Exercises to Model Your Middle!
If you loved eating muffins but now have a muffin top, you’re at the right place.
You need to start worrying about the flab when your waist measures more than 35 inches. I know losing belly chub can be a task but worry not!
Unlike popular belief, only crunches or planks won’t get you anywhere. And neither can you eliminate belly fat only. Burning calories as a whole is a more holistic approach towards your health.
Along with a diet, a proper sleep schedule and a good workout schedule, you can accomplish your targets. The key is patience and dedication.
Strengthening your core means working your 24 muscles. Train these muscles present from the shoulders to your butt. And this is exactly why you’re reading this post- to learn the best ab exercises for women.
You can do your core workout thrice a week (not consecutively). If you’re looking for a more intensive routine, it’s okay to train abs daily. While it’s okay to exercise your abdominal muscles, make sure your exercises vary and don’t strain yourself. Target strength, stability, and power separately.
Suck in your belly button when working out towards the spine for the best results. This will work all your muscles.
Now let’s get to work! Here’s a list of 29 ab exercises for women to get you fabulously fit:
1. Become an Alphabet
‘V’ is the letter you’re looking for. This is better known as the ‘boat pose’ or ‘Navasana’ in yoga and it gets your lower abs working and tones your hip flexors.
Sit down with bent knees so your feet are flat on the ground. Lean back slowly and lift your legs up. Your sitting bones and tailbone will help you balance while you outstretch your arms with palms facing upwards. Make sure your back is straight. Congratulations! You are now a ‘V’.
Initially, hold the pose for 15-20 seconds and slowly increase the time to 60 seconds.
Keeping raised legs straight is hard. You can use a strap to hold your pose when you begin. Hold the strap tightly and keep it firm as you loop it around your soles.
Except for strengthening your abdomen, the boat pose also improves digestion and relieves stress.
2. A Crunchy Plot Twist
You know crunches, we’re just going to reverse them.
The beginning is easy. Spread out your yoga mat, any mat, or a carpet. Lie down on your back. Make sure your legs are outstretched and your toes point upwards. Relax any tight muscles in your torso and take a deep breath. Tuck your hands under your bum or press your palms on the floor.
Inhale and lift your hips off the floor as you tighten your abs. Use your core to crunch inwards, hold it at the top of the movement and slowly lower your hips just above the ground. This is one repetition. Wait for a moment before the next rep. Each rep should take you 3-6 seconds.
Throughout the movement, your back shouldn’t arch. The reverse crunch will work for your bigger muscle group and will help in building strength.
Start out by targeting 8-10 reps per set. 3 sets a day for a beginner should be good enough. You can gradually move on to 15 reps once you’ve built up the strength.
Take it slow but do the exercise properly. If it feels like your abdomen is on fire, well done!
3. High Plank
And we’re back to the basics. Simple things are always effective. The path to mastering this foundation exercise is the correct form.
Get down on all fours and keep your hands straight right below your shoulders. For good support, spread your fingers. Now elevate your knees and balance on your hands and toes. Your spine shouldn’t bend, knees shouldn’t lock and neither should your hips come up or down low. Your core ought to be rock hard while your body will be a straight line.
Your initial target time can be 25 seconds which you can increase with time. While you’re planking, inhale and exhale.
4. Alligator Drag
Here’s presenting the boss of all planks! The alligator drag is a cocktail exercise mixing strength, stability, and power. Find a relatively big space that allows you to move for 15-20 yards (45- 60 feet) which will be your runway.
What you need next is something that allows you to glide on the floor. For example, towels on wooden floors or dinner plates on a carpet.
Place your feet on your glider and get in the plank position. Tighten your core and use your hands to move forward on your ramp. For a beginner, 10 yards should be a decent target. After walking to the end of the stretch, take a rest (60 seconds or more) and walk back to your starting point. This is one repetition. Do one more.
Post this exercise, tell your belly chub, later alligator!
5. Mountain Climbers
You’re sure to feel the burn with this one.
Start off by getting into the plank position. You know you’re doing it right when the balls of your feet and toes are holding you up. Keep your core tight and make sure your body is in a straight line.
