The article below is part of our in-depth April Fool’s coverage. April Fools! If this post gives you some serious planche envy, check out our ultimate guide to doing an actual, real-life, no-foolin’ planche. Or if you’re looking for easier ab exercises, check out these 10 simple plank variations.

A strong core is fundamental whether you’re a strength athlete or not. It supports the spine, improves posture, lowers your risk of injury, and of course, chiseled abs can’t hurt during swimsuit season.

The truth is that for many of us, the kinds of advanced ab exercises that are thrown into the typical muscle mag are far beyond our reach. Almost everyone who types for a living knows what I’m talking about — you’re no gymnast. Planks? Sit-ups? What am I, a cover model?

We’re making things a little more beginner-friendly with our favorite ab exercises for first-time or novice exercisers. Every marathon begins with a first step, and your road to a six-pack starts here!

The Planche

This couldn’t be simpler: lie on the ground. Lift your feet off the floor, and push with your hands until your entire body is one or two feet above the ground. This is a great way to build stability that carries over to squats, pushing, and pulling movements as well.

Planche too tough? Never fear, try one of these instead:

Fingertip Planche

All you need to do here is perform your standard planche, but push into the fingertips, which will eliminate the pressure on your palms and thereby reduce the strain on your joints, making for a simpler, more easily attainable position.

If that’s still too difficult, don’t be frustrated — try the following movement, and we’re sure you’ll eventually be able to perform a boring old regular planche in no time.

The Three-Fingered Planche

Before you decide this isn’t feasible, note that this isn’t even actually a three-fingered planche, it’s six fingers altogether. You just use three on each hand.

Now, we’ve covered the most basic ab exercises on Earth, but there are some movements for seriously untrained folk — usually administered in children’s functional fitness classes — that may be applicable for a small portion of the population that can’t manage a simple three-fingered planche.

Two-Fingered Planche Push-Ups

Again, this is really four whole fingers. But if you need to scale…

One-Fingered Planche Push-Up

It’s not even a finger, it’s a thumb. Two thumbs. Piece of cake. Beach body, here I come!

Believe it or not, this has been part of our in-depth April Fool’s coverage. April Fools! If this post has been giving you some serious planche envy, check out our ultimate guide to doing an actual, real-life, no-foolin’ planche. We’ll be back to normally scheduled content shortly 🙂

Featured image via @lucaallen_ on Instagram.

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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.