Easy Core Exercises for Beginners
Today we’re gonna be talking about seven easy core exercises that are geared towards beginners to get a feel and understanding of what muscle groups they should be working. One thing we want to educate ourselves on is that the core is not just our abdominal muscles. The core includes the glutes, psoas, multifidus, abs, diaphragm, pelvic floor, hamstrings, abductors, and the adductors, meaning outer thighs and inner thighs. I believe these seven different exercises address all of those muscle groups.
Glute Med Knee / Leg Lift
First, we start with the glute knee leg lift. This exercise not only works the glutes but also the abs, diaphragm, pelvic floor, abductors, and outer thighs.
Next, the bridge (one of my all-time favorites). The bridge works the glutes, multifidus, abs, diaphragm, pelvic floor, and hamstrings. This movement also helps you with spinal mobility which is a nice added-value.
With the bridge (if you want), you can do variations where you are turned out so that your heels are together and your toes are apart, which will work the external rotator glute muscles. Alternatively, you can do the bridge turned in with your toes together and your heels apart, which will work the internal rotators of the hips. Those are a couple of variations that you can do that are not in the video.
Prancing & Double Knee Fold Oblique
Prancing works the psoas, abs, diaphragm, and pelvic floor. The double knee fold oblique also works the psoas, abs, diaphragm, and pelvic floor – but also includes the obliques in that one.
Single Leg Stretch, Flight, & Row Front
The single leg stretch considers the psoas, abs, diaphragm, and pelvic floor muscles. Flight works the glutes, multifidus, abs, diaphragm, pelvic floor, hamstrings, and the adductors, or otherwise known as the inner thighs. Then, we have row front which works the multifidus and the abdominal muscles.
Understanding Your Muscle Groups
When you’re doing these exercises, you want to understand that those are the muscle groups that you are trying to strengthen. So, when you’re doing each exercise, make sure that you’re paying attention to what you feel working and making sure that you are feeling the right muscle groups doing their job.
You also want to make sure that you don’t experience any pain, numbing, burning, or tingling sensations. You’ll want to stop if you’re experiencing those things. The last thing we want is to injure ourselves or stress out your nerves when the intention is to feel better.
When you’re doing work that’s asymmetrical like the glute knee leg lift, you may find that one side is more challenging than the other. If that’s the case, you want to do more sets for the side that’s weaker to try to create more balance in the body. Make sure that you honor where your body is at and only do what you can. It’s not good to push through the pain. If you’re pushing through pain or discomfort, then your body is going to create compensation patterns and you will not be strengthening the right muscle groups. You’ll be strengthening the muscles that your central nervous system has created in the compensation pattern.
Note for Beginners on Core Exercises
It’s important when you’re doing these exercises, especially as a beginner, that you’re taking your time and are paying attention to the movement, the intention of the movement, and the quality of the movement. Don’t get hung up on how many you’re doing. Getting stuck on the quantity, powering through it, and doing things really fast isn’t good because when you’re first learning something, you are not competent at it, yet. It takes thought, it takes intention, and it takes focus. You want to make sure that you’re doing these exercises at a speed in which you can feel your way through.
Trust Your Body
If some exercises feel like they’re antagonizing you, making you feel worse, don’t do them. Your body is wise. It knows. If one of these seven exercises doesn’t feel good for your body, trust your body’s intuition and don’t do it. These exercises should help your core feel stronger, not cause any pain or discomfort. It’s important that you pay attention to that, because I’m not there to ask you those questions, so you need to ask yourself those questions.
The Day After
Pay attention to how you’re feeling the next day. You shouldn’t feel any pain or discomfort the next day. If you feel some discomfort for several hours afterward, that’s normal, but the next day, no, you don’t want to feel pain or discomfort the next day. If that happens, make sure that you’re testing and measuring. You’ll want to (possibly) break down the routine, do one exercise a day, and see how you feel the day after so that you can pinpoint which exercise isn’t working for your body.
Choose Core Exercises That Are Best For YOU
All right, so hopefully these work well for you. Remember, pick and choose the pilates exercises that are best for you because everybody’s different. Keep in mind that these exercises should be helping your core feel stronger, not causing you additional discomfort or pain. Don’t push through the pain. If you’re feeling numbing, tingling, burning sensations—stop, and honor where your body is. Don’t rely on the number or quantity that you’re doing. Think more about the quality of the movement. Move slow and aware enough to understand that the right muscles are working.
Enjoy, take care, and have fun!