Best Ab Exercises for Women

Strengthening Our Core

Ab exercises for women, along with a back strengthening routine, help to strengthen our core body. Strong core muscles help us to more easily do most of life's activities.

If our core is not strong, simple things like tying your shoes become more difficult. A weak core can also lead to poor posture and low back pain.

Besides the aesthetics of strong abs, maybe even six pack abs for women, and besides helping you to do life's everyday activities, the strength you develop in this area of your body by doing ab exercises for women will also help you with pretty much all other weight training workouts. In fact, it is important to consciously stabilize your abdomen and core muscles when you do any other weight training workouts.

Caution About Working Your Abs

Focusing only on our abs and ignoring other parts of our core can lead to bad posture. Bad posture can cause other physical problems over time.

It's important to have a balance between the muscles of our abdomen and the muscles of our lower back (erector spinae). So be sure to also do back strengthening workouts to ensure core body health and prevent problems from only working the abs.

Equipment for Ab Exercises for Women

Abdominal exercise can be done in your home with little or no equipment and at the gym with specialized equipment. If you're serious about weight training for women, don't waste your time on infomercial machines you see on T.V.

List of Abdominal Exercises for Women

Click on the links for detailed instructions for these exercises.

  • Leg Raises
  • Leg Raises from a Bar

    Leg Raises in an Abdominal Chair

  • Pelvic Lifts

  • Pelvic Rotations

Continue reading this page for more general info about abs and some things to avoid.

What are Abdominal Muscles?

Our abdominal muscles are composed of several muscles: Rectus Abdominis, Transverse Abdominis, and the External and Internal Obliques. So you'll need to do different abdominal muscle exercises to target the front of your body and the sides of your waist.

Rectus Abdominis

The Rectus Abdominus is the set of muscles that goes down the front of your torso from your sternum to your pelvis. This is the part that makes up six pack abs for women (and men). Their main purpose is to keep your rib cage and your pelvis closer together.

It's a common misconception that we can do upper abs exercises and lower ab exercises. In fact, the upper and lower parts cannot be worked separately. Any exercise you do to work the upper abs of your Rectus Abdominis will also work the lower part and vice versa.

Although this is the abdominal muscle that so many people want to work to get six pack abs, it shouldn't be the only part of your abs that you focus on. A strong, full set of abs are necessary to support your spine and keep your lower back healthy.

Transverse Abdominis

The Transverse Abdominis are our deep abdominal muscles. They run laterally around our abdominal area. This part is particularly important for stabilizing the trunk of your body.

Internal and External Obliques

These are the muscles that run along the side of your body. When you think of doing an exercise for love handles, these are what you are going to work to get rid of love handles (but remember that working out alone will not get rid of all your unwanted fat, you also have to alter your diet to lose weight to get rid of the flab).

Ab Exercises for Women to Avoid

If you're old enough, you might remember your Physical Education classes in school. Sit-ups used to be part of the standard routine: knees bent, maybe someone holding down your feet, hands behind your head and lift your torso all the way up to your knees with your back rounded. Ouch!

The potential for injury to your low back make these traditional sit-ups something to avoid. I sometimes wonder if this is why so many of us now have low back problems!

Mike Geary, the author of the best-selling The Truth About Abs, recommends avoiding the following old-school ab exercises for women:

  • Sit-ups with feet supported.
  • Straight legged sit-ups.
  • Hanging leg raises with an arched back.
  • Floor leg raises with straight legs and an arched back.
  • Machine-based twisting.
  • Machine crunches.

Geary says that these exercises are at best ineffective and at worst, they potentially put undue stress on your lower back and can cause injury.

Other abs exercises to avoid because they can cause injury are: Roman chair sit-ups and double-leg lifts. Old school sit-ups with your hand behind your head can also injure your neck.

BTW, the above link to Geary's program is an "affiliate link." That means I'll earn a commission if you buy his great program. It costs you the same, but if you prefer not to support this website, you can go directly to his page at

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