Many women will want to have a good range of intensive ab exercises in their workouts because they are looking for a smooth, strong belly. However, abdominal strength is much more than just a flat belly and an hourglass figure. Your abdominal muscles play an important role in posture, balance, and injury prevention. For women, where spinal deterioration and hip injuries are a risk as we age, maintaining strong abs is critical to keeping long-term fitness, mobility, and safety – and of course, we want to keep that smooth, sleek torso as long as we can! Let’s take a look at what ab muscles you have and what they do, and the 10 best ab exercises for women to keep those muscles strong and sexy
Exercise #1: Basic Crunch
Lie flat on the floor with the lower back pressed into the ground. Place your hands slightly either side of your head, do not lock your fingers or pull the head up. Lift your knees to a 45 degree angle. Slowly go through a bicycle pedal motion with the legs. Alternately touching your elbows to the opposite knee twisting back and forth through the core, keep the elbows back rather than forward to the chest as this could strain the neck
Upper abdominals 3 sets 10 reps
Exercise #2: Bicycle Crunch
From the starting position, keep your right leg extended so that it is hovering above the floor, and bring your left knee into your chest. Immediately after you’ve brought your left knee to your chest, extend your left leg completely so that it is straight and hovering above the floor. Bring your right knee into your chest (in a pedaling motion.) While your legs are pedaling, incorporate a twist in the upper body, meeting the knee at your chest with the opposite elbow (e.g. as you bring your left knee to your chest, twist your upper body to the right so that your right elbow touches your left knee.)
Obliques, lower abdominals 3 sets 12 reps
Exercise #3: Reverse Crunch
Laying on your back keep your knees bent, arms on your sides and take a band and hold one end each in each hand. The band should be wrapped around your shin top.
Raise your knees to the chest until the hips are off the floor. Remain in this position for 3 seconds before lowering to the beginning position.
Lower abdominals 4 sets 10 reps
Exercise #4: Flutter Kick
Get into the same position as the V hold starting position, lower both of your legs until your about 1 foot up top of the mat place your hands on each side of your body. Make sure your back is straight and begin to move both of your legs up and down while one is up the other should be down, perform this for one minute. Go directly to Modified Lower-Back Bends.
Lower abdominals 3 sets 15 reps
Exercise #5: Basic Plank
Begin on all fours, with hands directly under shoulders, knees and feet hip-distance apart and fingers spread out. If you’re a beginner, rest on your forearms instead. (This also applies to all subsequent exercises.)
Upper and lower abdominals 3 sets 30 sec
Exercise #6: Plank Jack
Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width. Keeping core tight and glutes engaged, place right elbow on ground, then left elbow on ground, hop and spread your feet apart and back together.
Upper and lower abdominals 3 sets 10 reps
Exercise #7: Side Plank Raise
Begin in standard plank position. With your abs engaged, rotate your right shoulder and hip up toward the ceiling in one fluid movement, twisting your feet so that the inside of your right foot and the outside of your left foot rest on the floor. Extend your arm so that it’s pointing toward the ceiling. Return to the starting position.
Obliques 3 sets 10 reps
Exercise #8: T-Stabilization Plank
Great for the front and sides of the core as well as the arms, chest, and shoulders as these areas work hard to stabilize throughout the movement.
Obliques 3 sets 12 reps
Exercise #9: Russian Twist
Sit down on the floor lift your legs off the ground ( if you are having a hard time keeping your feet off the floor you may place your heels on the floor). Interlock your hands and twist from one side to the other. Make sure you look at your hands when they are going from one side to the other
Obliques 3 sets 20 reps
Exercise #10: V-up
Lie with your back on a mat, and extend your arms overhead and your legs in front of you with your feet together (A). In one movement, contract your abs, pull your legs up, and touch your toes (B). Exhale as you contract, and keep your feet together throughout the move. Release back down with control. That’s one rep. Immediately contract back up, and complete the recommended number of reps for each set
Upper and lower abdominals 3 sets 10 reps