The 10 Best Ab Workouts for Women

The 10 Best Ab Workouts for Women

Looking to build that core? Reconnect with your post-baby stomach muscles? Here are the 10 best ab workouts for women. Sit up and read on!
We’re not all in the market for a sleek six-pack.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t have strong, fierce mid-sections.

Whether you’re looking to find your center, reconnect with your body after having a baby, or simply get stronger and fitter, we’ve got you covered.

And don’t worry—these ab workouts for women come with a full helping of zero judgment.

They’re all about helping you build a stronger core, touch base with your body, and enjoy the shape you’re in.

In this article: 📝

  • What’s the best way to get abs for a girl?
  • What is the most effective ab exercise?
  • What is the #1 ab exercise?
  • What are the different ab muscles?
  • Our best ab exercises for women
  • How to get the most out of your workout:
  • There’s no “one size fits all” with fitness

What’s the best way to get abs for a girl?

If you’re working towards a leaner belly, the simple answer is that exercise and eating habits both have to be part of the equation.

There’s really no other way around that, we’re afraid.

But—and this is very important—if you have a history of disordered eating, please be sure to consult a professional before embarking on any kind of diet.

Also, remember different body types respond differently to workouts.

Oh, the beauty of genetics!

A healthy body can be any shape or size.

So with all that in mind, if you want to get stronger and fitter and strengthen your core, there’s no better time to start than now.

We guarantee your body will thank you!

How can a girl get abs in 2 weeks?

Here’s the good news, you’ve already got ’em.

Everyone has abs.

It could actually be said that anatomically everyone has a six-pack.

Some of us just keep ours in a soft cooler box.

Visible abs are just more developed and have less of that cooler bag covering, making them easier to see.

The not-so-good news is that if a chiseled belly is what you’re after, it’s almost impossible to get a shredded six-pack in just two weeks.

Healthy development takes a lot of work and potentially some dietary changes.

So we’ve got another idea—if you want to set a two-week goal, focus on kickstarting healthy habits that’ll help you get stronger and fitter in the long term.

What is the most effective ab exercise?

Every personal trainer has an opinion on this one, but one thing they do agree on: it’s NOT just crunches! (We were shocked too!)

Crunches don’t use the full range of abdominal muscles, and people often use momentum and their hip flexors to do the work.

What is the #1 ab exercise?

In a study by the American Council on Exercise, the most effective ab exercises are the bicycle crunch, captain’s chair, and crunches on an exercise ball. (Don’t worry, we’ll explain these in a moment!)

Other experts favor the plank or other sit-up-based variations.

But there is one thing they ALL agree on—you need to do a variety of ab exercises to really target all the different ab muscles.

What are the different ab muscles?

Rectus Abdominis

Meet what most folks think of as “the six-pack” muscles.

They are two paired sheets of muscle from the ribs to the pelvis that flex or bend you forward.

Transversus Abdominis

This is the deepest ab muscle.

It wraps around your waist to support your spine.

External Obliques

These outer layer abs are on your sides; they run diagonally downward.

Internal Obliques

These muscles run diagonally up to your sides and are just underneath the external obliques.

Right. Now that you know what you’re targeting, let’s look at the how.

Our best ab exercises for women

1. The bicycle crunch

This one takes its lead from the traditional crunch:

  • Lie on your back, ensuring your lower back makes a connection with the floor.
  • Then with your hands gently cupping your head and your elbows out, bring your left knee towards your right elbow. The unbent leg remains straight out above the floor.
  • Then swap!

Beyond targeting the “six-pack abs,” this one also targets the deep abs and obliques, adding a great cardio element to your workout.

Just make sure not to pull on your neck or crunch it in.

Keep an imaginary orange between your chin and chest and your gaze up.

2. The captain’s chair

This is one of the best ab workouts for women at the gym.

It uses a piece of equipment that looks like a chair without any seat.

Brace yourself on the armrests and slowly lift both legs to a 90 deg angle.

It’s a toughie but a goodie.

3. Exercise ball crunch

This one requires an exercise ball and mimics a traditional crunch.

The ACE found that although it generated less ab activity in the obliques and RAs (or “six-pack” muscles) than other exercises, it made less use of the thigh muscles.

So the abs that were working were well-targeted.

