Ab Workouts For Women Who Deserve Flat Abs

abs training

Do These Ab Workouts For Women Anywhere

Ab workouts for women who deserve flat abs?  Don't we all?

​Well, if you spend most of your free time just lying around, you don't train, and feed yourself junk, then NO, you don't deserve flat abs, and you'll need to be very young, or genetically gifted to have them.

​Those who are prepared to have a little discipline, with their diet and training, and put some work into having them. You deserve flat abs, and it's really quite possible for you to get them, and to maintain them.

A flat and toned stomach radiates health and beauty. Unfortunately, it is one area that many women find difficult to conquer.

While a slender mid-section makes for a slimmer look overall, there are other practical benefits to maintaining a strong core. Importantly it helps to support and protect the lower back and stabilises you throughout most daily activity, including training.

In order to achieve a tight tummy, it is important to understand the basic makeup of the mid-section. The abdominal area is comprised of a group of muscles that work together to provide a strong foundation linking the upper body and the lower body. These muscles can be separated into a few general sections.

There are the obliques, which are a pair of muscles that run down the sides of the stomach area stretching from under the rib cage to the pubic area.

Then there are the muscles that run down the front of the stomach. These are the muscles referred to when talking about a ‘six-pack’ and can be broken down into the upper, middle and lower sections.

To achieve a flat stomach, each of these muscle groups must be challenged, but this doesn’t have to be gruelling or time-consuming. The best part of exercising the abdomen is that there is no equipment required. Done properly and regularly, the following ab workouts for women will tone and strengthen the core.

These are simple exercises that don't require any equipment, and can be done at home, in the gym, or even get outdoors in the park.  I've used a yoga mat in the park, as I really like to get outside in the fresh air to train sometimes.

Elbow to Knee Sit Ups

The elbow to knee sit up is an isolation exercise that targets the obliques. To perform, lie on the floor, bend the left knee so that the foot is flat on the floor and rest the right leg across the left knee. Keeping the shoulder blades on the floor, clasp the hands behind the head. From this position, pull the abdominal muscles in toward the spine, lift the left elbow off the floor and bring it to the right knee. At the top, squeeze the obliques, then keeping the abdominal muscles tight, slowly return to the starting position.

Repeat the movement for the desired repetitions then switch to the other side by crossing the left leg over the bent right knee and bringing the right elbow to the left knee.

For beginners, a set of ten repetitions on each side is an appropriate target. Gradually progress up to 20 reps on each side. Each set should be done two to three times. Movements should be done slowly, holding the proper form. For the more advanced, keep the spine straight upon lowering back down and stop about an inch from the floor. Start the next repetition from this position. In order to avoid injury do not use rocking motions to lift the body up. If it is not possible to bring the elbow completely to the knee at first, bring it only to the point before it becomes difficult to hold the proper position.


The plank is not only a great exercise for the upper, middle and lower abdominals; it is great for the entire body. Start in a pushup position. Next bend the elbows and lower down shifting weight from the hands to the forearms. Pull the stomach into the spine to keep the body in a straight line. Do not let the hips drop or the rear rise. Hold for one minute. If this is not possible, hold for as long as possible, then take a five second rest and repeat until the time held in the position reaches a minute.

The plank is a strength move; the more it is done, the longer it will be possible to hold the position. Beginners may find it easier to drop the knees to the floor until the muscles have built up enough to hold the plank while resting only on the forearms and toes. Those more toned can make the plank more challenging by extending an arm and the opposite leg in the air. Hold for a set time, and then change sides.

Leg Raises With Hip Thrust

This exercise targets the lower and middle abdominals. Begin by lying on the floor with the hands resting along the sides of the body. Bend the knees and keep the feet raised about two inches off the floor. Slowly bring the knees up toward the chest, contracting the abdominals while raising the pelvis off the floor. Hold for a second, and then lower the pelvis and legs back to the starting position. The movements for this exercise should be done slowly and deliberately. Repeat for two to three sets of 15-30 repetitions resting for 60-90 seconds between sets.

Side-To-Side Heel Touches

The side-to-side heel touch is another exercise to target the obliques. Lie on the floor with knees bent, feet flat and hands placed at the sides. Pull the stomach muscles in toward the spine and raise the upper body about two inches off the floor. Reach the right hand along the side of the body to touch the right heel. Return to the middle then reach the left hand along the side of the body to touch the left heel. Repeat this motion staying focused on using the abdominal muscles to move the body rather than just reaching with the arms.

Beginners should focus more on form than on reps, but a good starting point to aim for is 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps. The more advanced can reach for a goal of 3-5 sets of 20-24 reps.

