Are you struggling to get rid of stubborn stomach fat? Are you sick of doing 100 crunches a day and seeing no results? Trust us, you are not alone. You’ll struggle to find a woman that doesn’t want a flat stomach and a rock hard six-pack.
While the dream of having a firm core may feel out of reach, it can be done. Take heart, you, your granny, your younger sibling, everyone has abs, you just need to unveil them.
Repeating the same ab exercises every day can become tedious for not only the mind, but also the muscles. Your muscles are smart and get ‘bored’ of the same routine, making it much harder to see results. This is why you should switch things up once in a while, have a varied routine, and try out some new exercises.
We will look at the best stomach exercises for women, some additional tips as well as the actual benefits from a strong core, that goes way beyond aesthetics.
Let us introduce you to your ab muscles
The best core exercise routines for women target all four muscle groups in your core.
Meet your ab muscles:
- External Abdominal Obliques: the outer layer of abs on your sides; they run diagonally downward
- Internal Abdominal Obliques: lie just underneath your external obliques; they run diagonally up your sides
- Rectus Abdominis: two sheets of muscle that flex forward from the ribs to the pelvis (‘six-pack’ muscles)
- Transversus Abdominis: the deepest ab muscle which wraps around the waist to support your spine
To successfully target and tone all four muscle groups, it’s essential to perform a selection of stabilization exercises. This means, your focus should be on stability, breathing, and smooth, coordinated movement.
This will strengthen the muscles of the core and help you learn where each muscle is and their function in each exercise before you even start to move.
Unlike conventional crunches, stabilization exercises will work more muscles and burn more calories, in turn helping you lose weight and tone up.
Whether you're working out at home or in the gym, here are some ab exercises for women you can try out two or three times a week to help you get a stronger core.
Stomach Exercises For Women
The great thing about these ab exercises for women is that you can incorporate them into your schedule no matter how busy you are.
Resistance and stabilization exercises like the plank will help you in achieving your goal of strong abs as well as target basically your whole body. This static exercise engages your back, shoulder, glutes and of course your abs. Your muscles work together in harmony to keep you stable and still. To avoid any risk of injury, start with the high plank, for 30 second holds and build from there.
To do a high plank, place your palms on the floor, shoulder width apart. Keep your legs straight behind you with your feet hip width apart, tuck your tummy in and keep your bum inline with your back and legs. Engage your core, glutes and quads to feel the burn. Once you have mastered this, there are so many more variations to explore to add more burn and keep both your mind and muscle entertained.
- Side Plank: Lay on your side, feet together. Raise your hips so your body is in a straight line from head to toe and engage your core.
- Plank Rotations: Get into a high plank position, twist your body slowly and reach your arm out towards the sky. Hold, then return slowly to the original high plank position, then repeat on the other side.
- Up and Down Plank: Start in a high plank position, bend your left elbow on the mat, then repeat with your right elbow. Strengthen your left arm and straighten to return to palm to mat position, and then repeat with your right arm.
- Plank Toe Taps: Start in high plank position, lift one foot to tap to the side then return, then repeat on the other side.
Adding sit-ups to your regular routine will help you burn more calories in the long run. This controlled movement puts your abs, external obliques, hip flexor and quads under pressure. Although it is a simple movement, it is powerful.
To do a traditional sit up, lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent. Tighten your core with your hands lightly placed on the back of your head, then bend your hips and waist to raise your body from the ground. Once you are sitting up straight, lower your body back down into the starting position. Repeat. Increase the intensity over time by adding weights or switching up movements to one of the following.
- Butterfly Sit Up: Up the intensity. Lie back on the mat, extend your arms past your head. Bend your knees and have the soles of your feet facing one another to create a diamond shape. Crunch your abs up to a sitting position, and reach forwards towards your feet. Slowly lower back down to the starting position and repeat.
- V Sit Up: Crank it up a notch. Grab a weighted plate or a set of dumbbells. Lie flat on the mat, extend your arms above your head, hands touching the floor. Squeeze your abs, lift your shoulders and legs off the floor at the same time. Try to reach your hands to your feet. Lower back down, and repeat.
Ditch the traditional crunch. They don’t encourage your abdominal muscles to work their full range of motion and when done improperly, they can be taxing on your neck and back. Besides, why put your full energy building muscle when you can build lots of your muscles at once?
Bicycle crunches require you to move your body more, helping you engage your rectus abdominis, both of your oblique muscles, and your hip flexors, way more efficiently compared to an average crunch. Adding this move to your workout routine can help to tone up your belly and lose some belly fat.
No equipment is needed. Simply lie on your back with your legs stretched in front of you. Bend your knees and plant your feet firmly to the ground. With your hands placed lightly behind your head, contract your abs and lift your knees to a 90 degree angle. Crunch to bring your right elbow toward your left knee and extend your right leg. Switch sides, then repeat.
Russian Twists are an oblique killer. They strengthen your core, obliques, spine, shoulders and trims down your midsection. Adding this core exercise to your routine can help you achieve a toned and strong core, burning muffin top fat and side belly fat.
Grab a mat, 5kg dumbbell or weight plate and get ready to twist. Grab your weights, sit on the mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat. Hold the plate in both hands, lean slightly back while squeezing your abs. Keep your back straight and lift your feet off the mat. Rotate your arms all the way to one side, tapping the weighted plate on the floor and then do the same on the other side.
Ab Workouts Tips
By now you probably know that there’s no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to losing belly fat and toning up your core. But it doesn’t take forever either to see some actual change. We’ve got some tips below that will help you gain better results when working out your abs:
- Abs are made in the kitchen. A clean diet, carrying out regular stabilization exercises and cardio, will reveal a dreamy layer of abdominal muscles. To get the best results you could regularly go to holistic classes, like Yoga and Pilates, which use various stabilization exercises which tone and strengthen your abs, and improve overall flexibility.
- Vary the ab workouts you do. Once an exercise becomes second nature to you, it is easy to not be as regimented or careful with your form, causing a higher risk of injury.
- Be persistent and don’t give up, it is certainly not impossible to get your dream six-pack. Simply doing 8-10 minutes a day in addition to watching your diet, will allow you to see amazing results.
- Incorporate cardio into your workout routine. Body fat composition is what can cause your abs to stay hidden. Aim to burn as many calories as you can. HIIT is also a good suggestion here again, and the good news is that we have a number of weekly classes here at Village.
Benefits Of Ab Exercises For Women
The positive results of ab workouts go far beyond what your core looks like.
Strong core muscles can not only improve your overall gym performance, but your day to day life. Having a regular ab workout routine, you’ll in turn have more energy, higher endurance and be less prone to injury, as well as improve your posture, balance and stability.
Additionally, it is said breathing training and core training go hand-in-hand. Strengthening the core will stack your body better and make it easier to breathe. This means, your overall sport performance and ability to run long distances will improve. So, if one of your life long goals is to run a marathon, keep your core in check.