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Beginner Abs & Back

The following exercises are basic moves targeting the abs and back. Always avoid any exercises that cause pain and, if you feel lower back strain, modify the move to a comfortable range of motion or place a rolled up towel under your hips to support your lower back.

  • Check with your doctor if you have any injuries or medical conditions
  • Warm up with some light cardio before this workout
  • Perform each exercise for at least 1 set of 10-16 reps.
  • Do each exercise slowly and focus on good form for each rep
Crunches
Lie on your back with your hands crossed across your chest or with your fingers on the sides of your head. Place your feet on the floor with legs bent. To begin the exercise, lift your torso, lifting shoulder blades off the floor and crunching your rib cage towards your lower belly. Hold for two counts, then lower slowly to the starting position. Repeat.
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Reverse Crunches
Lie on your back with knees bent, feet a few inches off the floor. Slowly contract the abdominals, focusing on rotating the pelvis up and bringing your knees towards your rib cage. Concentrate on letting your abs do the work. Hold at the top then slowly lower your knees to the starting position. Repeat.

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Oblique Crossover Crunches
Lie on your back with knees bent, hands behind your head. Keeping lower back pressed into the floor, lift your shoulder blades off the floor and then curl your upper body diagonally across your body towards your right knee. Contract your abs and obliques as hard as you can at the top of the movement. Lower back down and repeat on the same side before switching sides.

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Plank
Begin by placing elbows on the floor and resting body on the knees. Pull the abs tight to hold your body in a straight line from head to knees without sagging in the middle, eyes looking naturally forward. Hold this position for as long as you can, relax and repeat 3 or more times.


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Dead Bug
Begin by lying on back, knees up and bent at 90 degrees. Take the arms straight up overhead and hold this position for a moment, making sure abs are in tight and your back isn't arching off the floor (if it is, lower the feet to the ground for this exercise). Slowly lower the right arm and left leg towards the floor while keeping the lower back on the floor. Bring them back up and lower the left arm and right leg to the floor. Continue lowering opposite arm and leg for a total of 10 reps.

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Back Extensions
Lie face down with hands either behind the back or lightly cradling the head. Lift upper body off the ground a few inches, keeping head and neck in alignment. For a challenge, then lift feet off the ground keeping legs straight (knees don't have to be together), hold for 2-4 counts and lower.

Superhumans
Begin on hands and knees, hand directly under shoulders, knees under hips and back straight, abs tight. Slowly raise right arm and left leg up until level with the body, holding your balance and keeping torso tight. Lower back down and repeat with the left arm and right leg. Take your time--this exercise will challenge your balance!

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