine. However, the plank exercise proved to be an invaluable part of my routine. It works on the abs, lower back and shoulders. Essentially, you go into a push-up starting position except you rest your elbows on the floor. Hold your body straight above the floor for as long as possible. Start off with 30 second increments. It’s more difficult than it sounds, but it is a great when it comes to ab workouts.
What list of calisthenics would be complete without the traditional sit-up? I try to mix things up a bit and don’t do as many sit-ups as other exercises. Sit-ups focuses the majority of the effort on your abs and can be modified in a variety of ways. The hardest part is getting someone to sit on your feet. I find that a child works great, but often I stick my feet under the couch. If you feel your head pounding like your face is going to explode, you’re probably not breathing correctly.
- Air Bicycle
The air bicycle is an easy exercise to add to your beginning workout. Laying on the floor with your hands behind your head, bring your left knee up to your chest while lifting your body up to touch your knee with your right elbow. Straighten out the leg and bring your right knee up and touch your left elbow to it. Alternate back and forth as much as possible. It’s kind of like a crunch-lite that works out the abs, obliques and hip flexors.
- Scissor Kick
A scissor kick is another easy exercise that can be a staple until you develop greater levels of strength. Laying on your back, lift your left leg up. Now, simultaneously raise your right leg while lowering the left. Repeat this movement for as many reps as you feel comfortable with. This movement focuses effort on the abs while contributing to developing the obliques and hip flexors.
The most important thing to remember is to start off slow and work your way up. If something feels too easy, increase the reps. You’re not going to create a washboard stomach in a few days. Depending on your physique, it may take a while to see real results. However, you will feel the results as many activities become easier to do. After increasing my core workouts, I was able to sit straight up off of the floor without leverage – something I haven’t done since I was in high school.
Set goals for yourself, but don’t try to do too much. You need to realize your own limitations and work to achieve some of the more impressive numbers you’d love to see. Myself, I set my own record at 17 lying leg raises, but I do 10 reps during my regular routines. Eventually, I’ll increase the numbers once I know I can handle the increase. Take it in strides – strengthening your body is going to take time. Don’t expect to look like Captain America after one week of working out.