The 15 Best Abdominal Exercises for Women

If you are looking to strengthen and tone your stomach efficiently, these training moves are ideal for you. By just spending a little time on it, you can obtain effective results. Fitness experts have highlighted the following, such as The 15 Best Abdominal Exercises for Women.

Try this format for a great at-home routine (and remember, it's important to consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen):
10 minute abdominal exercise routine.

  • Choose three moves from the exercises listed below.
  • Perform the movement for 30 seconds on, 15 seconds off.
  • Repeat each movement four times to complete a full set.
  • Rest one minute between sets before moving on to the next movement.

1. Plank crunches

How to: To perform this exercise, lie on your back and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle right above you. Next, perform a crunch by extending your arms past your knees and toward your ankles. After completing the abdominal movement, it is important to perform a simultaneous extension of the arms above the head and straighten the legs at an outward angle. To return to the starting position, bring your legs to 90 degrees while doing sit-ups at the same time.

Expert Tips: Personal trainer Taylor Wittick has developed a variation on the traditional crunch by elevating your legs in a tabletop position and adding an overhead extension. If you want to increase the difficulty of this exercise, you can hold a light dumbbell in both hands throughout the movement.

2. Abdominal Heel Touches

How: This exercise is performed lying on your back with your hands behind your head. We bend our knees and raise them forming a 90-degree angle and then bring our legs towards our abdomen. During the movement, we will try to touch the ground with our heels, maintaining a constant 90-degree position in our legs and without releasing the abdominal contraction. Next, raise your legs until they are vertical as you exhale. If you want to make this exercise more challenging once you've mastered the correct technique, you may consider adding ankle weights.

Expert Tips: According to Wittick, most reverse crunch exercises involve swinging your legs toward your chest. However, this movement stops before the full swing to focus on working the lower abdominal muscles. The instructor advises her to make sure to keep her back straight and not arched. You should only lower your legs as far as your core can support them, avoiding exceeding their limits.

3. Abs and reach

How to: To begin this exercise, lie on your back with your arms stretched overhead and your knees bent so your feet are flat on the floor. Use your arms as leverage to lift them up as you perform crunches, raising your head and shoulder blades off the floor. To maximize the performance of the abdominal exercise, it is advisable to place your arms between your knees in the top position. This helps take a more accurate pulse. Then slowly lower your back and raise your arms again to complete the movement correctly.

Expert tip: It is essential to keep your neck upright and avoid slouching when raising your head. This not only helps maintain good core posture, but also prevents unnecessary strain on the neck and upper body.

4. Bicycle crunches

How: To perform this exercise, lie face up on the floor and stretch your legs in front of you. Make sure your lower back is pressed into the floor. Place your hands behind your head and lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Next, pull your right knee toward your chest while bringing your left elbow toward that same knee.

To perform this exercise correctly, it is important to change position and repeat the movement on the opposite side. In this case, you should touch the left knee with your right elbow. During the movement, make sure your straight leg is suspended a few inches off the ground for best results.

Expert Tips: Pierre Armand of Fhitting Room swears by this form of exercise that has a simple but effective concept. When done correctly, it allows you to work all of your abs efficiently and effectively.

It is essential to consider proper posture when performing this movement. Avoid compressing your neck and maintain a long, elevated position throughout the exercise. You can imagine holding an apple just under your chin to help maintain the correct position.

5. Forearm plank strikes

How to: To properly perform this position, place your forearms on the floor, making sure your elbows are aligned under your shoulders. Your arms should be parallel to your body and approximately shoulder width apart.

To stabilize your body while performing this exercise, start by moving your right foot a few inches and then your left foot a few inches. While performing these movements, it is important to focus on maintaining core balance and preventing your hips from moving.

Fitness experts Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott, personal trainers and co-founders of Tone It Up, share a helpful tip. They recommend a variation of the plank that challenges the abdominals by requiring greater stability. Experts recommend starting the movement by pressing your toes into the floor and squeezing your glutes. It is important to maintain the involvement of the glutes and abdominals throughout the entire movement.