  • Sit on the ball and walk forward with your feet until your lower and middle back rests against the ball, knees at 90 degrees.
  • Crunch as usual. You’ll get more range of movement in your spine than in a traditional crunch.

Just remember to always protect that neck.

4. The plank

This is such a great core strengthener.

  • Start on your belly, then raise yourself onto your toes and elbows or hands.
  • Keep your body in a straight line, no arching or tenting!
  • Make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders and keep your head in line with the rest of your body.

Do this for between 20-60 seconds, depending on your fitness level.

5. Dead Bug

  • Begin by lying on your back, with your arms extended straight above your shoulders and knees bent in the air at a 90 deg angle. (Dead bug, right?!)
  • Make sure your low back remains grounded at all times to prevent injury.
  • Slowly straighten and lower one leg while keeping your arms straight up and your hips still.
  • As soon as your back begins to arch, you’ll know you’ve gone too far. If this happens, bring your leg up until your low back is safe again. That’s your lowest point.
  • Now alternate legs slowly and with control.

6. Reverse crunch

  • Again, begin on your back on the mat.
  • Bend your knees and slowly bring them as close as you can toward your face, lifting your lower back as you do.
  • The mid-back remains on the ground.

7. Russian Twist

  • Seated on a mat, lift your bent legs and lean back with your chest upright until you feel core engagement. Your body will sort of look like a V.
  • Then twist slowly, with control, dipping your hands from side to side.
  • For this exercise, you could use a weight or just hold your hands together as you move, depending on your fitness level.

Great for obliques!

8. Bear crawl

Just what it sounds like!

Walk on all fours and build strength in your shoulders, wrists, core, and hip flexors.

9. Mountain climbers

  • Assume the plank position and “run” your legs back and forth, keeping the bulk of your weight on your arms.

This one will also get your heart rate up.

10. Flutter or scissor kicks

These are two of the BEST lower ab workouts for women.

  • Lie face up and glue that lower back to the ground.
  • Place your hands alongside your body or under your buttocks for extra support.
  • Lift your legs, keeping them straight, and flutter them up and down as close as you can to the floor without arching your back. Feel that burn!

Scissor kicks are similar.

  • Criss-cross your ankles one over the other. We can’t stress enough how important it is that your low back stays on the ground.
  • Bring your legs as high as you need to maintain proper form.

How to put that all together:

  • Pick three exercises above.
  • Aim for 10-20 reps of each exercise, alternating between exercises.
  • Rest for one minute between each set of three exercises before starting the set again
  • Change up the sequence to keep it interesting and fun!

For example:

  • 10 Dead Bugs
  • 10 Russian twists
  • 20-second plank
  • Rest
  • Repeat 2-4 times

How to get the most out of your workout:

Here are our top tips:

  • Always work with control—don’t cheat using momentum.
  • Warm up. Don’t launch into any exercise without taking some time to stretch and wake your body up gently.
  • Start slowly and gradually, working up to a high number of reps or more complex exercises. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is your core.
  • Forget the adage “no pain, no gain”. If something hurts, stop and rest. Hard physical work can be unpleasant, and as you’re building fitness, you’ll undoubtedly experience that. That’s no reason to stop. But pain is never good. If it persists, get checked out by a physio.
  • For all exercise, even running, make sure to pull your belly button to your spine. This will activate your core.
  • When working on your back, it is imperative to keep that lower back grounded is imperative. We can’t stress this enough. It keeps your spine in a neutral position and prevents injury.
  • And don’t forget that orange under your chin. Be gentle with your neck!

There’s no “one size fits all” with fitness

Society tells us one kind of body is the right kind of body.

And that it looks a certain way.

But we at Peanut are here to tell you that yours is already the right kind of body.

But if you want to get stronger, we’ll always support that, and your body will thank you later.

Here’s to better posture, less back pain, better balance, and just enhancing your everyday movement.

🏋️ More from The 411:
10 Postpartum Exercise Tips for New Mamas
Exercise During Pregnancy: 8 Helpful Tips
What is Sexercise? Work Out Your Way to Better Sex
Postpartum Exercise Tips
An Intro to Postpartum Yoga
Your (Realistic) Postpartum Workout Plan
8 Chest Exercises for Women
Your Complete Guide to Pregnancy Workouts
What’s the Best Prenatal Workout?
What to Know About Running While Pregnant
Can You Lift Weights While Pregnant?
What Are Metabolic Workouts for Women?

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