A 10-Minute Beginner Ab Workout you can do at home. 9 core strengthening, pilates ball exercises for beginners and postpartum moms looking to rebuild pelvic floor, transverse abdominal and lower abdominal strength.
This 10-Minute Beginner Ab Workout focuses on building (or rebuilding) core strength. These nine ab exercises for beginners target the deep transverse abdominals, lower abs, and pelvic floor muscles.
Today’s workout mixes it up by adding in a pilates ball (or throw pillow). This is one of my favorite tools to help make the mind-muscle connection necessary for beginners looking to build foundational core strength. This is also a great option for postpartum moms looking to repair diastasis recti or rebuild core strength.
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Beginner abs exercises should help you make the mind-muscle connection needed to properly engage your core. It should target all core muscles including: upper rectus abdominis (the upper abs), lower rectus abdominis (the lower abs), internal obliques and external obliques (side abs, along the sides of your body) and the transverse abdominis (your deepest core muscles).
How Often Should I Do Ab Workouts?
Core strength is an essential foundation to all fitness levels. I recommend incorporating ab and core workouts 3-4 times per week for best results. That said, if you do my home workouts or follow any of my free home workout plans, you’ll get lots of “sneaky” abs exercises built into every workout (we’re engaging our core in a variety of full body strength training movements and unilateral exercises).
Is This Beginner Ab Workout Safe For Diastasis Recti (Abdominal Separation)?
YES, this is a great postpartum ab workout! A good rule of thumb is to avoid any ab exercise that causes “hard” coning or doming of the midsection. If you try this beginner ab workout and notice your abs coning (coming to a point), scale back to this Diastasis Recti Ab Workout. On the other hand, if you can complete these ab exercises with ease, try scaling up to this 10-Minute Lower Ab Workout.
10-Minute Beginner Ab Workout for Women
Build a strong core with 9 BEGINNER ab exercises you can do at home.
These ab exercises for beginners are specifically designed to build foundational core strength. They’re also designed to heal diastasis recti, strengthen the pelvic floor and glutes, and rebuild your abs after baby.
Start in a seated position on your mat, legs bent at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor. Place a pilates ball behind you, pressing it tightly into the low back.
Sit back into a C-Shape. Shoulders are pulled slightly forward, navel is drawn in tight as you lean back into the ball. Extend your arms long in front of you.
Push your low back into the ball on a four-count and pause to hold the tucked position for a four-count.
Then exhale as you slowly release on a four-count.
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.
How To Do Lying Bent Knee Toe Taps
Start lying on your mat, back flat on the ground. Place a pilates ball under your low back and engage your core, pressing your lower back into the ball.
Lift your knees to a 90-degree angle (knees bent at 90 degrees).
Imagine there is a string connecting your hipbones. To activate your transverse abdominal muscles, pull your hip bones towards one another.
Then, with control, tap your right toe to the mat. Return to the starting position and then tap your left toe to the mat.
Alternate tapping each toe to the mat without letting your low back ‘pop off’ the ball.
Lying Alternating Leg Extensions
Targets: Transverse abdomen, upper abs, lower abs and hips.
How To Do Alternating Leg Extensions
Start lying on your back. Place a pilates ball under your low back and engage your core, pressing your lower back into the ball.
Lift your knees to a 90-degree angle (knees bent at 90 degrees).
Extend the right leg straight out in front of you, keeping the left leg bent at 90 degrees.
With control, pull the right leg back so both knees are bent at 90 degrees. Then alternate by extending the left leg long. This movement is slow and controlled.
To intensify this movement, kick both legs straight out at the same time.
Side-to-Side Leg Lower
Targets: Obliques (muscles along the sides of your torso), lower abs and hip flexors.
How To Do Side-to-Side Leg Lowers
Start lying on your back, core activated to press your lower back into the mat.
Lift your legs, knees bent at 90 degrees (knees stacked on top of hips) and squeeze a pilates ball between your knees.
Keeping your shoulder blades flat on the mat, slowly lower your knees to the right side of your body, knees stacked and tapping the mat with your right knee.
Squeeze your abs as you pull your knees back up to starting position.
Repeat on the left, lowering your knees so your left knee taps the mat on the left side of your body.
Modification: Reduce range of motion of your legs to reduce the intensity of this exercise.
Modified Side Plank Lift and Ball Squeeze
Targets: Obliques (muscles along the sides of your torso), lower abs, outer glutes (gluteus medius), and hip flexors.
How To Do A Modified Side Plank Lift and Ball Squeeze
Start in a modified side plank or knee down side plank on the left side. Left forearm on the mat, left shoulder stacked over left elbow and left knee on the ground. Place a ball between your knees.
Engage your abs and obliques as you lift your hips off the mat and squeeze legs together to compress the ball.
Hold at the top, thinking about pressing your bottom knee into the mat to engage your glutes.
Then return to the starting position by lowering your hip back to the mat with control.
Repeat on the opposite side the next set.
Bear Crawl Hold with Ball Squeeze
Targets: Deep transverse abdomen muscles, rectus abdominis (six-pack ab muscles), oblique muscles, shoulders, back, legs, glutes and quads.
How To Do A Bear Crawl Hold with Ball Squeeze
Start in a table top position, quadruped on all fours, shoulders stacked over wrists and hips stacked over knees, pelvis even. Place a pilates ball between your inner thighs.
Inhale as you let your belly slightly drop, raising your gaze up as you breathe through into your belly.
Exhale, drawing your belly button towards your spine as you tuck your toes under and lift your knees one inch off the mat, finding a bear crawl. Squeeze the ball between your inner thighs. Hold for a three-count.
Inhale as you lower your knees to the mat, finding a neutral spine position.
Modified Plank and Ball Roll
Targets: Upper abs, lower abs, obliques, transverse abs, shoulders, back and hamstrings.
How To Do A Modified Plank and Ball Roll
Start in a modified plank. Knees on the mat, shoulders stacked over elbows and toes connected to the mat. Straight line from head to tailbone. Place a pilates ball under your forearms.
Slowly roll out, sliding the pilates ball under your forearms until it reaches your elbows. Keep your core engaged as your torso lowers closer to the mat.
Pause for a moment, then roll back in, rolling the pilates ball under your forearms until it’s closer to your wrists, pushing yourself back up a bit, core engaged.
Modification: Reduce range of motion by taking this from a quadruped, table top position rather than modified plank.
Superman and Ball Press
Targets: The entire posterior chain (or backside of your body).
The superman exercise strengthens your back muscles, back extensors, glutes and hamstring muscles to increase overall core strength.
How To Do Superman and Ball Press
Start lying on your stomach, arms and legs extended out away from your body. Place a pilates ball under your hands.
Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to engage your posterior chain as you lift your legs off the ground while you press your hands into the pilates ball.
Hold this position, keeping your core engaged and a neutral spine. The harder you press into the ball, the more intense this exercise becomes.
Slowly lower your legs back towards the ground and release the pressure from the ball.
Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, hips and pelvic floor.
How To Do A Glute Bridge
Start laying on your back, feet planted under knees. Place a pilates ball between your knees.
Press through your heels to lift your glutes off the mat, squeezing your glutes as you lift. As you lift upwards, squeeze your inner thighs together, pressing into the pilates ball.
Exhale, slowly lowering your hips to hover an inch above the mat and releasing some of the tension on the pilates ball.
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