What Are The Best Ab Workouts For Women?

ab workouts for women

Having a well toned midsection, without a doubt, is high up on our fitness goals. Achieving the fitness goal of having a flat fatless tummy is no mean feat, especially for women. This difficulty for women is simply because of body composition and lower metabolic rate than men. With regard to having a streamlined midsection, women generally tend to have a wider pelvis and longer waist. This can be a challenge for women aiming to get flat, firm abs. With that being said, having visible abdominal muscles is very achievable, thanks to numerous ab workouts for women out there.

The most important thing to remember though, is this: ABS ARE ALL ABOUT BODY FAT!

Burning body fat is very important, or else abdominal exercises on their own will be wasted time and effort. If your body fat levels are not low enough, you will hardly see any type of definition. The body needs a sufficiently low level of body fat before the muscle toning workouts can yield the desired results.

ab workouts for women

The Best Ab Workouts For Women Target The Following…..

The core muscles are composed of several major muscle groups. The best ab workouts for women targets four of the major muscle groups. The targeted muscle group are as follows:

  • Transverse Abdominus (TVA) – These are the deepest of the abdominal muscles. They run horizontally around your midsection and lie under the obliques (waist muscles). The TVA acts like a waist belt by wrapping around your spine for stability and protection.
  • Rectus Abdominus – The Rectus Abdominus is a long muscle that runs along the front of the abdomen, from the sternum down to the pelvis. This muscle group is the most superficial of the abdominal muscle groups. In simple terms, this muscle group is the ‘six-pack’ part that becomes visible with reduced body fat.
  • External Obliques – These core muscles are on your sides along the rib cage and waist, and in front of the abdomen. These muscles lay on top of the internal obliques.
  • Internal Obliques – These core muscles are stabilizing muscles that lie underneath the external obliques. They run in the opposite direction to the external obliques.

In order to target and tone these four muscle groups, you really need to be ready to undertake more than just standard sit-ups. The muscle groups can indeed be made visible, but how dramatic and quick you experience the desired goal depends on your hard work and commitment.

Healthy eating, combined with regular cardio and these ab workouts for women, are exactly what you need to develop and keep a flat well-toned midsection all year long. Religiously stick to this winning combination and you will see a MASSIVE DIFFERENCE in your midsection!

Let’s take a look at these best ab workouts for women…

Standard Plank

Even though this workout is mostly underrated, it is arguably the most effective move for working out all your abdominal muscles. This workout can be done anywhere and at any time of the day.

How it is done:

  • Get on all fours and extend your legs straight backwards so your legs are supported by the balls of your feet. Your upper-body should be supported by your lower arm (lower arm should be flat on the floor).
  • Keep your head, shoulders and hip in a straight line and look down at the floor. Looking up could put a strain on your neck muscles.
  • Fully engage your muscles, tighten your core, focus on your abdominals and ensure your hips do not dip or raise. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds or as long as you can. Try challenging yourself by adding 10 seconds to it every other day.


Side Plank

The side plank is more or less a cousin to the standard plank and it targets your obliques. The obliques are one of the problematic areas women have to target in order to get the desired chiseled sides.

How it is done:

  • Lie on the floor on your right side with your legs straight, and your left leg placed on top of your right leg.
  • Left yourself off the floor with your bodyweight supported by your right lower arm and the outside edge of your right foot. Ensure your elbow is directly underneath your shoulder and your upper arm is perpendicular to the floor.
  • Align your body in a straight line from the neck to your feet. Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat the whole routine on your left side.

Side Plank With Twist

This forces you to challenge yourself by engaging more muscles rather than simply holding a side plank.

How it is done:

  • Start in the side plank position on your right side, with your left hand behind your head.
  • Align your body in a straight line. Ensure your hips are lifted and rotate your torso downwards and towards the floor whiles swinging your left arm in between your resting arm and your body.
  • Swing your left arm back out to the starting position and repeat the twist.
  • Repeat the move 10 times and switch sides.

