10 Top Beginner Core Strengthening Exercises Without Equipment

These 10 beginner core strengthening exercises will help you build ab muscle and get a stronger torso. No weights needed. 4 complete beginner core workouts!


10 Top Beginner Core Strengthening Exercises (4 Workouts!)

Today we will focus on 10 beginner core strengthening exercises that you can use without any equipment. The exercise information that you are about to receive is tailored to the fitness beginner and will serve you well if your goal is to build core strength and ab muscle. 

This article will provide you with much more than 10 core exer inside. It is a thorough article that will give you serious value and multiple ideas on the topic of core training. 

After some of these 10 core exercise groups, you will receive instructions on how to create a beginner core workout for yourself. 

At the bottom of this page, I will reveal to you 4 complete, follow-along core workout videos that you can use instantly or in the future when needed. 

The Importance Of Having a Strong Core

As a beginner, strengthening your core will outcome in faster overall fitness results, better performance, posture will improve, your strength to perform daily tasks and everything related to physical activities. 

The real world benefits of having a stronger core are many but to share the least, you will feel better, the low back will not hurt you, your training performance will enhance and you will get a visible six-pack, if your diet is on a check. In general, you will get a better lifestyle if start investing in core training. 

How To Strengthen Your Core As a Beginner?

To get a stronger core as a beginner, it is highly important to be consistent with the torso workouts and to keep things simple by following complete and follow-along workout videos or visiting calisthenics or HIIT classes where a coach gives you advice for the exercise technique and where to focus.

Avoid building core workouts by yourself because the knowledge you have might not be sufficient enough to get a good routine and to progress over time. Also, for most of the moves, which are not that dynamic, decrease the speed of the repetitions, slow down and focus on the muscle contractions. This will help you build core muscle more efficiently. 

How Often To Do Beginner Core Workouts? 

As a beginner, building the consistency of targeting your core is crucial in order to get a stronger torso faster. Here are 2 scenarios that you can follow: 

1. Perform 2-3 dedicated core workouts per week. This is a great way to seriously progress and build core strength. 

2. Target the core 5-6 times per week with short sessions that will last no more than 10-15 minutes duration. You can include these right after your lifting or resistance bodyweight workouts. 

Can You Lose Weight With Core Training?

Core exercises are though and oftentimes will activate multiple muscle groups in the body, besides the torso. That will lead to additional calorie burning and if your goal is to lose weight, then the core workouts will definitely help. However, to get sufficient results, you will need to focus on your diet and be in a caloric deficit.

Controversy, if you train the core hard but eat more than you need, you will still slimmer the waist size but will most probably always have a layer of fat above the abs. If you are okay to have a strong core but with a bit of fat, eat like you enjoy and do not bother that much with your diet.

But if your goal is to have visible abs, then being in a caloric deficit is mandatory and the only way towards being in a low-body fat percentage and with a visible six-pack. 

What Is a Good Beginner Core Exercise?

A good beginner core exercise is considered as a move that can be performed with a good technique by any fitness beginner. Also, such moves should target and recruit the core muscles in order for a good amount of time under tension to be applied which leads towards progress and developing stronger torso muscles. 

How Long Does It Take To Gain Core Strength?

Building core strength and muscle require time. If you are consistent and your torso workouts are well structured, you will begin to notice improvements after 4-6 weeks period. However, to get optimal results and make significant progress with your core strength, at least 12 weeks will be necessary. 

10 Beginner Core Exercises Without Equipment

In the following part of this post, you will discover 10 different exercise groups or main variations where some of these will include multiple moves inside. That means you can see below way more than 10 core movements and workout ideas below some of these. Enjoy. 

1. Isometric Planks

Everyone knows what plank is, and when you think about bodyweight core exercises, one of the first things that come to mind are exactly - the planks. The isometric planks are known and have a reputation as good core strength builders.

