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The 20 Best Ab Exercises For Women

Published September 11, 2018 (Revised: October 16, 2019)
Ben Kissam

Written By: Ben Kissam, BS

Ben has a B.S. in Movement and Sports Science and over 7 years Certified Personal Training Experience.

ab-exercises-for-women
<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context":"http://schema.org", "@type":"BlogPosting", "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "Ben Kissam, BS" }, "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Warrior Made", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.warriormade.com", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/10/best-women-ab-exercises-thumbnail-0005.jpg" } }, "headline":"The 20 Best Ab Exercises For Women", "datePublished":"2018-09-11", "dateModified": "2019-10-16", "description":"The best ab exercises for women share three things in common. These 20 movements all fit the bill.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/10/best-women-ab-exercises-thumbnail-0005.jpg" } </script> <script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What Is the Most Effective Ab Exercise?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Regardless of gender, good ab exercises target the four major muscles in your core:<br />External obliques- connect the front muscles (abs) to the back muscles (erector spinae) and help with rotational movements. <br />Internal obliques- deeper than the external obliques, helps stabilize your torso and protect your spine. <br />Transverse abdominis- your deepest core stabilizing muscle. It helps stabilize your trunk when you move your limbs. <br />Rectus abdominis- the muscle you see when you see a six-pack (4). Also protects your organs and helps you cough." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "What Exercises Burn the Most Belly Fat?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Any of the ab exercises in the last section (see: “The 20 best ab exercises for women”) can help burn belly fat—when paired with a healthy diet. <br />As the adage goes, “abs are made in the kitchen”. And several studies confirm that this popular fitness saying is true." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "What Exercises Help Women Get Abs?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Now you know how much diet matters. If you’re a woman and you’re serious about getting abs, here are some other crucial considerations (besides what you eat):<br />Pair ab exercises with aerobic exercise- The Journal of Obesity found that high-intensity exercise is the most effective for reducing belly fat. That’s a sign that workouts like circuit training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can help tone your midsection.<br />Choose compound exercises- Compound, or full-body exercises burn more calories than single joint or isolation exercises. Over time, these higher calorie workouts can help you lose more fat." } }] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">What Is the Most Effective Ab Exercise?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">What Exercises Burn the Most Belly Fat?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">What Exercises Help Women Get Abs?</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">The 20 Best Ab Exercises for Women</a></li> <li><a href="#section5">Best Ab Exercises for Women—Wrap-Up</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>The term “ab workouts” is pretty broad. A quick Google search will bring up thousands of variations. But not all core-targeting exercises are created equal.</p> <p>The <i>best</i> ab exercises for women share a few things in common: they train the <i>right</i> muscles (there are four) and work more than one at a time. And they can plug right into the most effective fat-burning workouts.</p> <p>Here’s a quick explanation of which core movements you should pick for workouts, and our 20 favorite ab exercises.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section1"> <h2>What is the most effective ab exercise?</h2> <p>Regardless of gender, good ab exercises target the four major muscles in your core:</p> <ul> <li><strong>External obliques</strong>- connect the front muscles (abs) to the back muscles (erector spinae) and help with rotational movements <sup><a href="https://www.physio-pedia.com/Abdominal_Muscle_Anatomy" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer">1</a></sup>.</li> <li><strong>Internal obliques</strong>- deeper than the external obliques, helps stabilize your torso and protect your spine <sup><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4395677/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer">2</a></sup>.</li> <li><strong>Transverse abdominis</strong>- your deepest core stabilizing muscle. It helps stabilize your trunk when you move your limbs <sup><a href="https://study.com/academy/lesson/transversus-abdominis-function-origin-insertion.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer">3</a></sup>.</li> <li><strong>Rectus abdominis</strong>- the muscle you see when you see a six-pack <sup><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4339139/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer">4</a></sup>. Also protects your organs and helps you cough <sup><a href="https://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/rectus-abdominis-muscle" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer">5</a></sup>.</li> </ul> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section2"> <h2>What exercises burn the most belly fat?</h2> <p><i>Any</i> of the ab exercises in the last section (see: “<a href="#section4">The 20 best ab exercises for women</a>”) can help burn belly fat—<i>when paired with a <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">healthy diet</a></i>.</p> <p>As the adage goes, “abs are made in the kitchen”. And several studies confirm that this popular fitness saying is true.</p> <ul> <li>According to a 2011 study from the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21804427" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer"><i>Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research</i></a>, abdominal exercise by itself had no effect on reducing abdominal fat over a 6 week period, though muscular endurance (how long you can exercise without fatiguing) improved.