Core Exercises For Women

Village Guide: The Best Core Exercises For Women 

Ladies listen up, there is more to core strength than washboard 6 pack abs. Your core is made up of a group of muscles that play a critical role in everything from your posture to how much strength and power you have when you lift weights. Having a strong core is vital for your progressive overload and endurance so, if you’re chasing those PBs, incorporate abs into your next workout. 

The best part about training abs is you don’t need fancy equipment, all you need is a space on the floor, a yoga mat and your phone as a timer and this blog will take you through ab exercises to incorporate. If you want a change of scenery, check out your nearest Village Gym and turn the heat up on your workouts. 

In this article we will cover the breakdown of your core muscles, highlight the benefits of a strong core and design a core workout for women to perform at home or in the gym!

Your Core Broken Down 

Now it’s time to get to know the muscles in your core. There are four main ab muscles you need to focus on targeting when working out, including: 

  • External obliques: are the outer layer of abs on your sides which run diagonally downwards. 

  • Internal obliques: are the opposite as they lie just underneath your externals and run diagonally up your sides.

  • Rectus abdominis: are the two sheets of muscle that flex forward from your ribs to your pelvis (aka ‘6 pack’ muscles).

  • Transversus abdominis: are the deepest ab muscles which wrap around the waist to give support to your spine. 

Therefore if you’re new to fitness or new to working abs, you will need to try and target all of these muscles when working out. Don’t worry though, people often forget that when you’re performing compound exercises you’re engaging your core.

Benefits of Core Workouts For Women

Ab building is so much more than physical aesthetics, strong abdominals can help you perform everyday tasks with more ease and improve your overall health and wellbeing. Let’s talk you through some benefits of strong abs: 

  • A strong core will improve your posture, especially when it comes to maintaining the right pelvis alignment. 

  • A strong core will support your lower back and strengthen your spine reducing potential lower back aches.

  • A strong core will increase your balance as your muscles will work together to stabilise your spine and pelvis.

  • A strong core will also lead to improved sports performance as your muscles will be working in sync to allow more strength and power to be exerted. 

  • A strong core will also improve your breathing as you have greater control over your core muscles to work together. 

Become the best version of yourself and start prioritising your core strength because the benefits outweigh the short term pain of an ab circuit.

Whether you’d prefer to pick a spot in your living room, or grab a space and yoga mat at Village Gym, our ab circuit is perfect for beginners and gym addicts. We’ve listed our favourite ab exercises below to help you improve your overall strength and wellbeing.

Best Core Workout For Women 

  1. Sit ups 

  2. Bicycle crunches 

  3. Jackknife 

  4. Leg raises 

  5. Russian twists 

  6. Plank 

Looking for a beginner core workout for females? Check mate. Try out our ready-made 12 minute ab attack. Prepare to feel the burn but remember, the pain is only temporary, the results are worth it. Plus, you don’t need any equipment! 

Perform each exercise for 45 seconds and give yourself 15 seconds to recover before going into the next one. Once you’ve completed all six listed above, give yourself a 30 second rest and then do the circuit again! 

Sit Ups 

Let’s start by working your torso and put your external obliques, hip flexor and quads under pressure. Sit ups should be controlled so please don’t use your arms to thrust yourself to the top, engage your core. 

How to sit up: 

  1. Grab a gym mat and space on the floor. 

  2. Lie with your back, glutes and feet pressed to the floor and your legs bent. 

  3. Place your hands on either side of your head, just behind your ears. 

  4. Squeeze your core, bend your hips and waist to help raise your body from the floor.

  5. When you reach your knees, begin to lower your body back down into the starting position slowly and then repeat. 

Bicycle Crunches 

Bicycle crunches will target your rectus abdominis muscle, the upper abs which we all know as the six-pack muscles. Basically we want you to cycle horizontally. 

How to bicycle crunch: 

  1. Press your lower back flat into the mat.

  2. Now lift your knees up to form a 90 degree at your hip and knee.

  3. Place your hands behind your head, then crunch your stomach and bring your right elbow towards your left knee and extend your right leg. 

