How to Build Core Strength From Nothing: The Beginners Guide

How to Build Core Strength From Nothing

How to build core strength from nothing. The million-dollar question thousand of people all over the world google every month.

So, do I have a simple answer?

No.

But do I have a handful of actionable tips and exercises that will help you along the way?

Yes!

Read on and find out how YOU can start building core strength TODAY!

How to Build Core Strength From Nothing: Ten Beginner Exercises for Strong Core and Abs

Really! To do these exercises you neither need a sit-up bench or ab roller – only will power and your bodyweight.

Now:

To strengthen your abs and core muscles, working with the correct exercises is essential! To avoid back pain and secure you get the most from the exercises, you should focus on your technique – making sure you always keep good form throughout the whole movements.

Now, here are the core exercises:

Table Pose with Lifted Knees (Bear Crawl Position)

Did you know that one of the easiest ways to introduce yourself to core work is through basic yoga positions?

You don’t have to get into the flow to find benefits from the practice. Incorporating core-strengthening yoga poses into my daily workout routine is one of the best things I ever did for my body!

A lot of people swear to the bird dog while doing yoga poses for their core. But like the bird dog, the table pose also will have a significate impact on your abs and core:

To get into table pose, get on all fours. Your hands should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your knees should be hip-width apart. Curl your toes under your feet. Pull your belly button in towards your spine while keeping your back flat (like a table!). Then, lift your knees about an inch or two off the ground. Start counting.

Take note of when your abs start screaming and your body starts shaking. Then add about 5 to 15 seconds to that number. This should be your time goal for a single set of this exercise.

You can do it!

Over time, it will get easier.

This pose is also known as the bear crawl position. If you want to turn up the heat, try the panther shoulder tap by slowing tapping one shoulder at a time with your opposite hand. If you try this, make sure you maintain control when putting pressure back onto your hands and wrists.

Plank Variations

Be honest, at the sight of the word “plank” you might be thinking, I’ll just skip this one.

Look, planks are one of the best core exercises you can do—and it might help you to know that there’s more than one way to do them.

To get into a plank position, you can start on all fours. Extend your legs back, putting your weight on your toes. Your feet should be hip-width apart. Your hands should fall directly beneath your shoulders. To get the most out of this pose, good form and alignment are essential.

Similar to table pose, you’ll want to pull that belly up and in. Pull your shoulder blades back and down. Imagine your spine as a string being pulled taught from your toes to the crown of your skull. If you’re not feeling the burn, your butt might be too high up.

Lower your hips until you feel your abs activate.

Then hold…………………………………………………….. Yeah, I know – it burns like crazy!

If you’re the kind of person that gets bored during exercise, these variations are for you:

Instead of using your hands to support your weight, lower down onto your elbows keeping a 90 degrees angle between your under and overarm (stay aligned!). You can hold here or alternate. This is also a good move for those who experience wrist pain. You can also lower down onto your knees instead of your toes.

Whatever position you find, you can work in some gentle movement to activate your mind with your body. Rock back and forth. Pull that booty up and down. Do some controlled push-ups. Stay active and engaged.

Core Strengthening Plank Version
Portrait of a muscular man doing bosu ball exercises

Hip Dips

Hip dips are a killer exercise that works your obliques, which you can think of as your side abs. The first time you try this you might be thinking, “my god, THIS is a beginner exercise?” And the answer is yes. This is one of the easier core workouts. If it’s too much, start with a few reps and frequent short breaks.

Your starting position will be in a plank position on your hands and feet—with that beautiful form you now have in your toolbox. Then, in a slow and controlled motion, turn your feet together to the left side. They should be resting sideways, one on top of the other. As you turn, slowly lower your hip towards the ground. Return to the starting position. Do the other side. Repeat.

Bridges

For what it’s worth, this next exercise is less challenging than hip dips.

To get into a bridge position, lay down with your back on the floor (admit it, you’re happy to see that this exercise involves laying down). Pull your knees up, keeping your feet on the floor.

To do a bridge, all you have to do is raise your hips towards the sky, and then lower them. Keep your arms relaxed at your sides. Release any tension in the neck and shoulders. To get the most out of this exercise, focus on expanding your spine by gently rotating your pelvis towards your face.

Boat Position or V-Sits

Believe it or not, yoga poses, and exercise positions overlap frequently. Known as navasana by yogis, the boat pose is a fun and challenging position that builds your abs and core.

To get into this position, start by sitting with your knees up. Slowly lean back until your feet lift off the ground and you’re balancing on your butt. Good form in this pose involves—you guessed it—a straight back. Your spine will want to curve like the letter C, but this puts unwanted pressure on your lower back.

Pull your belly towards your legs and your chest back. Extend your neck—don’t let it crunch in towards your chest. If you’re struggling with balance, it’s okay to use your hands for stability. Bring your feet up, so that your calves are parallel with the ground. If you can, hold your arms out forward so that they are also parallel to the floor.

Hold this position. To add some spice, you can row the boat by alternately pulling your hands towards your feet. Or you can turn the boat pose into v-sits by alternating between relaxing the body into an almost-lying-down position and engaging your muscles into the boat pose. For proper v-sit form, extend your arms and legs so your body looks like the letter V.

Dead Bug

The best thing about dead bugs is that they engage your full body and also your mind. To do a dead bug, lay on your back with your arms extended over your head and your legs straight. Alternate lifting and lowering your right leg with your left arm, then your right arm with your left leg.