The most basic beginner plank variations are:

1. High plank or push up position hold. 

2. Low/front/regular plank and side planks.

You can get a decent core workout by doing only isometric planks. But is it the most effective way to build core strength and ab muscle? Not necessary. In the last couple of years, we have seen some world records of people that can hold the plank for hours. Multiple coaches have also shared that this static, isometric hold basically cannot have transferred to a real-life situation or strength application. Which makes the isometric planks unfunctional, if your focus is only on doing them and avoid anything else.

However, the planks are great and really good additions to a quality beginner core workout and will definitely help you build strength and muscle. Especially at the beginning. Then, when the adaptation kicks in, it would be highly recommended to switch the plank variations in order to create consistent stress and demand for a new adaptation. This is how you progress.

Here is a good read on the topic of stationary planks: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The Plank But Were Afraid To Ask

2. Dynamic Planks

What is a dynamic plank? 

A dynamic plank states for a plank variation that will place additional stress on your core muscles. This can be done by adding an extra movement of your legs or arms to the regular plank hold. In other words, the dynamic plank is the more advanced and challenging isometric plank variation that will level up your core game and help you progress and get a stronger trunk. 

The great part of the dynamic planks is that there are multiple variations that can be performed and this makes this much more fun. 

How to build a beginner dynamic plank workout? 

1. Pick 4-6 exercises from the video above. 

2. Perform 4-6 sets for each of these moves. 

3. Do each set for 40 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest. 

4. Once done with the exercise, rest for 2 complete minutes and move on to exercise 2 and so on. 

3. Dynamic Core HIIT Exercises

The dynamic core HIIT exercises have a higher focus on cardio and conditioning compared to building strength and core muscles as well. However, with the right HIIT timer protocol or how much volume or number of repetitions at the end of the workout are you going to perform, you will still build core and ab muscle while developing your cardio. 

In the video above, you can find 19 beginner core exercises that are low impact and will help you build some core strength and muscle while developing new movement skills, a more dynamic and functional type of body and will build your abs. 

Here is how to build a good dynamic core HIIT workout for beginners: 

1. Pick 3 exercises from the video above. 

2. Set an interval timer app to 30/20 seconds of work/rest. 

3. Perform the 3 movements one after the other, in a circuit fashion. 

4. Once you move through 1 set for each, it is considered as 1 round completed. 

5. The total volume of your session is to complete 6-8 total rounds. 

6. No rests are allowed between the working rounds. This means once finishing with the round, you will continue with round 2 while following 30/20 seconds of work/rest protocol throughout the whole session. 

7. If this mini-circuit is not enough for you, once finishing with the 6-8 sets of these 3 exercises, rest for 5 full minutes, pick another 3 moves and complete another 6-8 rounds with the new exercises. 

4. Mountain Climbers

The mountain climber is a highly dynamic and intense core and full body exercise. The targeted muscles will be your torso, hip flexors, legs, shoulders, upper back and arms. It will serve you with a higher focus on cardio and conditioning, however, there are slower climber variations that if being done properly, will help build ab and core muscles as well. 

In the video above, you can find 23 mountain climber variations that you can try as a stand-alone movement or include in your HIIT workouts. 

5. Crawling Exercises For Core Strength and Weight Loss

Crawling is one of the most effective ways to build core strength in a functional and applicable way. The human body is unique and it gives us the possibility of replicating the movement patterns of different animals. The crawling itself is not just a core exercise. It is way beyond that. When you crawl, you will: 

1. Improve your poster and structural imbalances. 

2. Your cardio, conditioning and strength endurance will skyrocket. 

3. You will lose weight, fat and feel overall - better. 

4. Your core will get much stronger because you will tackle it from different angles and this will result in adaptation and progress. 

5. Your whole body will get stronger, not just your core muscles. 

6. Your body will loosen itself, you will become a better mover and this will impact multiple things in your lifestyle in a positive way. 

How to build a beginner crawling workout? 

