Effective ab workouts for women are an important focus when creating a fitness routine. A strong core or abdominal area is important for overall body stability, particularly spine protection. If you cannot maintain balance during exercise, you risk potential injury. Luckily, there are a number of ab exercises to try that require no special equipment beyond an exercise mat.
The Bicycle Crunch
The most effective ab workouts for women should always include the bicycle crunch. This exercise engages all of the muscles in the abdominal area, particularly the rectus abdominis and the obliques, otherwise known as the “six-pack” muscles and “waist” muscles.
To execute this exercise, lie down on the floor and place your hands behind your head for support. Press your lower back area into the floor and raise your knees to a 45 degree angle. Pump your legs slowly in a bicycling motion while twisting your torso up. Touch your left elbow to your right knee and then your right elbow to your left knee. Take care not to pull on your neck and breathe in and out evenly. Your goal is to do 10-15 crunches and repeat the set three times.
The Superman Exercise
For overall abdominal strength, the Superman exercise is quite effective. Lie down on the floor, face down and stretch your arms out over your head. (Picture Superman when he is flying!). Raise your left arm a few inches above the ground at the same time as your right leg. Hold this pose for up to five seconds and then repeat the process with the opposite leg and arm. You should work up to 10-15 poses per set and repeat the set three times.
The Long Arm Crunch
Traditional abdominal crunches can strengthen and tone your stomach area but a variation called the long armed crunch is actually more effective at toning your six-pack muscles.
To perform this exercise, you lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, just like the traditional version. However, with this type of crunch, you will extend your arms over your head and clasp your hands together, keeping the arms tucked in by your ears. Engage your abs, pulling your navel in and elevate your shoulder blades off the floor. Lower this pose and repeat 10-15 times per set and repeat the set three times. Keep your neck steady during this exercise to avoid straining it.
If you have not engaged in a regular fitness program for a while, it may take some time to work up to multiple sets of these exercises. Also, keep in mind that ab workouts for women should not be the your only exercise to lose weight and define your stomach area. A healthy, balanced diet and an effective cardio workout are necessary to help melt away the fat in your stomach area so that your ab muscles can be seen to their best advantage.