6. One-leg plank

How to: To perform the plank position, start by pressing your toes into the floor and squeezing your glutes. Next, lift your right foot a few inches and hold it there for about 5 to 10 seconds. Then, lower your right foot and repeat the exercise with your left foot. This activity is ideal for strengthening the muscles in the lower body.

Expert Tips: One way to vary this table is by using your own body weight. However, if you're looking for an extra challenge, you can try adding a resistance band on your thighs, just above your knees. On the other hand, if you want an easier adaptation, you can adopt the plank position with your forearms before raising your leg.

7. Mountaineers

How to: To perform this exercise, start in the plank position with your arms straight and your wrists aligned directly below your shoulders. Make sure your body is in a straight line, with your toes flat on the floor and your glutes contracted. Then, alternate bringing one knee toward your chest at a time. For more of a challenge, cross your right knee to touch the opposite left elbow and the same on the other side.

Expert Tip: If you want to experience a guaranteed burning sensation, we recommend performing this movement. It is important that you do it slowly and controlled. Plus, Scott suggests placing sliders under your feet to make it even more challenging.

8. Starfish Abs

How to: To begin this exercise, lie on the floor extending your arms and legs, imitating a starfish. Using your core muscles, stretch and lift yourself into a standing position, hugging your knees to form a tight ball. Then slowly lower yourself down and repeat the movement several times for best results.

Expert Tips: Dawn has popularized a v-up variation that fully extends your arms and legs at the bottom of the exercise, helping to target every inch of your abs effectively. If you're looking for an extra challenge, you can try keeping your feet off the ground between reps.

9. Alternating Straight Leg Jackknife

How: To perform this exercise, lie on the floor and stretch your arms and legs. Take a deep breath and, as you exhale, contract your abdominal muscles. At the same time, raise your right leg toward the ceiling and your left arm toward your right foot to touch it.

This movement helps strengthen the abdominals and improve limb flexibility. Slowly lower your back and repeat on the other side so that the opposite hand touches the opposite foot.

Expert Tips: When you perform this movement alternating each side, you activate different core stabilizer muscles, including the obliques. Beginners may not be able to get up off the ground at first, but that's okay.

As you progress, we recommend trying to fully lift your shoulder blades off the ground during the extension phase of this movement. This will help strengthen and work your upper back muscles even more.

10. Russian roulette

How to: To perform this exercise properly, sit with your knees bent and chest up. Next, lean your upper body forward, keeping your spine straight and engaging your core muscles.

You can choose to hold a dumbbell with both hands or simply put them together depending on your preference. You can perform side-to-side twists by controlling the movement with your hands or body weight. You can keep your heels on the ground or raise them slightly a few inches in the air.

Expert Tips: This classic ab move focuses on working your obliques. The key to the Russian twist is to tilt your back until you feel your abdominal area activate. You can perform this exercise without using weights or by holding a dumbbell or medicine ball to add additional resistance.

11. Swiss ball plank

How to: In this exercise, you place your elbows on a Swiss ball and your toes on the floor to maintain a plank position. Carefully move the Swiss ball back and forth, extending the board and then turning it inward. It is important to keep your hips stable and still while performing this exercise. This can be achieved by leaning on the abdomen or core of the body.

Expert Tips: Colleen Quigley, an Olympic athlete and member of Team USA, has shared her experience regarding using the Swiss ball in training. According to her, this ball adds instability to the exercise, requiring constant effort to maintain balance while standing on it. Quigley advises avoiding dropping your hips or lifting your butt in the air during this type of exercise. Focus on a straight line from your heels to the top of your head.

12. Side Plank Variations


1.Leg Raises: To perform this exercise, you must first start in a side plank position, making sure your body is aligned in a straight line. Next, lift your top leg up and down about 10 times, trying to touch your bottom foot with each repetition and then raising it again. This exercise is effective for working the abdominal and leg muscles.

2.Hip Dips: Begin your side plank position by extending your body in a straight line. Lower your hips slightly and then raise them in a controlled and smooth manner. This exercise will effectively strengthen and tone your abdominal and core muscles.

