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5-Minute Beginner Ab Workout (No Equipment)

Build a strong core at home with this no equipment beginner ab workout. These are five of my favorite beginner-friendly ab exercises to strengthen the upper abs, lower abs, obliques, deep transverse abdominal muscles and pelvic floor. Build functional core strength, increase core stability, and improve ab definition with this guided five minute beginner abs routine.

I’m often asked what’s the “trick” to toning the abs and core.

In my opinion, the best way to build strong, defined abs is to functionally train the muscles that criss-cross around the trunk of your body. Functional core training is built into nearly all of our workouts, but if you’re looking to specifically improve core strength and definition, it can be beneficial to add in targeted ab workouts a few times a week, particularly if you’re a beginner.

A weak core can let larger muscle groups overcompensate, which can often lead to injury and low back pain.

Today’s workout focuses on foundational ab exercises that are perfect for beginners. Add these five ab exercises onto any strength training workout, or knock this out as a quick and effective 5-minute workout.

woman performing a modified side plank and toe touch in a beginner ab workout for women

5-Minute Beginner Ab Workout

These beginner ab exercises are functional, training the core to stabilize your body as you move your arms and legs in different directions.

Add this beginner abs workout to your beginner workout routine 1-2 times a week to build muscle and improve definition in the abdominal muscles.

Workout Equipment:

None, just your bodyweight.

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Beginner Ab Workout Video on YouTube, led by certified personal trainer Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 5 Beginner Ab Exercises
  • Timed Intervals (40 seconds of work per exercise, followed by 20 seconds of rest)
  • Perform Each Ab Exercise x1 (no repeats)
Beginner Ab Workout | woman performing a side plank with arm extended overhead

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Beginner Abs

Workout Outline

  1. Lying Bent Knee Toe Taps
  2. Dead Bug
  3. Modified Side Plank and Toe Touch, R
  4. Rolling Plank
  5. Modified Side Plank and Toe Touch, L

4 Ab Exercises for Beginners

Lying Bent Knee Toe Taps

Targets: Transverse abdomen (deep core muscles below your rectus abdomen or six pack ab muscles), lower abs and hip flexors.

The closer your knees are to your chest, the easier this ab exercise will be; the farther your knees are from your chest, the harder this exercise will be.

woman lying on her back to perform bent knee toe taps in a beginner ab workout at home

How To Do Lying Bent Knee Toe Taps

  1. Start lying on your back, core engaged, pressing your lower back into the mat.
  2. Lift your knees to form a 90-degree angle (knees stacked on top of hips).
  3. Imagine there is a string connecting your hip bones. To activate your transverse abdominal muscles, pull your hip bones towards one another.
  4. Then, with control, tap your right toe to the mat.
  5. Return to the starting position and then tap your left toe to the mat.
  6. Alternate tapping each toe to the mat without letting your low back pop off the mat.

Dead Bug

Targets: Rectus abdominis (six pack ab muscles), obliques and transverse abs.

The dead bug is a great beginner ab exercise because it’s easy on your neck and back (both the neck and back stay resting on the mat throughout this exercise).

woman performing a dead bug core exercise in a beginner ab workout

How To Do A Dead Bug

  1. Start lying on your back, core activated to press your lower back into the mat.
  2. Lift your knees to form a 90-degree angle (knees stacked on top of hips), and extend your hands straight overhead.
  3. Contract your ab muscles as you extend your right arm overhead while simultaneously straightening your left leg. Return to the starting position.
  4. Then extend your left arm overhead while simultaneously straightening your right leg. Return to the starting position.

Modified Side Plank And Toe Touch

Targets: Obliques, transverse abs, upper abs and lower abs.

woman performing a modified side plank and toe touch in an ab workout for beginners

How To Do A Modified Side Plank And Optional Toe Touch

  1. Start in a modified side plank or knee down side plank. Place your right forearm on the mat, right shoulder stacked over right elbow and right knee on the ground with left leg and arm extended long.
  2. Option to hold this knee down side plank position. Engage your core and obliques, and lift your hips.
  3. Option to add a toe touch by pulling your left toe towards your left hand; they should meet near shoulder height.
  4. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Rolling Plank

Targets: The entire core from head to toe including deep transverse abs, upper abs, lower abs and lower back.

This rolling plank strengthens every core muscle, gives you a stronger low back, and teaches you how to scale from a beginner plank to a forearm plank on your toes.

woman performing a rolling plank in a beginner ab workout for a strong core

How To Do A Rolling Plank

  1. Start in a beginner plank on your knees — forearms on the mat, shoulders stacked over elbows, both knees on the mat and toes connected to the mat. Straight line from head to tailbone.
  2. Lift your right knee off the mat, straightening through your right leg. Then lift your left knee off the mat.
  3. Hold the forearm plank, both legs extended on toes for a moment; then slowly return one knee to the mat at a time.
  4. Continue this ‘rolling knee’ plank pattern.
What Are The Best Ab Exercises For Beginners?

Variations of planks and dead bugs are some of my favorite beginner ab exercises. These can be done without any equipment, and can be scaled up or down depending on your fitness level. You’ll find variations of these exercises in today’s workout.

How Often Should A Beginner Do Ab Workouts?

Your abs are a muscle group that require rest and recovery time, just like any of your other major muscle groups. Overtraining can lead to muscle imbalances, burnout and injury. I recommend adding targeted ab and core workouts to your fitness routine 1-3 times per week for the best results. For a more structured workout program, try following a beginner workout plan.

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