Now lift one knee and bring it inwards toward your chest. Bring this knee back to its original position and pull in the other knee. Keep switching knees at a good pace to mimic a running movement. Keep your abs stable and solid throughout to maintain a good form in the plank. Remember to breathe with each switch.
Don’t let your toes graze the floor when you pull your leg in. To prevent injury, be aware of a properly aligned plank position. Avoid this exercise if you have a shoulder or pelvic problem.
You can start with 30 seconds per set for this exercise. If you’re beginning, start slow with 2 sets. This one is tiring but your body will surely be fit enough to move mountains!
Walk towards a fitter lifestyle with this one in your workout regime.
The beginning is fairly simple. Stand straight and then bend down from the hips to plant your hands on the floor. Your palms should be a few inches from your toes. Here’s where the devil enters.
Throw your weight on your hands and use them to walk ahead. Of course, keep your core solid. While hand-walking, keep your back flat. Walk until you’re in a pushup position- your body will be a straight line.
Walk back to where you started.
7. Touching Your Tippy Toes
The single-leg toe crunch is great for your midriff.
Lie down on your back with your legs outstretched. Raise your arms towards the ceiling and simultaneously lift your shoulders and left leg off the floor. Your hands should touch the big toe of your left foot.
Now switch legs. Just make sure your hands are straight at all times. Core strength is the target of this exercise.
8. Shake That Booty
What? How can I shake my butt and get abs? Say that to the low plank hip swivel aka our next entry in this list.
Let’s get started with the low plank hover. Your body should be balancing itself on its forearms and the balls of the feet and toes. It should be in a straight line. Now, swivel/rotate your hips to the right side and bring them down towards the floor. Hold for a couple of seconds and then back to pavilion. Do the same on the left. At this point, I don’t even have to tell you to keep your core solid. Continue alternatively grooving your bum for 5 dips on each side.
Your paradise will be the day when you can hold a 60-second plank while doing these dips. Breathe, breathe, breathe and try and dip as low as possible. Your entire core will ache and that’s precisely why we keep swiveling.
9. Bicycle Crunches
I wonder why strenuous exercises begin by lying down on the floor. *Sigh*
Lie on your back and your hands go behind your head. Your knees will be evenly spaced and at a 90° angle relative to the floor. Elevate your knees and keep them slightly bent. Your shoulders shouldn’t be touching the ground. Pull your left knee to your chest as your right elbow touches it. Do this vice versa.
Crunch with one knee while the other is extended away from the body. Get used to the movement and target 15 crunches per set in the beginning. 2 sets are ideal but if you tire, even 1 is decent.
10. Side Plank
Time to become the airplane emoji! This is a true test of core stability because you’re balancing your body on 2 points. Moreover, this is a buy-one-get-three-free exercise because it strengthens your arms, back, and core.
The side plank torches your obliques- the muscles found in the side of the abdominal muscles. To begin, lie down on your right side, with your legs outstretched. Your elbow will be under your shoulder and your head in line with your spine. You may keep your left arm parallel to your left side. Suck in your navel and tighten your core. Lift yourself up from the mat as you exhale. Your posture will be straight, 45° relative to the floor.
Hold your pose for 60 seconds and then gradually relax. Switch sides and begin again. Side planks are difficult and it’s okay if you can’t Superwoman them at the first go. Don’t get overexcited and strain your body. You can start with 10 second holds several times. Remember to not sag your hips and to balance on the side of your foot.
Good luck with aligning your body in a proper diagonal line!
11. The Mermaid
Chill, you won’t be swimming.
Also known as the double leg straight stretch, this pilates exercise will work your upper AND lower abs.
Roll out the red carpet, I mean your mat. Lie facing upwards and keep your legs straight up. Join your heels but pint your toes outward to make a ‘V’. Your hands go beneath your head.
Curl your shoulders up while tightening your lower torso. Now start lowering your legs slowly. You may do it in three stages or in one go. Take your legs as low as possible without them touching the ground or you disrupting your alignment. Hold the pose.