Expert Tips: Side planks are very effective for strengthening your oblique muscles, but they can sometimes get monotonous and boring. However, a good way to maintain interest and make time pass faster is to do these two variations proposed by Quigley. This way, you can get the benefits of exercise without getting bored in the process.

13. Santanas

How to: To begin this plank position, it is important to place your hands under your shoulders and keep your glutes tight, as well as your belly button against your spine. From there, you can move the weight to the side and allow the body to rotate as the hips open.

During this exercise, your feet will move as your body rotates. Once you reach a side plank position after turning 90 degrees, shift your weight again and return to the standard plank. Remember to alternate sides with each repetition for best results.

Expert Tips: Certified personal trainer Ally McKinney recommends adding rotation to plank exercises to fully work all layers of your core muscles. This technique allows you to effectively strengthen and tone the entire abdominal area.

Our fitness experts advise that when changing sides during an alternating movement, it is important to ensure you maintain a stable posture on the board to avoid imbalances.

14. Hollow hold

How: To start, it is recommended that you lie face up on the floor. Make sure to bend your knees and keep your feet off the ground. To perform this exercise correctly, it is important to keep your arms extended toward the ceiling and your lower back pressed against the floor. As you extend your legs, you want to make sure you don't arch your lower back and achieve the maximum stretch possible.

Remember to go slowly and carefully to avoid injury. If you can fully straighten your legs and keep them elevated without touching the floor, it is time to start slowly lowering your arms back to the starting position. This exercise is usually performed for 20 to 30 seconds at a time as part of a routine designed for beginners.

Expert Tips: According to McKinney, it's important to have a hollow position for most exercise movements out there. "By pressing and keeping our lower back low to the floor, we gain more control of our hips and help our body learn to stay in a neutral position, even when we're not thinking about it," she shares. Once your lower back begins to lift off the ground, you will have found your hollow hold position.

15. Pilates 100

How: To perform this exercise, you need to lie on your back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Next, point your toes and squeeze your heels. Next, extend your legs diagonally to form an angle of approximately 65 degrees from the floor. This position will help strengthen and tone the muscles in your legs and abdominal area.

Lift your head, neck and shoulders off the mat and extend your arms to your sides. You will want to maintain this position throughout the exercise. Keep your neck up and your chest open. A good way to exercise your arms is to start moving them up and down, keeping them straight at the sides of your body. Inhale through your nose for 5 seconds and then exhale through your mouth, also counting for 5 seconds.

Repeat this movement a total of 10 times, known as a set. You should complete a total of 10 sets or 100 movements to get the maximum benefit from this exercise.

Expert Tips: After you have acquired skill in hollow body movement, it is advisable to try the Pilates 100 exercise. This activity is an excellent option to complement any exercise routine and can be included after cardiovascular or specific abdominal exercises .

If you are a beginner and have difficulty with your legs extended during a certain exercise, you can keep them bent at a 90-degree angle to make the movement easier. As you get stronger over time, you can progress to working with your legs fully extended.

What is the most effective abdominal exercise?

When you do the basic exercises correctly, they can all be effective and beneficial for your body. These exercises work different muscles in your core, which helps you strengthen and tone the entire central area of ​​your body.

If you want to get the maximum benefits from your abdominal workouts, it is advisable to perform movements that work several abdominal muscle groups at the same time. This way, you will be getting a complete workout for your entire body, but focusing especially on strengthening your core.

If you are looking for effective abdominal exercises, I recommend considering planks in their different variations, bicycle crunches, and the hollow hold. These exercises are excellent for strengthening and toning your abdominal muscles efficiently.

How many days a week should a woman do abdominal exercises?

Performing some abdominal exercises every time you work out is beneficial and it is recommended to end your cardio or strength training sessions with one or two moves to strengthen your core. This will help maintain a strong abdomen and help improve your overall physical performance.

Fitness experts suggest that it is advisable to dedicate two to three days a week to training your abs, as mentioned above. The core muscle, like any other muscle in the body, needs enough time to recover properly. Therefore, it is important to listen to your body's signals and take the time to recover if you experience pain.

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