  4. Alternate sides by bringing your left elbow towards your right knee and extend your left leg. 

  5. That’s 1 rep. Now keep going until the 45 seconds is up.


Keep the pressure on your abs whilst we perform the Jackknife which is a core exercise designed to strengthen the upper and lower ab muscles, specifically the transverse ab muscles. 

How to jackknife:

  1. Lie on the floor with your arms and legs stretched out. 

  2. Engage your core, slightly raise your arms and legs off the floor with your knees slightly bent. 

  3. Then curl your body so you bring your arms up and over towards your knees, whilst you bring your knees up towards your torso - they should meet above your abs. 

  4. Slowly ease back down to the starting point but don’t lie flat on the floor, stay elevated with your arms and legs slightly hovering to keep the tension until you’ve finished your rep. And repeat. 

Leg Raises 

Leg raises are often incorporated into ab routines as they help strengthen your rectus ab muscles as well as your internal and external obliques. 

How to leg raise: 

  1. Press your back on the floor with your arms by your side, palms down and legs out straight (some people like to put their hands under their glutes too).

  2. Push your stomach into the floor to keep your back flat then, engage your core and slowly raise your legs simultaneously. 

  3. Aim to stretch your legs up towards the ceiling, keeping your toes pointed. 

  4. Once you’ve reached as high as you can, lower your legs back down in a smooth and controlled movement. 

  5. Stop before they reach the ground. That’s 1 rep, repeat. 

Russian Twists 

Russian twists will kill your obliques - just a forewarning! This ab exercise can be performed with a weight plate or dumbbell if you’d like to challenge yourself. 

How to russian twist: 

  1. Start by sitting on the mat with your feet in front of you and your knees bent. If you’re using a weight, hold this in front of your chest. 

  2. Lift your feet off the floor and keep your knees bent. 

  3. Keep a tall spine, lean your torso back so you’re at a 45 degree angle from the floor and 90 degrees from your thighs. 

  4. Use your arms to twist your body to the left, tapping your finger tips or weight plate on the floor. 

  5. Twist back to the centre and then continue to the right. 

  6. Again, twist back to the centre. This is one rep, repeat.


Last but not least in our ab circuit. The plank is a bodyweight exercise that targets muscles all across your body including your abs, back, shoulders and glutes all at once. So engage your muscles in harmony and stay centre and static. 

45 seconds may be a struggle to begin with especially if you’re a beginner, so it’s ok to start with 30 seconds. 

How to plank: 

  1. Start on all fours, then place your forearms on the floor, shoulder width apart so your elbows are stacked beneath your shoulders. 

  2. Tighten your core then step both legs back behind you to create a straight line from your feet to your head, hip width apart and tuck your tummy in. 

  3. Now keep your core, butt, quads engaged until the timer goes off.

Another Beginner Core Workout For Females

If you’d like to switch it up, dedicate more time to building your core strength, read our beginners' ab exercise blog to give more variety to your ab workouts and find out the ab exercises that work best for you. Within this blog you can learn how to perform mountain climbers, reverse crunches, shoulder plank taps and so much more. 

Plus, if you want to up the intensity within your workouts, we would recommend adding a Les Mills CXWORX class to your workout schedule where you’ll enjoy 30 minutes of bodyweight, resistance and weighted exercises to improve your overall functional strength, including your core.  Get yourself on our App or website and book your CXWORX class. 

That’s right, at Village Gym we listen to our members and take care of their needs by creating alternative workout plans to suit your needs.

Core Workouts For Women FAQs 

Do core exercises burn belly fat? 

In short, core exercises alone will not burn belly fat, that’s a myth. The only way to reduce stomach fat is to reduce overall body fat and then tone your ab muscles through strength training. 

What is the best overall core exercise? 

This is personal to you. Strength training your full body will engage and strengthen your core and additional ab circuits will help put pressure on your different ab muscles. 

How can a woman strengthen her core? 

To strengthen your core, you will need to be patient and consistent with your strength and resistance training. Be prepared to switch up your core workout and target different abdominals.


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