Plank Crawl Out

How it is done:

  • Stand up straight with your core engaged and feet together.
  • Bend down around the waist and touch the floor with both hands.
  • As soon as your hands touch the floor, walk your hands out until you reach the push-up position.
  • Walk your hands backwards, one at a time until your hands get close to your feet with your hips facing up the ceiling.
  • When your feet are flat on the floor, bend your hips and get back up to the standing position.
  • Repeat the workout 10 times.

ab workouts for women

Bicycle Crunches

How it is done:

  • Lie flat on the floor, interlock your fingers and place them behind your head.
  • Squeeze in your abs, bring your knees in towards your chest and lift your shoulder blades off the floor.
  • Straighten your right leg to about 45-degree angle to the floor while turning your upper body to your left.
  • Bring your right elbow to your left knee. Ensure your upper body twists and not just your elbows.
  • Switch sides and repeat the workout. Do 10 reps on each side. The reps can be increased as you get fitter and comfortable. Quality of this exercise is of utmost importance, there is absolutely no need to rush it. The exercise should be carried out in a controlled motion.

ab workouts for women

Weighted Flutter Kicks

This workout gives you that burn right down the sides of your midsection as you are doing them.

How it is done:

  • Lie down on your back and hold a weight (eg dumbbell or medicine ball) in your hands.
  • Lift your shoulder blades off the floor and hold the weight above your head.
  • Engage your core, press your lower back against the floor and lift up your legs. Legs should be kept straight.
  • Flutter (shallow kick) your feet up and down.
  • Flutter kick for 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and repeat the workout.

Alternate Toe Reach

How it is done:

  • Lie down on your back with your arms to the sides and raise your legs to a 45-degree angle off the floor.
  • With both legs off the floor, raise your right leg straight up and reach your left hand toward your right leg, as though you are trying to touch your right toes.
  • Return to the start position and switch sides. Do at least 10 reps on each side.

Leg Raise Reach With A Clap

How it is done:

  • Lie down on your back with your arms to the sides.
  • Squeeze in your abs and raise your legs up straight as high as you can; at the same time, raise your upper body off the floor and clap your hands behind your legs.
  • Return to start position. Ensure you inhale whiles lifting up your legs and exhale whiles returning to the start. Do at least 10 reps.

Weighted Russian Twist

This workout targets your obliques while also engaging your abdominals and lower back muscles. You can use a dumbbell, medicine ball or even a water bottle as weight for this exercise.

How it is done:

  • Sit down on the floor with knees bent, place a weight in your hands and lift your -feet off the floor.
  • Keep your back straight and slightly lean back so your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor.
  • Squeeze your abs, turn your torso to the right, pause and return to the center.
  • Repeat the exercise, with the twist being on the left side this time around. That’s one rep. Do at least 10 reps on each side.

Pilates 100s

How to do the Pilates 100:

  • Relax on the floor and place your hands, knees and feet flat on the floor whiles facing up the ceiling.
  • With your arms straight at your sides, lift your shoulder blades off the floor.
  • Raise your legs up towards the ceiling and lower them half-way. Do not let your feet touch the floor.
  • Lift your arms about 2 inches off the floor and pump them up and down with a small range of motion. Keep your elbows straight and locked.
  • Inhale for 5 arm pumps and exhale for 5 arm pumps. That completes one set. Do at least 10 reps.

Pilates one hundred

Abdominal Hold

How it is done:

  • Sit tall on the edge of a sturdy chair and place your hands on the edge of the chair with your fingers pointing towards your knees.
  • Tighten your abs, lift your feet off the floor and lift your butt off the chair.
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds or for as long as you can. Gently lower yourself back down and repeat the exercise.

Squat With Cross-Body Twist

Besides being great for working out your core and strengthening your obliques, this exercise is also a very good full body workout.

How it is done:

  • Stand up straight with feet hip-width apart and holding a weight (ideally a dumbbell) on your right shoulder.
  • Get yourself into the squat position and push through your heels to stand up straight. As you stand up straight, twist your torso and bring your left knee up to meet your right elbow.
  • Do 10 reps and switch sides.

The Bird Dog

How it is done:

  • Get on all fours with your hands directly below your shoulders. Your knees should be below your hips.
  • Engage your core, keep your torso still and extend your right arm out in front of you while extending your left leg straight behind you. Ensure you do not arch your back whiles carrying out this move.
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds and return to the start position. Do at least 10 reps on each side.

Bodyweight exercise

Toe Reach

How it is done:ab workouts for women

  • Lie on your back, straighten your legs, keep your feet together and raise your legs up in the air. Your legs should be at a 90-degree angle with your torso.
  • Squeeze your abs, lift your shoulder blades off the floor and reach your hands towards your toes. That is one rep. Do at least 10 reps.