Side Plank With Raised Arm

Another exercise to work the obliques is the side plank with a raised arm. The easiest way to get into the side plank position is to start in the basic plank position with the body resting on the forearms and toes. From here, shift the weight to one side and turn the so that the front goes from facing the floor to facing the wall. At this point, the supporting arm under the body will also turn so that the fist faces the same wall as the stomach. The supporting shoulder should be stacked in a straight line above the elbow. The bottom of the body is supported on the sides of the feet as the abdominals hold the mid-section in a straight line. Raise the non-supporting hand straight up in the air and be careful not to let the hips sag toward the floor.

Hold the plank as long as possible, working up to a full minute. If this move proves to be too difficult to hold while balancing on the sides of the feet, bend the bottom leg and lower down to support the body on the side of the knee. Be careful to keep the body in a straight line and not use the knee only for support and not to lift.

Elbows To Knees

Also known as the ‘bicycle’ the elbows to knees works both the upper and lower abdominals. Lie on the floor with the hands behind the head supporting the neck. Pull the stomach muscles in toward the spine and lift the knees to a 90-degree angles. Twist bringing one elbow to meet the opposite knee as that knee if pulled further toward the chest. The opposite leg will straighten. From here, twist to the other side pulling the straight leg toward the chest and straightening the already bent leg, essentially making the legs mimic the motion made while riding a bicycle. It is important to keep the breath at a regular pace and to use to hands to support the head, not pull on it. It is not necessary that the elbows actually touch the knees as long as the twisting motion still occurs. Start with 6-10 reps and work up to 20 per set.

Leg Crossovers

Leg crossovers target the lower abdominals. To start, lie on the floor with the head cradled in the hands and legs stretched straight out. Pull the abdominals into the spine and lift the head and legs off the floor so that the stomach area forms a 45-degree angle. From this position, cross the right leg over the left as the left leg moves under the right. Uncross the legs then alternate to the other side. Repeat for 6-10 reps for 2-3 sets working up to 18-20 reps.

Raised Hips Hold

Better known as the ‘bridge’ the raised hips hold is a resistance move that is simple to perform and works the entire abdominal area. Lie on the floor with the knees bent. The feet should be hip-width apart and placed flat against the floor. The arms stay relaxed along the sides of the body. From here, lift the glutes by pushing off the floor with the heels bringing the body into a straight line from the knees to the shoulders. Hold for one to two seconds then slowly lower back down to the floor. Repeat this process, shooting for three sets of 15-20 reps.

While performing this move, be cautious not to push off the floor with the hands. For more of a challenge, raise the hands in the air then come into the raised hip hold position. This forces the body to better utilize the abdominal muscles in a more focused fashion.

During any exercise, especially these ab workouts for women, the most important thing to remember is that if there is pain it is time to stop. While regular abdominal exercise is crucial to have a flat and toned stomach, it is important to note that diet also plays a big part. Even rock hard abs can hide under layers of fat, so removing this fat is necessary to really be able to see the definitions these exercises will give the muscles. Eating a balanced diet of whole foods and healthy fats along with incorporating further strength training, particularly compound moves and select cardio exercises into the overall workout program will help to accomplish the goal of flat, strong and sexy abdominals.

The abs are one of the very few muscles in the body which will benefit from regular daily work, without rest days.  When strength training, most muscles need to be rested to achieve proper recovery, but the abs are used in a lot of the major compound exercises that you would be completing daily even in an upper and lower body split program.  The abs are resilient, recover faster and will cope with constant work.

​To get really strong, flat abs, they'll benefit from regular work, so try to spend some time on these ab workouts for women daily, or at least every second day.  I usually tag them onto the end of whatever daily training session I'm doing, prior to stretching. That way they become part of a progressive cool down.

Depending what kind of condition you are starting in, current body fat %, strength levels and diet, will largely dictate what other ​training and diet adjustments you might need to make, as well as following these ab workouts for women, to lose enough body fat for your abs to start showing through.  For most women, once you achieve around 15% body fat, you'll be really starting to see your abs, and have nice toned looking abdominals.

Strength training, focusing on large compound lifts, like these five strength training exercises and following a properly structured diet is a good path to travel if you need to make significant improvements in body composition, to get that ultimate flat abs look.​ 

Most of all, enjoy your training, and celebrate your progress!

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Ana Maria

As a certified strength coach and nutritionist, with a passion for living life and continual improvement, Ana Maria believes that every woman should bring out her inner goddess. A healthy active lifestyle, commitment to training and good nutrition are the keys. As the creator of Sara Crave, Ana Maria shares her passions for fitness, fun and fashion with you.

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