We get it: Core training can be intimidating, since there are a bunch of core muscles and even more core exercises to work them. The antidote? A core strength workout for beginners with just four moves that will teach you how to fire up your midsection with simple-yet-effective exercises.
First though, let’s talk about what your core even is. Your core does include your rectus abdominis, the muscles which run vertically along the front of your abdomen, but it also is comprised of lots of other muscles too, like your obliques (the muscles on the sides of your torso), and transverse abdominis (the deepest core muscles that sit beneath your obliques), as well as your glutes, pelvic floor, and the muscles that stabilize your spine and hips.
Now, why does core strength even matter? For one, your core helps transfer power from your lower half to your upper half and vice versa, NASM-certified personal trainer Alicia Jamison, C.P.T., trainer at Bodyspace Fitness in New York City, tells SELF. The stronger your core, the more power can be shared, and the better you can perform movements.
Say, for example, you do a push-up. A strong core will transfer the power your upper body generates from pushing up off the ground into your hips. As a result, your lower body will be in ideal positioning—i.e. strong and elevated, instead of sagging towards the floor. That means less energy leak and a more efficient exercise.
Another important job your core has is providing a stable foundation for movements. Jamison gives the analogy of squatting on sand versus squatting on concrete. You’re going to feel stronger and more stable squatting in the latter scenario, and that’s the difference a strong core can make.
Your core also plays a vital role in protecting your