Keeping your midsection fat free is a challenge, particularly if you’re a woman, more so, after you’ve had a baby. However, it isn’t impossible, argues Dr. Michele Olson, Professor of Health and Fitness, University of Alabama. “It’s all about exercising the right way, knowing that crunches and hard core exercises aren’t the solution, and committing to a regular routine and several positive lifestyle changes.”
Are you up to make the impossible possible – and have some fun? Read on as we present to you five best ab exercises for women, crafted specifically keeping the feminine body in mind (post-pregnancy pre-menopause), endorsed by fitness instructors. Let’s get going.
#1: Rotational Lift Up – Easy Exercise Targeting The Abdominal Area
- Endorsed by: Lisa Hubbard, Pilates instructor, “Element Total Body Pilates With Mini Ball Kit” DVD Star
- What is it: The rotational lift up exercise targets the abdominal wall. It helps you tone the oblique muscles in your belly, which are otherwise really hard to flex. This is why we put this as the first one on the list of best ab exercises for women.
- How to do: Lie down on your back and keep your hands folded under your head. Bend your knees and keep them spaced apart. Inhale, lift your body, and rotate sideways (left or right) and exhale. You can go as high as you want and rotate further sideways, depending on how you feel. A session of ten reps per side ought to show you results within two months.
#2: Stability Ball Roll Out – Easy Exercise Effective For New Moms
- Endorsed by: Samantha Clayton, Olympic champion sprinter, Malibu
- What is it: Targeted at new moms, the Stability Ball Roll Out helps you flex and strengthen your spine. Moreover, it helps you tone abdominal muscles without much stress on the hip, preventing injuries and soreness.
- How to do: You’ll need a large stability ball to start with. Kneel and place your elbows on the ball. Stretch further and push the ball away from you. Push the ball as far away as possible without losing balance or contact with the ball. The more you roll the ball away from you, the more your abdominal muscles will flex, according to the lever principle.
#3: Oblique Ball Twist – Moderate Exercise To Tone Your Oblique Muscles
- Endorsed by: Bruce Taylor, Physical Instructor and CEO, Halo Rehab and Fitness
- What is it: Crunches are passé. The Oblique Ball Twist is yet another one of the best ab exercises for women that will work and flex your oblique muscles with such dexterity that you’ll see amazing results from the word ‘go’. If you are impatient about getting into shape and don’t mind a tough workout, Oblique Ball Twists are for you.
- How to do: Lie down on your back and stretch your arms to both sides. Place the stability ball between your legs and lift your legs high up. Start from the center and move down to your left following a circular arch. Stay there and count two. Then slowly move your legs up and proceed to your right. Repeat until five reps are completed on both sides.
#4: Abdomen Yoga – Moderate Exercise To Work Out The Core Abdomen Muscles
- Endorsed by: Dr. Michele Olson, University of Alabama
- What is it: Your main abdominal muscles must be toned sufficiently to match the flexibility of the oblique muscles in your stomach. That is where yoga comes into picture as another one of the best ab exercises for women. It works specifically in exercising the core abdominal muscles and in the end, you not only feel light and free, you also lose a lot of calories making your abs more “visible” each day.
- How to do: Sit straight with your limbs stretched out. Gradually lean back and make sure both your knees and elbows are bent in the process. Lean as much as possible, bending your knees to allow for stability. Once you feel exhausted, hold that position for about ten slow counts. Breathe in. Breathe out. Start again.
#5: The Standing Lift – Easy Exercise That Works The Entire Abdomen
- Endorsed by: Pete McCall, exercise physiologist for ACE Fitness Center
- What is it: If you have no time to exercise and are looking for a single workout to flex the entire abs region, the Standing Lift is something you’d love. From the oblique muscles to the abdominal wall, shoulders, back and hips, you’re exercising every inch of your upper and lower body with a grueling session of Standing Lifts. This is certainly worth a try.
- How to do: Stand with your feet apart and hold a medicine ball with your hands stretched out. Without folding your hands, bend sideways with your knees folded and take the ball to your extreme right. Count two. Now, bring it back to the original position. Repeat for the left side. Keep doing until you’ve completed 15 reps on each side.
Tips: No matter how much you exercise, even with the best ab exercises for women as listed above, there are a few lifestyle changes you’ll need to incorporate to get toned abs that make men go ‘wow’. Don’t smoke. Don’t drink. Eat healthy. Keep away from aerated drinks. Indulge in outdoor activities (hunting, hiking, running, brisk walking, swimming) as much as possible and you’ll stay fit with toned abs.