To engage your core, think about holding your lower back flat so that it touches the floor. Now you’re a squirming bug with a strong core.

Toe Touches

You might think of toe touches as a stretching exercise—but when you turn them upside down, they become a core exercise!

Start in the same position as you did with the dead bug. Then simultaneously lift your toes and your hands towards the sky. Release. Repeat.

You could also keep your toes in the air while you raise and lower your hands. It’s important to keep your neck straight when doing toe touches so that your eyes are looking forward and slightly up.

Leg Lifts

You might think that lying on the floor would make things easier for you, but if you’re doing these exercises right, you will feel the burn.

To do leg lifts, begin by laying on the – you guessed it – floor. Think about closing that gap between your lower back and the ground. Then, lift your legs, keeping them straight. Stay cool and controlled as you bring them up and then slowly lower them down, and return to the starting position.

To create variety, you could try the dreaded 10 inches. Simply hold your feet 10 inches above the ground for as long as possible. Or, crisscross your feet as you move up and down.

That hurts!

90-60-30

These are a variation of leg lifts that bring some more mental acuity into the mix.

You bring your legs to 90-, 60-, and 30-degree angles, holding for a second at each position before returning to the starting position resting your legs on the ground. Repeat as many times as you can while keeping your back flat.

Put your hands at your sides, beneath your butt, or behind your head. Find what works best for you.

Bicycles

Bicycles are another exercise that involves floor work.

This exercise is a type of leg raise that engages your full body. Be warned: bicycles are a lot harder when you’re riding an imaginary one.

Once you’re laying down, put your hands behind your head. Lift your legs and pretend you’re riding a bike, circling your feet and knees alternately. As you do this, you can reach your elbows to opposite knees. Keep your neck long—imagine something existing between your neck and chest, preventing them from getting closer.

And keep that lower back down!

Crunches

Finally, the exercise you’ve been looking for: crunches.

You probably know how to these. But you might not know the proper form for beginners.

To start, you probably won’t be able to get all the way up to your knees. That’s okay! Do baby crunches, engaging your abs, and keeping your spine aligned.

Keep your eyes looking forward at the ceiling, and focus on lifting your chest. You want to keep your chin far away from your chest. Keep your knees bent and your feet firmly placed on the floor.

To engage those obliques, crunch side-to-side in this way. Left leg, right leg – keep going!

A Quick Core-Strengthening Workout Routine for Beginners

If you’re not sure where to start, try this quick 10-minute core workout! Remember to do everything with controlled breathing, gentle movement, and proper alignment. And remember: Working out core muscles hurts! Don’t give up when you feel the burn – keep your muscles engaged and fire away!

You can combine this with your regular workout routine or repeat as desired.

Bridges: 2 sets of 15 reps

Dead Bugs: 2 sets of 8 reps

Toe Touches: 2 sets of 10 reps

Crunches: 3 sets of 10 reps

Table Pose: 2 sets of 20-second holds

Plank: 3 sets of 10-second holds

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Fastest Way to Strengthen Your Core?

The fastest way to strengthen your core is by working out regularly – and doing the correct exercises. You can also try to strengthen your core by keeping a straight back and flexing your core while standing or walking. Try to engage your core as often as possible – just flex, flex, and flex!

What do You do When You Have no Core Strength?

If you have no core and ab strength, there is only one way to go about it: Start working out! Try to do at least one workout for core engagement every day – preferably more. Why don’t you start off the day with a 90 degrees static hold while still in your bed? Lie on your back, knees bent, and hold a 90-degree angle in your hips and knees. Hold until the burning becomes INTENSE!

What Causes Weak Core Muscles?

A weak core is often a result of the modern sedentary lifestyle. Sitting on a desk while at work – and chillin’ on the couch watching Netflix while at home. When your core does not get any form of stimulus during the day, these muscles will simply not see any reason to grow stronger. If you want to strengthen your core you have to work for it!

How Long Does it Take to Build Core Strength?

Building a strong core takes time, engagement, and loads of sweat! How long it takes depends on how hard you work – and of course what your goal is. Do you want to work on your posture and get your back to straighten up, or are you dreaming of a midsection like The Rock (if so, dream on)? Work hard and results will come – just remember to focus on correct technique. You don’t want any lower back pains!

Why is it Important to Strengthen my Core?

Lower back pain and bad posture are more and more common these days. A strong core reduces the risk of back pains, and will also tighten your posture – giving you a healthy and confident look! Take a look at these 7 reasons as to why it is important to strengthen your core – some of them might surprise you!

“A weak core can significantly interfere with your bodily motion, leaving you with poor balance, agility, and lifting ability.”

Reference: hometraininghero.com – Does Walking Strengthen Your Core?

Final Words: Anyone Can Build a Strong Core!

If using these core exercises and the core workout regularly – you will gradually see and feel your core muscles getting stronger. Strong abdominal muscles and strong core muscles are essential to keep away back pain and maintain a healthy and good-looking posture.

If you want to add some exercise equipment to the mix – no problem! There are several types of equipment, like the ab bench or ab wheel – engineered to work core and your abdominal muscles.

Hey, or maybe you want to look at more core exercises?

Then you should go visit my at-home strength-building archive, LOADED with actionable tips, exercises, and workouts!

See you there!