Core Training Progressions for Beginners

Are you just getting into the fitness game again?

The first thing you need to do is strengthen your core (all the muscles between your shoulders and hips). *Stabilization is the first step, because it will get your body prepared for mobility, strength, and power (next steps in building your fitness).

1.  Modified Plank

Plank rules:

  • Neck in neutral alignment – don’t look up.
  • Elbows are directly under the the shoulders – not out in front of you. (the rule is the same if performing these from your hands.)
  • Press your shoulders back and down towards hips – no shrugging.
  • Pull your abs in, focusing below your belly button.
  • Drop your hips down so your body is in a straight line.
  • Start from your knees (example in first photo below).
  • Hold position while focusing on the breath for 10 seconds, build your time from there.
  • Try straightening out one leg for added difficulty (second photo below).


You can add a stability ball (unstable surface) directly under the hips for an added challenge.


If you are more of a intermediate/advanced exerciser, click on SB plank photo above to give you intermediate/advanced progressions.  Don’t start those exercises until you have perfect form with modified exercises.

2. V Sit

V Sit rules:

  • Neck neutral
  • Chest lifted
  • Shoulders retracted and depressed (pull a towel apart to focus on shoulder/scapular stability)
  • Abs pulled in
  • Heels pressed down to floor
  • Lean back only as far as you can with your spine straight – no collapsing (first photo below).
  • Hold position for time, and breathe!
  • Increase difficulty by straighening out one leg (second photo below).


3.  Bridge

Bridge Rules:

  • Lay in a supine postition, knees bent and hip width apart.
  • Pull a towel apart while pressing shoulders into the floor and towards your hips (photo 1 below).
  • With abs pulled in, slowly lift hips by squeezing your glutes (photo 2 below).
  • If you are too unstable, drop towel and put your hands by your side.
  • Don’t let your knees drop in together.
  • Hold position for time.
  • To increase difficulty, bring your feet closer together, then try to straighten out one leg (photo 3 below).
  • When knee is extended, don’t let your hip drop down on that same side.


Challenge yourself by building on your time until you hit a minute.  THEN you can increase to full planks, v sit w/ double leg extension (and arms overhead), and stability ball bridges.

*Remember to see your physician before starting any new fitness program.


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