Now breathe out and lift your legs again. Repeat this 5 times at least. Make sure your back doesn’t arch.
Yay, you’re now a mermaid.
12. Dead Bug
Hola trunk muscles! You’re about to get torched.
Lie down on the floor, face-up on a mat. Your hands and legs should be up in the air, knees bent 90° relative to the floor.
Make sure your back isn’t arching and your core is hard. Simultaneously lower your right arm and left leg till they almost touch your mat. Hold for a few seconds and bring them back to the initial position. Now do the same with the left arm and right leg.
For a beginner, 2 sets of 10 reps are enough. Focus on keeping your spine in contact with the mat at all times. Breathe.
The dead bug is a great exercise for any new mums out there.
13. Low Plank Dolphin
This is a version of your regular plank, it’s just cuter. Your core, arms, legs, and back will get toned once you start with this killer exercise.
We begin with the dolphin pose but with bent knees. Now slowly walk back till you’re in the low plank (forearms and toes) position. Check your form and keep breathing at a regular pace. Your body should be a horizontal straight line. Engage your core.
Keep your shoulder blades tight and move them away from the spine. Similarly, broaden your collar bones. Press your weight on your heels – throw it back while simultaneously keeping your tailbone low. Try and hold the pose for a minute.
14. Plank Jacks
You’ve heard of jumping jacks so far, here’s introducing plank jacks.
Get into a high plank position in proper form. Balance on your toes and keep your core solid. Jump out on your toes and then jump in. When you jump out, your legs should be at shoulder width.
Plank jacks work your abdominal muscles like crazy, taking you one step closer to the perfect abs.
15. Pilates 100
This exercise is a classic and targets your abdominals.
Lie down on a mat. Elevate your legs at a 45° angle relative to the floor. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Your arms will be at the side, above the floor. Your core better be hard, and you better be breathing evenly. Your chin should be pointed towards your abs and not upwards.
Start pumping your arms up and down in a fast but regular manner. Hold your pose. The strain should be felt in the abdomen, not the neck and shoulders. Now inhale and exhale shortly 5 times each (1 cycle). Target 5-10 complete cycles. Then pull your knees down to the chest, breathe and relax.
16. Half Burpee
Bet you’re rejoicing after reading the word ‘half’. Not so soon.
Stand upright. Now bend at the knees, placing your palms in front (a frog position). Hop out to a high plank position and hold for a couple of seconds.
Then hop back into the frog position. Then jump out again.
3 sets of 10 reps are a good target to start with. Maintain your form and go back and forth from the squat position.
17. Become a Butterfly
I mean, butterfly sit-ups.
Lay on your back and make a diamond with your legs. They should be in a butterfly stretch. The knees should fall open and the soles should be joined. Keep your hands at the chest and roll up to touch your elbows to your knees. Then curl back.
You may also keep your hands extended above your head and touch your toes while curling up.
Exhale when curling up, inhale when curling down. Relax the other muscles and focus only on your abs. Your constant effort should be keeping the legs as close to the body as possible.
18. Reverse Plank Leg Lifts
Something else to do with a plank? Again?
Sit with your legs outstretched, hands behind facing in. Throw your weight on your hands and lift your body up, balancing on your heels. Your body should be straight. Now lift your right leg to the ceiling and try and keep your toes pointed. Bring your leg down and repeat the steps with the left leg.
Start off with 30 seconds per set. 2 sets are advisable for a newbie. Then gradually lower your torso to the floor.
19. High Knees
I know exactly what you’re thinking. What do knees have to do with abs? Well, my friend, knees don’t but high knees do.
Your hip flexors are engaged in this exercise and your abs too. Stand up straight with your feet apart and start running in place. Don’t stomp your feet, be as light as you can. Try and bring your knees as close to your chest as possible without slouching. Keep your back straight and CORE TIGHTENED.
If you’re feeling advanced, try high knee twists. In these, you keep your arms in front of you, twist your body to the side of the knee raised and you crunch your torso.
20. You’re On a Roll
Rolling planks are fairly easy once you’ve mastered your form.