</li> <li>A few other studies that found exercise’s ability to affect weight loss by itself is limited <sup><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3925973/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer">6</a></sup> <sup><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4864009/4" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer">7</a></sup>. Exercise can prevent obesity, but good diet habits are more important when trying to lose weight <sup><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK278961/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer">8</a></sup>.</li> </ul> <p>Training your abs during workouts is useful. For example, core training can prevent injuries and improves coordination and balance <sup><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3806175/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer">9</a></sup>. But eating the right food in the right amounts matters even more.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section3"> <h2>What exercises help women get abs?</h2> <p>Now you know how much diet matters. If you’re a woman and you’re serious about getting abs, here are some other crucial considerations (besides what you eat):</p> <ul> <li><strong>Pair ab exercises with aerobic exercise</strong>- The <i><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2991639/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Journal of Obesity</a></i> found that high-intensity exercise is the most effective for reducing belly fat. That’s a sign that workouts like <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/circuit-training-for-weight-loss/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">circuit training</a> and <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">high-intensity interval training</a> (HIIT) can help tone your midsection.</li> <li><strong>Choose compound exercises</strong>- Compound, or <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-best-full-body-workout-for-weight-loss/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">full-body exercises</a> burn more calories than single joint or isolation exercises <sup><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5552187/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer">10</a></sup>. Over time, these higher calorie workouts can help you lose more fat.</li> </ul> <p>Continue to the next section for our 20 best ab exercises—many of which are compound movements and fit perfectly in circuits or HIIT workouts.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section4"> <h2>The 20 Best Ab Exercises For Women</h2> <h3>1. Diaphragm breathing</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-diaphragm-breathing-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-diaphragm-breathing-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-diaphragm-breathing-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-diaphragm-breathing-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-diaphragm-breathing"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> Breathing into your belly helps you engage the deep core muscles, like the transverse abdominis.</p> <p>You can do these standing, seated, or lying down. Beginners should start on their back.</p> <ul> <li>Lying on your back (or while standing or seated), put your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your belly.</li> <li>Take a few deep breaths in. <i>Take note of which hand rises: left or right?</i></li> <li>Practice inhaling <i>and</i> exhaling through your belly—the left hand should raise first.</li> </ul> <h3>2. Dead bugs</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-dead-bugs-1-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-dead-bugs-1-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-dead-bugs-1-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-dead-bugs-1-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-dead-bugs"> </picture> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-dead-bugs-2-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-dead-bugs-2-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-dead-bugs-2-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-dead-bugs-2-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-dead-bugs"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> Dead bugs help you activate your core when your limbs are active, which transfers to other exercises.</p> <ul> <li>Lie down on your back. </li> <li>Extend your arms above your head toward the ceiling. Bring your feet toward the ceiling over your hips, with a slight bend in the knee. </li> <li>Simultaneously, and in a controlled manner, extend your right leg out while bringing your left arm overhead. Stop a few inches before touching the ground.</li> <li>Return your arm and leg to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.</li> </ul> <h3>3. Kneeling side plank</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-kneeling-side-plank-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-kneeling-side-plank-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-kneeling-side-plank-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-kneeling-side-plank-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-kneeling-side-plank"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> Helps to strengthen the obliques and increase core stability.</p> <ul> <li>Lay on your right side. Prop yourself up with your right elbow and knee as points of contact on the floor. Extend the left leg out or behind you.</li> <li>Hold this position.</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/glutes-101-best-exercises-for-your-gluteus-maximus/" rel="noreferrer">Squeeze your glutes</a> and core. Avoid letting your hips sag toward the floor.</li> </ul> <h3>4. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/plank-exercises-to-activate-your-core/" rel="noreferrer">Plank</a> holds</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-plank-hold-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-plank-hold-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-plank-hold-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-plank-hold-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-plank-hold"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> As a compound exercise, this trains several muscle groups at one time.</p> <ul> <li>Start on the floor. Make four points of contact with the floor: both forearms and both feet.</li> <li>Squeeze your glutes and flex your belly (this is known as a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/how-to-do-a-hollow-hold" rel="noreferrer">hollow hold</a>—see exercise #5).</li> <li>Again, avoid sagging hips. Also avoid bringing your hips up in the air. Keep everything in one straight line.</li> <li>Work up to holding this position for one minute.</li> </ul> <h3>5. Hollow holds (beginner)</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-hollow-holds-1-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-hollow-holds-1-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-hollow-holds-1-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-hollow-holds-1-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-hollow-holds"> </picture> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-hollow-holds-2-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-hollow-holds-2-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-hollow-holds-2-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-hollow-holds-2-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-hollow-holds"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> The hollow position forces your whole core to work as one unit. Plus, you can advance them easily (see exercise #6).</p> <ul> <li>Lying on your back with your arms overhead and your legs together on the ground, “glue” your rib cage to the floor.</li> <li>Flex your abs as you lift your upper body and legs off the ground simultaneously. Squeeze your butt. You should be balanced on your mid and lower back.</li> <li>Hold this position for as long as you can.</li> </ul> <h3>6. Hollow rocks</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-hollow-rocks-1-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-hollow-rocks-1-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-hollow-rocks-1-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-hollow-rocks-1-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-hollow-rocks"> </picture> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-hollow-rocks-2-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-hollow-rocks-2-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-hollow-rocks-2-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-hollow-rocks-2-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-hollow-rocks"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> They’re a more challenging version of the hollow. You can use them after you get strong at the holds.</p> <ul> <li>Lying on your back, “glue” your rib cage to the floor. Your abs should be flexed.</li> <li>Bring your arms go over your head and legs raise off the floor. Lock your knee. Keep your rib cage glued to the floor.</li> <li>Gently rock back and forth on your lower back or butt (you can also hold still and do hollows as an isometric exercise). Initiate the rock from your hips if possible, and avoid swinging your arms or kicking your feet.</li> </ul> <h3>7. Russian twists</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-russian-twists-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-russian-twists-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-russian-twists-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-russian-twists-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-russian-twists"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> You’ll strengthen your abs and obliques at the same time. Plus, you can do them in a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-better-way-to-do-core-exercises-from-a-chair" rel="noreferrer">chair at work</a>.</p> <ul> <li>Sit on your butt. Slightly bend your knees so your heels are on the floor.</li> <li>Make a fist with your hand.</li> <li>Raise your heels off the floor about six inches. </li> <li>Bring your clasped fist from side to side, making contact with the floor if you can. Follow your hands with your eyes (your head should turn with the upper body).</li> </ul> <h3>8. Flutter kicks</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-flutter-kicks-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-flutter-kicks-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-flutter-kicks-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-flutter-kicks-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-flutter-kicks"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> They’re great for targeting your lower abs.</p> <ul> <li>Lie on your back with your hands underneath your butt. </li> <li>Lift both your (straight legs) off the floor about 6 inches, keeping your back (especially your lower back) on the floor.</li> <li>Do short, small kicks with your feet (pretend you’re freestyle swimming). </li> <li>Each time you kick four times (two on each side), count one rep.</li> </ul> <h3>9. L-sit</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-l-sit-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-l-sit-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-l-sit-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-l-sit-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-l-sit"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> They strengthen your abs, lower back, hip flexors, arms and shoulders all at once.</p> <p>You can do these with parallette bars or practice them by placing two chairs together. Make sure whatever object you put your hands on is sturdy.</p> <ul> <li>Place your two objects (parallettes, chairs) a little wider than shoulder width apart*. Be sure you are using objects that won’t slide on the floor surface beneath them. </li> <li>Place your hands on them and lift yourself with straight arms, pressing through the shoulders.</li> <li>The goal is to bring your legs straight in front of you (that way, you look like an ‘L’). If that’s too hard, tuck your knees to your chest.</li> </ul> <p>*One way you can measure this is the distance between your elbow and fingertips.</p> <h3>10. V-ups</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-exercise-v-ups-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-exercise-v-ups-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-exercise-v-ups-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-exercise-v-ups-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-exercise-v-ups"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> V-ups are a good way to strengthen your lower back (which can prevent or reduce back pain).</p> <ul> <li>Lie on your back and place your arms overhead. </li> <li>Put your feet together and point your toes.</li> <li>With straight legs, lift your upper and lower body off the floor simultaneously.</li> <li>Keeping a tight core, reach for your toes with your hands. At the top of the exercise, your body will look like a ‘V’. You should be balanced on your butt in this position.</li> </ul> <h3>11. Alternating single leg v-ups</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-alternating-single-leg-v-ups-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-alternating-single-leg-v-ups-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-alternating-single-leg-v-ups-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-alternating-single-leg-v-ups-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-alternating-single-leg-v-ups"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> These work by isolating one side so you can fix any muscle imbalances you have.</p> <ul> <li>Lie on your back and place your arms over your head towards the ceiling.</li> <li>Put your feet together and point your toes.</li> <li>With straight legs, lift your upper body and one leg off the floor simultaneously. Keep the other leg on the ground (easier) or six inches off the floor (harder).</li> <li>Reach your hands to your toes.</li> </ul> <h3>12. Low bear crawl</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-low-bear-crawl-1-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-low-bear-crawl-1-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-low-bear-crawl-1-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-low-bear-crawl-1-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-low-bear-crawl"> </picture> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-low-bear-crawl-2-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-low-bear-crawl-2-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-low-bear-crawl-2-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-low-bear-crawl-2-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-low-bear-crawl"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> Besides being great for core strength, bear crawls are a fantastic cardio exercise.</p> <ul> <li>Start on all fours. You’ll need some space to move forward, so consider doing these outside.</li> <li>With straight arms. your hands under your shoulders, and your knees bent 90 degrees. Your knees should be underneath your hips.</li> <li>Lift your knees off the ground one inch. Crawl forward.</li> <li>As you crawl, move opposite the hand with the opposite foot*.</li> </ul> <p>*As you do this exercise, keep your hips and shoulders steady. You shouldn’t be wiggling side to side.</p> <h3>13. Lateral bear crawl</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-lateral-bear-crawl-1-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-lateral-bear-crawl-1-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-lateral-bear-crawl-1-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-lateral-bear-crawl-1-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-lateral-bear-crawl"> </picture> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-lateral-bear-crawl-2-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-lateral-bear-crawl-2-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-lateral-bear-crawl-2-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-lateral-bear-crawl-2-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-lateral-bear-crawl"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> They’re a great full-body cardio exercise. They’re also great for lat strength.</p> <ul> <li>Start on all fours. You’ll need some space to move side to side, so consider doing these outside.</li> <li>With straight arms. your hands under your shoulders, and your knees bent 90 degrees, crawl to the right or left*.</li> <li>Alternate sides or travel back and forth.</li> </ul> <p>*Same thing as with regular bear crawls. Keep your hips and shoulders steady. You shouldn’t be wiggling side to side. Keep your knees one inch off the ground throughout.</p> <h3>14. Inchworm to hollow</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-inchworm-to-hollow-1-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-inchworm-to-hollow-1-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-inchworm-to-hollow-1-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-inchworm-to-hollow-1-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-inchworm-to-hollow"> </picture> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-inchworm-to-hollow-2-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-inchworm-to-hollow-2-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-inchworm-to-hollow-2-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-inchworm-to-hollow-2-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-inchworm-to-hollow"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> An awesome dynamic exercise to practice the hollow position, plus they work your upper body, too.</p> <ul> <li>Start on all fours.</li> <li>With straight arms, inch your hands forward one at a time. Keep your abs glued down and squeeze your glutes.</li> <li>Go out as far as you can. At the end position, pause for 5 to 10 seconds, maintaining a good hollow position.</li> <li>Watch your hands as you go. This will keep your neck neutral.</li> </ul> <p>Holding a good hollow during this exercise is important. If your hips start sagging or moving toward the ceiling, take a break. Focus on good form!</p> <h3>15. Ceiling stomps</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-ceiling-stomps-1-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-ceiling-stomps-1-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-ceiling-stomps-1-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-ceiling-stomps-1-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-ceiling-stomps"> </picture> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-ceiling-stomps-2-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-ceiling-stomps-2-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-ceiling-stomps-2-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-ceiling-stomps-2-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-ceiling-stomps"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> They target the lower abs and glutes.</p> <ul> <li>Lie with your back flat on the floor. Lay your arms down on the floor alongside your torso, hands flat, palms down. Tighten your abs.</li> <li>Bring your legs (bent) off the floor, toward the ceiling.</li> <li>“Stomp”your heels up toward the ceiling. Your lower back should come off the floor.</li> <li>Gently return to the floor*.</li> </ul> <p>* The slower you go, the harder the exercise will be. This is a good way to progress the exercise.</p> <h3>16. Table tops</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-tabletops-1-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-tabletops-1-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-tabletops-1-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-tabletops-1-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-tabletops"> </picture> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-tabletops-2-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-tabletops-2-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-tabletops-2-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-tabletops-2-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-tabletops"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> They’re a great beginner stabilizing core exercise—and a great stretch for your shoulders.</p> <ul> <li>Start sitting on your bottom, with your palms on the floor next to your hips and your heels flat (knees bent so your bottom and feet are on the ground; not your legs).</li> <li>Simultaneously press your hands into the floor and bring your hips to the sky. Come to the top position. Your torso and hips should be in one straight line.</li> <li>Hold this position for at least one second. Hold your midline and don’t let your ribs flare up. Keep everything in one straight line.</li> </ul> <p>*You can do these as longer holds or multiple reps.</p> <h3>17. Seated leg lifts</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-seated-leg-lifts-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-seated-leg-lifts-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-seated-leg-lifts-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-seated-leg-lifts-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-seated-leg-lifts"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> They’re one of the more challenging core exercises you’ll find. If you can do them, you know you have a strong core (and if you can’t, you’ve got a goal to work towards).</p> <ul> <li>Sit on your bottom, legs on the ground straight out in front of you. Place your hands on the floor next to your hips.</li> <li>Push your hands into the floor. With straight legs, bring your feet off the floor (think of these as ‘L-Sits’ with no equipment—see exercise #9).</li> <li>If this is too hard, tuck your knees to your chest as you bring your legs up.</li> </ul> <h3>18. Side plank leg lifts</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-side-plank-lifts-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-side-plank-lifts-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-side-plank-lifts-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-side-plank-lifts-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-side-plank-lifts"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> They’re good for <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/best-oblique-exercises-for-core-strength" rel="noreferrer">oblique strength</a> and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/5-exercises-for-hip-pain" rel="noreferrer">hip mobility</a>.</p> <ul> <li>Lay on your right side. Prop yourself up with your right hand and knee (or foot, depending on strength) as points of contact on the floor, and place your left hand on your hip. </li> <li>Hold this position. Squeeze your glutes and core. Avoid letting your hips sag toward the floor.</li> <li>Bring your top leg up straight in the air. Your body should look like a sideways ‘Y’.</li> <li>Repeat on the other side.</li> </ul> <h3>19. Shoulder taps</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-shoulder-taps-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-shoulder-taps-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-shoulder-taps-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-shoulder-taps-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-shoulder-taps"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> You can use them to spice up your plank workouts.</p> <p>Follow all the cues of a good plank:</p> <ul> <li>Start on the floor. Make four points of contact with the floor: both forearms and both feet. To help with stability, start with your feet wider than a regular plank.</li> <li>Squeeze your glutes and flex your belly (this is known as a hollow hold—see exercise #5).</li> <li>Again, avoid sagging hips. Also avoid bringing your hips up in the air. Keep everything in one straight line.</li> <li>Bring your right hand off the floor. Touch your left shoulder, then return your hand to the floor. Repeat the same on the other side.</li> <li>Keep your body steady. No wiggles!</li> </ul> <h3>20. Mountain climbers</h3> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-mountain-climbers-0005.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-mountain-climbers-0005.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-mountain-climbers-0005.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/women-abs-mountain-climbers-LR-0005.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="women-abs-mountain-climbers"> </picture> <p><strong>Why they’re great:</strong> They’re great for core strengthening and an awesome low-impact cardio exercise.</p> <ul> <li>Start in a plank position. </li> <li>Drive your right knee to your right elbow, then return to starting position. Alternate sides. Do these as quickly as possible.</li> <li>Each time you “step up” with both legs, you’ve done one rep.</li> </ul> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section5"> <h2>Best ab exercises for women—wrap-up</h2> <p>As you’ve seen, there are tons of midsection-toning exercise options. But all the movements on this list check the right boxes.</p> <p>Remember: the best ab exercises for women train more than one of the four muscles groups at once, and plug into fat-burners like circuit or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. Give these exercises a try!</p> </section> </article>

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