The only reason why people go through pain-inducing ab workouts is for the obvious and widely desired benefit of a tighter-looking midsection.
While we can’t exactly promise chiseled abs right away, this is also another goal for a lot of women looking to take on a stead ab workout routine.
However, ab workouts for women offer more benefits than just a pleasant aesthetic.
Abdominals are part of your core, which provides efficient spine stability.
This spine stability is extremely important as it’s what keeps you moving throughout the day, pain-free and without limitations.
So now you have two reasons to hit the mat after your morning run.
In this article, we’ll help you make this process a bit easier by offering step-by-step guides on some of the best ab workouts for women available.
If you practice these workouts regularly enough by following the instructions, pretty soon you’ll be able to complete your routine without guidance, while incorporating challenges and goals for yourself — making your firm, toned or chiseled abs that much more attainable.
How Should We Work Our Abs?
If you’re only focusing on your front abs, or where your “six-pack” is, you’re actually just working 30% of your core.
For a full ab working, you also need to work your external and internal obliques along with the muscles located underneath the obliques.
Ab workouts should be one part of a more intensive and longer core or strengthening routine. Instead of getting out of bed, plopping yourself down on the ground again for 500 crunches every day, you should be including 20 minutes of abs at the end of some sort of strength training exercise.
Even incorporating this twice a week will make a huge difference.
By adding a few abdominal exercised to the end of an intensive leg, arm or full-body strengthening workout, you’ll be able to work your abdominal muscles a lot better, and with more depth.
Also, here’s a secret for you:
Defined abs don’t actually depend on the number of reps you do, but it’s more about how much time your body is under tension for.
Taking this into consideration, you’ll want to feel the core or ab burn without resting (or as little as possible, we know it hurts).
With this type of routine and discipline, you’ll begin to see results in no time.
9 Ab Workouts for Optimal Results: A Guide
There are many different ab workouts for women, however, of course, some are more effective than others.
We tracked down the best ab exercises we could find so that you can incorporate them into your strengthening routine for optimal results.
This routine has 9 exercises, however, you can mix and match, depending on your workout routine.
For instance, if you just finished an intensive full body workout, pick three of our favorite ab exercises from below to finish off your kickass workout.
With these, try to do three sets of each and remember to power through. The least amount of rest you give yourself or the more burn you experience, the better the results.
Also, remember: Weight loss is 20% exercise and 80% diet so make sure you’re incorporating these exercises with a meal plan that works for your unique body.
It’s time to dig deep!
1. Plank With Glute Squeeze
This ab workout is a floor workout. That being said, you should incorporate this with a couple standing up ab workouts to help bring your heart rate down steadily.
First, prop yourself up on your forearms in a plank position and make sure to flex your toes.
Your body should look like a straight line and should involve a bit of difficulty to keep it that way if your core isn’t strengthened yet.
Contract your glutes and abs with every exhale. Hold this pose and breathing technique for 15 seconds. Rest by lowering your knees down for 5 seconds. That is considered one rep.
After the 5 second break, get back up into plank position for rep number 2. Do 10 reps in total.
Once you notice your core becoming stronger, you can start increasing your plank time to 30 seconds, and eventually one minute.
2. Oblique V-up
This is a great ab workout for your lower abdominal muscles.
To start, lie on your left side with your legs at a 30-degree angle from where your hips are.
Rest your left arm on the floor in an L position and place your right hand behind your head.
Next, eft your straightened legs up off the floor while bringing your torso towards your legs. Slowly lower your torso and legs back to starting position. You can start doing 15 reps on each side.
Check out a demonstration video here.
3. Rotating Superwoman
This is another mat ab workout.
Start off by lying on your back (don’t get too excited) with your arms reaching over head and your legs kept straight. Contract your abdominal muscles and lift your legs and shoulders roughly 5-6 inches off the ground.
Hold this “Reverse Superwoman” pose for 15 seconds.
Roll onto your stomach while keeping your legs and arms off the ground and hold this “Flying Superwoman” post for 15 seconds. Roll back to your starting position.
Repeat this rep six times.
Check out a demonstration here.
4. Rock 'n' Raise
Lying on your back, keeping your arms by your side and knees pointing outwards with the bottom of your feet touching each other, you’re going to slowly raise your legs.
Raise them until your toes are directing themselves towards the ceiling and your hips are raised slightly off the floor as well.
Slowly lower yourself to starting position and begin again.
Try starting off with 15 reps and increase your amount to 25 with time.
5. Knee Tuck Crunch
With this workout, you’ll start off on all fours. Bring your knee toward your chest and exhale while you do so. Try to bring your knee as far in as possible.
Next, inhale and bring your leg back and upward until it’s completely extended.
After that, you’ll exhale, bringing your knee back in towards your chest.
Switch legs and complete the same exercise for one set.
Try doing 15 reps or 15 sets.
This is a fun one and can pair well with a mat-position ab exercise.
Start standing up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a weight with both hands and lift the weight up to your chest and across to one side.
Allow your feet to pivot to help your body extend as far as possible.
Pivot your feet again as you rotate the dumbbell or kettlebell across your body, towards the opposite corner.
Next, reverse the movement so that you are lifting the weight upwards again and across your body in the opposite direction, back to your starting position. This is a complete “chop”.
Do 20 reps, 10 on each side.
Check out a demonstration of this exercise here.
7. Thread the Needle
This is another plank exercise. While in side plank position, lift your upper arm so that it’s extending overhead. Rotate your arm down, underneath your body or through the empty space between the ground and your body.
This is the “threading” part.
Bring your arm back through the space and return to the starting position. After you've finished 10 reps, switch to the other side for another 10 reps.
Check out a demonstration of this exercise here.
8. Reverse Crunch
Lie down on the mat, on your back with your hands behind your head and your knees bent.
Slowly lift your legs, maintaining bent knees. When you exhale, bring your knees towards your chest, while raising your hips off the floor.
Inhale as you lower yourself back down to the starting position. This is one rep.
Try doing 20 reps to start and increase to 15 reps in a couple weeks.
9. Cable Chops
With this exercise, you’ll need a cable attached to a weight machine, or you could also use a rubber cable and attach it to something sturdy.
Holding the cable in both hands at your chest, rotate your body sideways while stepping a few feet away from the machine. Press your arms straight out from your chest. Hold this pose and then rotate your arms away from the machine while maintaining stable hips and legs.
Return to your starting position with extended arms.
This is an excellent workout for obliques and transverse abdominal muscles while teaching your body how to work core muscles with a rotating spine.
This exercise also involves a lot of focus on movement and positioning, so check out this video to make sure you’re doing it properly.
Ab Workouts for Women at Home: Final Thoughts
So, now you’re well-equipped with a range of different ab workouts for women, it’s time to start putting them into practice.
Remember: stay strong and keep the tension for as long as possible. Pair your workouts with a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.
Also, abs don’t pop out overnight. Make sure you keep the routine fun by incorporating music or finding yourself a workout buddy. Switch up the location where you do your workout and give yourself positive daily affirmations.
You got this!