Beginner Abs and Back Workout

Simple Moves to Strengthen Your Core

The following exercises are perfect for targeting the abs and lower back to help build a strong, fit core. You'll start with standing ab moves and then move to the floor for a variety of exercises that will hit every muscle in your abs.


See your doctor if you have any problems or medical issues. If you have lower back problems during some of the crunches, put a rolled up towel under your lower back for more support. Skip any move that hurts.

How To

  • You'll need a medicine ball or a light weight.
  • Warm up with some light cardio before this workout.
  • Perform each exercise for at least 1 set of 10 to 16 reps.
  • Do each exercise slowly and focus on good form for each rep.

Med Ball Woodchop

Medicine Ball Diagonal Woodchop

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

With feet wide, hold a medicine ball or dumbbell and squat, sending the hips behind you while you swing the ball down and to outside of the left hip. Push into the heels to stand up and swing the ball up and overhead at a diagonal, so the ball is over the right shoulder. Do all your reps on this side before switching to the other side.


Modified Plank


Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Begin in a modified plank, placing elbows and forearms on the floor with knees down. Pull the abs tight to hold your body in a straight line from head to knees without sagging in the middle, eyes looking naturally forward. Hold this position for as long as you can. Relax and repeat 3 or more times. If a modified plank is too easy, consider swapping out for a full plank.


Side Plank Hip Lifts

hip lifts

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Start in a side plank with the palm on the floor and hips lifted. If this position is too challenging, modify it by resting on your forearm instead of the palm. Hold the hip lift briefly and lower, just touching the mat before lifting the hips again. Do 10 to 16 reps on this side, then switch.

For a challenge, lift your knees off the floor when you raise your hips. Your arm can be extended or placed on your hips.


Bird Dog

superhuman core

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

To do bird dog, begin on hands and knees with the back straight and the abs pulled in. Lift the right arm up until it is level with the body and parallel to the floor. At the same time, lift the left leg up and straighten it until it is also parallel to the floor. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat on the other side. Alternate sides for 10 to 16 reps.


Crunch with Heel Push

Crunch with a Heel Push

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Lie on your back with knees bent and hands gently cradling the head. Keep the feet flexed as you contract the abs, lifting the shoulder blades off the floor. Avoid pulling on the neck. At the top of the crunch, press your heels into the floor while pressing your back against the mat and slightly raising the glutes off the floor. Lower and repeat.


Reverse Crunch

Reverse Crunch

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Lie on the floor and place hands at your sides or behind the head. Bring the knees in towards the chest until they're bent to 90 degrees. Contract the abs to curl the hips off the floor, reaching the legs up towards the ceiling. It's a very small movement, so try to use your abs to lift your hips rather than swinging your legs and creating momentum.



Woman performing basic bridge stretch

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

With the knees bent and arms resting on the floor, gently press the hips up until they are level with the knees in a bridge position. Keep the neck relaxed and briefly hold. Lower back down slowly and repeat for 10 reps.

By Paige Waehner, CPT
Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness."