There’s more to ab workouts than classic crunches and sit ups. While both may help increase abdominal strength, if you’re looking for a flat, toned belly, you’re looking for some serious ab exercises for women. Here are a few to get you started:
Scissor kicks are one of the most intense ab exercises for women. Lie flat on your back and place your arms either at your sides or under your behind, palms down, for support. Raise your legs toward the ceiling, forming a 90-degree at your waist. Quickly beat your legs, crossing feet at the ankles and alternating right, left, right, left. As your beat them, making a scissor motion, slowly lower your legs toward the ground, keeping them as straight as possible. Keep going, moving your feet quickly, but lowering your legs slowly, until they’re about three inches above the ground. Then, continuing to cross your feet in an alternating pattern, raise your legs back to the 90-degree starting point. Come back up as slowly as you went down. If you need more of a challenge, place your hands begin your neck and raise your upper body in a sit-up position. Repeat five times before resting. Perform three reps.
Butterfly Lifts are the more modern version of the classic crunch. Lie on your back, placing your hands behind your head to support your neck. Glue the soles of your feet together and let your knees spread apart in a butterfly position. At the same time, while keeping your entire back directly on the ground, lift your upper and lower body and exactly the same time, with great control. Remember, speeding up won’t necessarily help you here. You’ll get a better workout by moving at a slow, yet controlled pace.
Sit up straight on a yoga mat, or soft carpeting, with a straight back. Slowly lift your legs, balancing on your tailbone. Stretch your arms out to the sides. Begin to straighten your knees, little by little. The moment your back starts to arch, stop, bend your knees an extra inch and hold there. If you can straighten them, push them all the way out. If not, no worries- you just have something to work toward. Now, holding your arms out straight, pulse tiny, quick motions. Do this for 30 seconds before resting for a moment. Repeat for a total of five reps.
The plank is known for increasing strength at a rapid pace. There are several ways to perform the plank. A great place to start is on your elbows. Usually, planks are performed from your hands, but this can be tough on your wrists and arms. If traditional planks are too challenging, the elbow plank is a great way to still work your tummy without putting too much stress on your wrists. To get started, place your elbows directly beneath your shoulders, and balance on your toes so that you’re suspending your body about a foot off of the ground. Intentionally engage your abs, and push them slightly up so that your back is perfectly straight. Hold for as long as you can, and then hold for another 10 seconds. Repeat two more times. For more planking ideas, check out our plank workout roundup.
-“10 Ab Exercises Better than Crunches” Women’s Health
-“Best Ab Workouts to Tone and Get Ride of That Belly” HuffPo
-“24 Fat-Burning Exercises (No Crunches!)” Health
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