1. Pick 3 crawling exercise variations from the 3 videos provided above.

2. Set an interval timer app to 30/30 seconds of work/rest. 

3. You will perform these 3 crawls in a circuit manner, one after the other. 

4. Once you move through each, it is considered as 1 round completed. Your crawling workout is to finish a total of 6-8 rounds performed. 

5. Rest 60 seconds between each working round and repeat again. 

6. Plank to Push Up

The plank to push up core strengthening exercise is a famous one and you are most probably familiar with it. It is a combination of a low isometric plank and a high plank (push up position). The keypoint here and the moment where the highest gains are made is the transition moment when you move through the lower to higher position. That transition will engage the core in a highly effective way. It will have to stabilize the whole body in order to prevent it from falling sideways and losing balance.

Also, the triceps, shoulders and arms will have to do a good amount of work here. This is a great hybrid exercise that will result in improved push ups and plank performance at the same time. If you do the plank push up consistently, over a short period of time, you will notice that your push ups and planks are getting better. 

7. Hollow Body Holds

The hollow body hold is a gymnastic isometric core exercise that you definitely worth trying. It is not a fancy one but the effectiveness of it is immersed. There are a quote that claims, if a gymnast is doing a certain exercise, there is a reason for that, and if it is applicable to the regular person, then you should definitely include it in your workouts. Gymnasts are super strong human beings and we should learn and replicate some of their exercises. 

To get a good core strengthening workout with the hollows, follow these steps: 

1. Pick 1 variation from the hollow body hold progression video above. 

2. Set a timer to 30/30 seconds of work/rest. 

3. Do 8-10 total sets. That would be an 8-10 minute core workout. 

4. Perform this session 2-3 times per week for maximal results. 

5. Once feeling stronger, make sure to pick another hollow body progression and do the same workout. 

Continue in the same manner until reaching the full hollow body hold or any of the more advanced variations. 

Here is a good article on the topic: Cracking Open the Hollow Hold Exercise

8. Ab Exercises

Your abs or six pack is on the front side of the core. Stimulating the ab muscles in a focused approach is highly important because not all core exercises will target the six-pack efficiently. 

The truth about training your abs is there is not much difference in regards of what exercise you are about to perform because what matters here is muscle recruitment and how well you are about to create the mind-muscle connection.

Otherwise, if you do your ab exercises with a high tempo, most probably all of the tension will be generated in the hip flexors and low back + spine which will make such moves highly not productive for building your abs. 

To begin with a deeper understanding of how to recruit your ab muscles, review the 2 videos above in order to understand deeper the ideology. You can also use the method that coach Christian Thibaudeau is sharing with you and you can implement the high contraction crunch method. If you don't have a swiss ball, it's okay, use the ground. 

How to build effective beginner ab workouts by yourself? 

Check the video above with these 20 intense ab exercises. 

Pick 6 exercises. 

1. Perform the first exercise for 6 total rounds. 30 seconds of work / 20 seconds of rest. 

2. Once finished, rest for 3 minutes and move on to exercise 2 and repeat the same sequence as exercise 1. Continue in the same manner in the same way until finishing with exercise 6. 

3. This is not a circuit ab routine. Instead, the focus here will be to get the max out of each movement and to stress the muscles in a good way so a muscle build can occur. 

4. Focus on the exercise technique and make sure to perform each move with a slower tempo. The slower, the better your mind-muscle connection will be and hence, the muscle building process! 

9. Static Monkeys

The static monkey is another animal move based exercise, but the difference compared to the other animal exercises (above), this one is static and highly dynamic. In the 2 videos above, you can see the 2 basic and static monkeys shown by me.

The static monkey has а more dynamic nature. It is а high intense movement and the focus will be on the core, upper back, shoulders, arms and whole legs. The monkey exercise will improve and challenge your cardio, conditioning and stamina. 

Below you can see a high intense showcase of the static monkey and a few extra variations that can be done. 

10. Hybrid Core Exercises

What is a hybrid core exercise? 

