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The Best Ab Workouts for Women

Updated on May 29, 2017
Alyssa Nichol profile image

Alyssa has a passion for fitness and sharing her favorite tips and tricks with the world. Alyssa is a wife, a mom, and a coffee enthusiast.

Summer is just around the corner. Lazy days of laying out at the pool or enjoying the sunshine at the beach will soon be upon us.

While it is not possible to spot reduce, you can spot tone. Taking time to work on weaknesses in the body or toning up those areas that need a little attention will help give you greater confidence and have you feeling amazing in your bikini!

Fitness is about more than just looking good, though. Training your core muscles is incredibly important to your overall health. A strong core can help alleviate, or even prevent, back pain. A strong core can also help you have better posture, balance, and stability.

The good news is you do not need an expensive gym membership to get fit or to maintain your progress. There are plenty of exercises you can do right at home that will have you looking and feeling your best. The following are my favorite ab and core exercises that are quick and effective.

It's important to note that in order to reveal your abs, you need to include some form of cardio in your fitness routine, at least a few times a week. My favorite is HIIT because it burns a lot of calories, boosts metabolism, and you can tone while you sweat! Nutrition is also key. Be sure to eat healthy and drink plenty of water.

Disclaimer: You should always consult your physician before beginning any fitness or nutrition program.

Planks

Planks are one of my favorite ab exercises. They work the entire core and there are plenty of variations to keep your interest and target different abdominal muscles. Proper form is important.

To start, lay face down on a yoga mat or cushioned surface. Rest your weight on your forearms, with your elbows directly under your shoulders. Tuck your toes and straighten through your legs. Tuck your booty under, press your elbows into the floor, and lift your body. Keep your gaze down. Contract your abs. Your body should be in a straight line, from the crown of your head to your heels. Be sure that you aren't sinking into your shoulders. Keep lifted and press through your heels. Don't forget to breathe! If you are just starting out, hold for 10-15 seconds. Once you've built the strength and can keep proper form, try holding the plank for 30 seconds to a minute.

Planks are versatile. There are multiple variations! These are my favorites.

  • Side planks
  • Side plank dips
  • Stability ball knee tucks
  • Plank walks
  • Plank toe touch

Get into a plank position on a yoga mat. Slowly step one leg out, touching your toe outside of the mat. Bring your leg back and repeat on the other side.

  • Plank tummy tuck

Get into a plank position. Bring one knee up to touch your elbow. Return to plank position and repeat on the other side.

Plank School with Jonathan Ross

Yoga can be done anywhere, anytime! Me, demonstrating a side plank variation.
Yoga can be done anywhere, anytime! Me, demonstrating a side plank variation.

Lying Leg Raises

The lower abs are a common problem area for many women. This is one of the most difficult areas to tone up, especially if you've had kids. One of the best exercises to help tighten and tone the lower abs is a simple leg raise.

To start: lay down on a yoga mat or cushioned surface. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Put your hands under your lower back or your booty, which ever is most comfortable. Contract your abs and slowly raise your legs up, keeping your knees bent. Slowly lower your legs, touching your toes to the ground, and then immediately raise them back up. As you build strength, work to straighten your legs.

Lying Leg Raise - LiveStrongWoman

Yoga

Yoga has many benefits: It improves flexibility, balance, and athletic performance; It can help increase muscle strength and tone; Improve cardiovascular and circulatory health; and help aid in weight loss.

Yoga can also be an important tool when training your core. I love practicing yoga at home, often finding myself following along with Adriene Mishler. Her YouTube Channel, Yoga With Adriene, offers many different yoga practices for yogis at every level. Adriene breaks down the poses, so you can be sure that you have proper form, and then encourages you to find what feels good in your body. She makes the practice enjoyable and fun. It's like hanging out with one of your best friends.

Core Strength Ritual - Yoga With Adriene

Tracy Anderson Method

Tracy Anderson is one of my favorite trainers and I love her fitness method! It's dancer inspired and helps you create your best body. I have followed Tracy's method for years and, in my opinion, it is one of the best, and most effective, workouts for women. Tracy's unique method helps you achieve those slim, toned arms, gorgeous legs, and tight, toned, feminine abs.

Tracy offers a variety of programs that fit every lifestyle. The Mat Workout DVD is a great starting point. This workout is a good introduction into Tracy's method and will tone your entire body. Pair with her Dance Cardio DVD for best results. The Metamorphosis Program is perfect for anyone who wants to completely transform her body. I like to mix and match Tracy's programs. For me, her best ab workout is on the Post-Pregnancy DVD. I love doing the ab section to help target, strengthen, and tone my entire core.

Get more information about the Tracy Anderson Method at https://tracyanderson.com

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Tracy Anderson Method Mat DVD and Dance Cardio Workout DVD.Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis Program.
Tracy Anderson Method Mat DVD and Dance Cardio Workout DVD.
Tracy Anderson Method Mat DVD and Dance Cardio Workout DVD.
Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis Program.
Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis Program.

Tracy Campoli

I first came across Tracy Campoli a few years ago, while in the midst of moving. I was in my hotel room, searching YouTube for workouts and found her backless dress workout. I've been hooked ever since. Tracy has an amazing energy that makes you feel like you are with one of your best girl friends.

While she has many fitness and lifestyle videos, my favorite Tracy Campoli workouts include her standing abs videos. They are dancer inspired and a ton of fun! It might not seem like you are doing much, but standing abs are extremely effective!

Tracy Campoli's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheTcampoli

Fit and Fab Standing Abs - Tracy Campoli

Tone It Up

Tone It Up is one of the best brands for women. Trainers Katrina and Karena are down to earth, beautiful, inspiring women. Tone It Up is all about living a healthy, balanced lifestyle and women supporting other women. It is incredible. Their workouts are effective and fun, and it really feels like you are with your best girlfriends, because you are!

Tone It Up ab workouts are some of the best. Take a look at Kat's abs and you will be inspired to get your workout in and eat healthy! They have a wide range of free workout videos and printables on their website, toneitup.com, and on their YouTube Channel.

Best 10 minute Ab Workout - Tone It Up

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    • Alyssa Nichol profile image
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      Alyssa 2 months ago from Ohio

      Glad you found them helpful! Enjoy! :)

    • Noa Keshet profile image

      Noa Keshet 2 months ago from Israel

      Great exercises! The planks are my favorite for abs and you gave me some new variations to try.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image
      Author

      Alyssa 2 months ago from Ohio

      Awesome! I hope she finds them useful! :)

    • PrometheusIV profile image

      PrometheusIV 2 months ago

      Very informative! These are great exercises all around, but my wife loves new ways to work her abs. I'll share this with her immediately!