Hanging Ab Curls

This works out all your abs but especially targets your lower abs and the deepest ab muscle. ab workouts for women

How it is done:

  • Using a pull-up bar, pull your body off the floor using either the over-arm or under-arm grip.
  • With your legs freely hanging, squeeze in your abs, bend your knees and lift them toward your chest.
  • Slowly lower your legs back to the straight-leg position. Ensure you do not swing your body while carrying out this exercise. Do at least 10 reps.



Cross Mountain Climbers

How it is done:

  • From the push-up position, bring in your right knee toward the left side of your chest.
  • Return your right leg to the start position and switch legs. That is one rep.
  • Keep alternating your legs until your perform at least 10 reps on each leg. Ensure your core is engaged while carrying out this exercise.

Burpees start pointMountain Climber

Windshield Wipers

How it is done:

  • Lie down on your back with your arms at a 90-degree angle on your sides.
  • Keep your feet together and raise your legs off the floor.
  • Gently lower your legs to one side, going as low as possible without touching the floor.
  • In one fluid motion, raise your legs back up to the center and lower them to your other side. Ensure your legs are straight and feet together while carrying out this exercise. Do at least 10 reps on each side.

The Cobra

The cobra pose will be a welcome change after the lying-down exercises above. This is a great yoga pose and it helps to stretch your abs and lengthen the front of your rib cage.

How it is done:

  • Lie face down on the floor with your palms facing the floor and close to your chest.
  • Straighten your arms and lift your upper body off the floor. You can go a step further by ensuring your hip is also off the floor.
  • Hold the position for some few seconds and then lower back down. Do at least 10 reps.

ab workouts for women

What To Takeaway…..

As highlighted earlier, achieving your body goals is not only dependent on the above ab workouts for women. Adopt a healthy eating habit, work hard on reducing your overall body fat and stay committed to your workout routine. Consistence is key!


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    • These abs workouts can equally be effective for men. Due to difference in body composition and metabolic rate, women need to do more than just standard sit-ups and crunches. Standard sit-ups and crunches, on the average, will achieve some results for a man at a faster pace than the average woman.
      Hope your question is answered. Feel free to ask more questions on the topic.

      Thanks for the comment, Alex.

  1. Nice tips Daniel. I wish my wife could do these routines. She’s doing aerobics dancing only and doesn’t want to do other routines. After a year of aerobics dancing, those fats still cling to her waist. I’ll try hard to convince her to follow your routines and be mindful of her eating habits.

    • Thanks for the great comment, Emilio. Forwarding this article to your wife wouldn’t be a bad idea. I am sure when she starts seeing the changes in her body after giving these workouts a go, she will give you a massive ‘THANK YOU’!

      Hope to see you and your wife here in the not too distant future!

  2. This is a very nice article Daniel, It is very informative and can be of great help to anyone interested. It’s like having an instructor by one’s side.

    • Thanks a lot David, for the comment. The goal here is to try as much as possible to make the description of the workouts very easy to understand. I am glad you found it informative.

  3. Very good information and instructions with pictures that are easy to follow. It is really helpful to those that want to work out and get expected results by doing so correctly and in their own time at home. I have been always trying to build these muscles on my abdomen but I never got the results I wanted due to lack of good instructions. I thought I was working hard but by reading your article I realised that it wasn’t hard enough to shape those muscles. Thank you for such a well designed exercising lesson.

    • Thanks Fany, It is nice to know my article offered some help to you. I try to make the exercise explanations as simple as possible and with pictures where required. Ab workouts require a lot of discipline and commitment. Keep working hard at it and you will soon get the results you’ve been craving for. Take care!

  4. Thank you so much for all of these great suggestions! I have been looking to step up my ab game! I have been working hard to tone my abs since having my daughter, and I love these exercises you mentioned here! I can’t wait to try some of them. Thank you for such a great and informative post!

    • Hi Madyson. Thanks a lot for the making time to visit my page and leaving a comment. Getting the desired mid-section after child birth looks very difficult, but it is very achievable. Keep working hard, stay consistent and give all the different ab workouts a try. Your hard work and perseverance will soon pay off. Take care.

  5. Amazing tips Daniel. I can do these exercises at home without going to the gym right?

    • Yes you can, Lydia. These exercises can be performed right in the comfort of your home and with no specialist gym equipments. Give them a go and stay consistent, your body will thank you later. Thanks a lot for the comment!

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