A hybrid core exercise is a combination of core strengthening exercises and additional moves that will challenge extra muscle groups. In other words, a hybrid core exercise will not just build your core strength but will engage many more muscles in the body. This makes such exercises highly effective not just for core and ab muscle building purposes but an awesome addition to your HIIT workouts. 

How to create a hybrid core workout by yourself?

To create an effective hybrid core workout, you will pick 6 exercises from the video above and split these into 2 groups of 3 movements each. 

1. Set an interval timer app to 30/20 seconds of work/rest. 

2. Perform each of the first 3 exercises group one after the other. Once finishing, it is considered as 1 round completed. 

3. You should perform 6-8 rounds. 

4. Once done, you will rest for 5 minutes and perform the second group of the 3 selected exercises in the same fashion. 6-8 rounds, 30/20 sec. of work/rest. 

In a nutshell, this is a hybrid core HIIT workout that consists of 2 mini circuits, 3 exercises for each. 

4 Beginner Core Workouts That Will Build Your Abs 

As a beginner, it is very important to have multiple training options in order to have variety, stress the core in different ways and progress. 

Below you will find 4 beginner core strengthening workouts without weights. You can try these instantly, at home, outdoor or while you travel. 

All of these sessions are follow along which means that you will not have to think about anything. Just play the video and replicate all presented core exercises. 

12 Minute Calisthenics Core Workout For Beginners (HIIT Session)

This 12 minute calisthenics core workout for beginners includes 5 core exercises that should be performed for the following interval timer: 30/20 seconds of work/rest. 3 total rounds should be done.

Here is the core exercise list: 

1. Shoulder taps to knee and ankle taps. 

2. Cross body step to knee tap. 

3. 3 Way mountain climbers. 

4. Short side crawl to shoulder tap. 

5. Leg and arm raise (bird dog) 2 level plank. 

15 Minute HIIT Core Workout For Beginners

This beginner HIIT core workout includes a total of 9 core exercises. You should perform 2 big rounds, while working for 30 seconds and resting for 20. Rest between working rounds: 2 minutes. 

Here is your core exercise list: 

1. High to low bird dog plank. 

2. Plank ankle taps. 

3. Jump outs. 

4. Straddles. 

5. Short crab crawl to bottom ups (ankle taps). 

6. Alternating static monkey walk. 

7. Cross knee to elbow to bottom up. 

8. Mountain climber to plank twists (8 to 4 repetitions). 

9. Sprinter sit up. 

15 Minute Beginner Core Workout

For this 15 minute beginner core workout, you will perform 6 exercises. You will work/rest for 30/20 seconds and 3 rounds should be performed. No big rests are allowed between the working rounds

Here is the exercise list:

1. Alternating stationary monkey walk. 

2. Cross body knee tap to jump out combo. 

3. Cross body step to knee tap. 

4. Plank ankle taps. 

5. Plank twist to knee elbow tap. 

6. Sprinter sit up. 

30 Minute Core Workout For Beginners (Complete Ab Routine)

Last but not least, this 30 minute beginner core workout. 7 core moves are included. 30/20 seconds of work/rest. 6 total rounds should be completed. 

Your exercise list: 

1. Short sit out to jump out. 

2. Tucked shoulder tap to ankle tap combo. 

3. Low bird dog plank. 

4. Plank push up to sit out. 

5. V sit hold to ankle tap. 

6. Hollow body hold to crab reach. 

7. Plank twists. 

Summing It Up

Building your core strength as a beginner is mandatory in order to develop a more functional and efficient body. As a start, you don't need any equipment at all. Everything needed you can find in this article. 

We have discussed 10 beginner core strengthening exercise groups that can be used. Below some of these, you can find ideas of how to build effective beginner core workouts at home. Also, you can find 4 beginner core strengthening workouts above that are 100% follow along and will serve you well when needed. 

What are your top favorite beginner core strengthening exercises?

Comment below!

To your FIT-ter self, 


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