Tips for Beginner Core Workouts – Three Easy and Effective Tactics
These exercises and tips are meant for the beginner stages. They are mostly used to prevent injuries as well as build a little bit of strength. More often than not, I see inexperienced trainers teaching their clients advanced core movements. Although some of these movements may not seem advanced, they are extremely difficult and often times dangerous to a sedentary individual. Common injuries are lower back pain and strained hip flexor’s. Sedentary individuals have a habit of sitting a lot. This tightens up the hip flexors and puts a lot of stress on the back. Let’s go over the tips I have for you to design an effective core workout for beginners. I learned a lot of these exercises from my NASM and ACE textbooks.
Mostly use static exercises
Static exercises are the best for beginners because they do not require movement at any joint. A sedentary individuals core is not used to moving weight at the hip joints. This is especially true if your client is overweight or obese. There are three main core exercises that I use with my beginning clients. The first exercises the plank. The plank is a great movement because it involves multiple hip and abdominal muscles. A good way to start your client off with planks is to have them be on their knees and forearms. My second static exercises called naval draw ins. In this exercise your client will be on his or her hands and knees. The goal is to pull their belly button as close to the spine and hold it there for time. This exercise teaches them to pull in their stomach and it strengthens their diaphragm in the process. The third exercise is called the floor prone cobra. In this exercise your clients will be laying prone on the ground with his or her hands at their side. The palms will be facing the ceiling and they will lift their hands and chest off the ground and hold it for time. This exercise works on the lower back while pulling back the shoulders and improving posture. These are my top three static exercises for beginners. It will prevent lower back pain while strengthening the core at the same time.
Have your clients focus on the arc of their back during each exercise
Whenever your client experiences lower back pain from core exercises it is most likely due to the arc of their back during exercise. You should teach them how their back should be positioned at the very beginning. Most lower back pain comes from some sort of “leg lifting” core exercise. Most people have trouble controlling the arc of their back because they cannot see the muscles in action. Have your client lay on his or her back. Have them put their hand under their lower back. Then teach them to flatten their back against their hand and then arc it again. Their back should be flat against the ground on any core exercise where they are facing the ceiling. Once they know how to keep their lower back flat they will be ready to plank. This will be a good starting point.
Do short core workouts
Injuries often come from prolonged core workouts. Once the muscles of the core start to give out, other muscles will come into play, and injury is common. I would suggest a short five or 10 minute workout at the beginning. Even advanced athletes usually don’t go more than 20 minutes at a time when they train their core. Throughout this short workout you should be monitoring their lower back and asking them if they feel any discomfort in their joints. You should never dedicate a whole workout to core work. It should be done the very beginning or at the very end. These muscles do not have the same amount of stamina compared to arms or legs muscles.
Building a strong core is very important. It builds a strong foundation for other movements to build off of. You should start off using static exercises especially with sedentary overweight individuals. Try starting with the three that I mentioned above. You should always pay attention to their lower back and ask them from time to time if they feel any pain. My last tips is to do short core workouts. It will prevent injuries but will be just as effective as longer core workouts. Here is a link to a lot more beginner core workouts from the sports injury clinic. I hope this helps you with your beginning core workouts! Check out some of my other articles in the personal training tips section such as personal training tips for beginners and personal training for seniors. Also if you’re interested in becoming a health coach check out my review of my favorite certification here, as well as my article on how to become one!