A 4-Move Easy Ab Workout for Beginners

New to core work? Start here.


It can be tough to find easy ab workouts that are accessible and still deliver results. The fitness landscape is flooded with moves that promise to crush your core or obliterate your obliques. That’s great for the avid exerciser who wants to level up their standard planks and sit-ups, but for the beginner or senior runner who’s new to core work, it’s just intimidating and unrealistic.

That’s why Alison Staples, fitness coach, created this easy ab workout designed to promote proper running form and safeguard against injury.

“Beginner runners and seniors should pay close attention to core strengthening because a stable core reinforces proper pelvic alignment and the ability to absorb impact through the legs and feet,” she tells Runner’s World. “When we’re tired, our form is the first thing to go. As muscles fatigue, other non-primary muscles compensate, putting us at more risk for injury and overuse. Having strong core muscles delays fatigue and keeps us aligned.”

Her four-move circuit works your entire core, from the rectus abdominis and obliques down to the hips and glutes. While the standing rotational reverse chop is typically performed with a dumbbell, you can opt to go unweighted for a less intense workout. Alternatively, you can increase the difficulty of the other movements by adding free weights or resistance bands.

How to do it: Perform each exercise below for the number of reps listed, resting for 30 seconds between exercises. Repeat the full circuit a total of 3 times, you will need a light dumbbell.

Standing Rotational Reverse Chop

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart while holding the dumbbell down and center below your stomach. Bring the dumbbell to right hip, then, keeping arms straight, swing it up and across your body to left shoulder with control. Pivot right foot as you rotate left. Return hands back to right hip. Complete 8 reps on each side.

Side Bend

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms at sides. Keeping your chest up and back flat, bend sideways at the waist to move your torso to the right as you slide your right hand down your leg toward your knee. Return to the starting position, and then bend to the left and slide your left hand down your leg toward your knee. Continue to alternate, completing 5 reps on each side.

Alternating Cross-Body Punch

Stand with feet hip-width apart and hands in fists in front of your chest. Pivot on your left foot to turn to the right as you extend your left arm in a cross-body punch with fingers and thumb facing down. Return to center, then pivot on the right foot and turn to the left as you extend your right arm in a cross-body punch with fingers and thumb facing down. Continue to alternate, completing 5 reps on each side.

Good Morning

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and place fingertips behind head. Bend your knees slightly and maintain a flat back as you hinge at the hips to bring your torso forward and down. Once you feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings, squeeze your glutes and return to a standing position. Do as many reps as possible in 20 seconds.

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