A quick online scan and you will easily find ab workouts for women, but the vast majority of them are incredibly complicated or lacking in one key component - progression.
We want to make it easy for women to get a great ab workout without spending all day in the gym, and be able to make the workout more challenging as time goes on.
The best workout is often the one you will stick to, so you can get this one done in 20 minutes or less, and with little or no equipment.
We will perform movements in a circuit, with no rest in between movements. Once you've done each movement through, you can rest for 60 seconds before repeating any additional circuits.
1. Lying Knee Raise
Lie on your back, hands by your sides. Roll your knees into your chest, allowing your lower back to raise off the ground. Under control, return to the starting position.
Perform 12-15 repititions
Make it harder: keep your legs straight instead of bending your knees.
Yes, the standard crunch has been much maligned in recent years, then not, then again. It gets confusing for sure.
Here's the rule of thumb: if you can do a crunch without neck pain, do it. Make sure you are actually using your abs to move your upper body and not pulling with your arms on the back of your neck.
Perform 12-15 repititions
Make it harder: Hold your feet off the ground and straighten your legs.
3. Oblique Crunches
From the previous position, simply lay your legs to one side, and continue performing crunches, slow and under control.
Switch over to the other side and repeat. Make sure to do both sides before moving to the final exercise.
Perform 10-12 repetitions per side
Make it harder: Instead of an oblique crunch, you can do an oblique v-up.
When you get to this final portion of the workout, you will be feeling it for sure, but you're almost there.
Get into the plank position, elbows and toes, and hold for 30 - 60 seconds.
You made it, you can rest for a minute, and repeat if you like.
A 6-Week Prescription
If you are starting from scratch, or just easing back into the gym and working out, here is a 6 week prescription for this workout that we recommend:
- Week 1: Perform 1 circuit of the workout on Monday and Thursday.
- Week 2: Perform 1 circuit on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- Week 3: Perform 2 circuits on Monday and Thursday.
- Week 4: Perform 2 circuits on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- Week 5: Perform 2 circuits on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
- Week 6: Perform 3 circuits on Monday, Wednesday and Friday
After the 6th week, take a week to 10 days off before getting back on. After that break would be a great time to go through the 6 weeks again, this time with the "make it harder" exercise options.
Pair this workout with a good nutrition plan, some strength training and a little cardio each week, and it won't take long for you to carve a strong midsection that looks great as well.