Now put your left knee on the ground and engage your core. Rotate your hips to get into the side plank position with your right hand shooting upwards. Then return to the original position.
Do the same after bending your right knee. Twist your way to abs!
21. Russian Twist
Some more twisting, ladies.
Elevate your feet after you sit straight with your knees bent. Lean back and clasp your hands in the middle of your torso.
Twist to your left and clench your abs. Return to the initial position. Then twist towards the right and do the same.
Start with 10 reps in one set and begin with 2 sets.
22. Flutter Kicks
Keeping your legs off the floor surely can’t be that hard? Hahahaha. It is.
Any fat accumulates around your hips and abdomen will disappear once you start fluttering. Spread out a mat and lie down. Outstretch your legs while keeping them together. Your palms should be facedown on the ground (your hands are on the side of your body). You may also keep your hands beneath your lower back. Engage your core.
Elevate your legs slightly above the ground and start scissoring. Move each leg up and down alternatively. Neither of your legs should touch the floor. Rest for 15 seconds maximum between each set.
Improve your balance and posture with these kicks and sculpt your abs.
Better known as the opposite arm and leg raise, it brings you closer to those badass abs and helps with balance.
Get down on all fours. Extend your right arm ahead at shoulder height and your left leg behind at hip height. Try stretching the both of them. Hold this position for 3-4 seconds and return to the dog pose.
Repeat the process with the left arm and right leg. Keep a goal of 15 reps when you begin, gradually increasing it as you go.
24. Squat and Twist
This is fairly self-explanatory. Stand up straight and then squat down with your knees bent 90° relative to the ground. Twist your torso to the right.
Return to the start position. And squat and twist to the left. It’s very crucial to keep your form in check while squatting or you may injure your back. The weight should be on your heels.
20 reps (10 for each side) should be your target.
25. The Cobra
Finally some stretching.
Roll out your mat and lie facedown, legs outstretched. Place your palms near your chest, by your body’s side. Now lift your torso off the floor and feel your rib cage stretch like taffy. Try and elevate your hips and thighs too. Come down slowly.
Repeat this process 10 times to slither your way to no pooch.
26. Core Roll-Up
It’s time to fold yourself like a towel.
Lay down facing the ceiling and extend your arms behind you on the floor. Keep your abs tight. Slowly bring your arms up overhead but make sure they’re stretched straight.
Lift your shoulders off the floor followed by your spine. Once your lower back is also up and you’re in a sitting position, continue going forward.
Fold yourself over your legs and aim to touch your toes with your fingers. Then roll back down and reach the starting point where you lay down. This is one rep.
27. Scissor Switches
Cut off any lethargy in your bod with these switches. Lie face-up on a mat and extend your legs. Your arms should be stretched overhead.
Bring your right leg up and use your hands to pull it toward your torso. Lift your shoulder blades as well as your left leg above the floor.
Switch your legs so the right one is a few inches above the floor while the left one is pulled towards you. Keep alternating legs in a scissoring motion to get those abs you’ve dreamed of.
28. Lateral Plank Walk
As if regular planks weren’t hard enough.
Get in the high plank position and check your form. Flat palms? Hands shoulder-width apart? Core engaged? The balance on toes?
Okay, now take a step towards the right using your right hand and leg simultaneously. Then take another step using the left hand and leg. Kudos to you, you’re walking while planking. This is one rep.
Change the direction after one set is over.
29. Crab Toe Touch
This exercise will work you up pretty good but don’t get crabby.
Sit down with bent knees and hands behind, fingers facing your bum. Lift your butt off the floor and kick your right leg up, touching it with your left hands. Alternate the same with your opposite limbs. That is 1 rep. 30 seconds to one minute is the ideal time for a set for beginners. Target 2 sets and then increase.
These should be enough for you to get started on your way to a flat tum. Be safe by checking your form before each of these. Don’t overexert yourself- the last thing we need is an injury. Take it slow and remember that results take time. Just be consistent and you’re sure to rock these planks, kicks, crunches and more! Good luck and here’s wishing you a fit journey!