Lower ab workouts for women, to flatten and tone your belly.
If you are looking for the honest truth about lower ab workouts for women, keep reading. If you just want a quick and easy fix for a flabby belly, resulting from a soft and undisciplined lifestyle which you are not prepared to change, you'll hate this, so don't bother.
Great! You're still reading.
Having flat abs has been touted as the universal symbol of health, sex appeal, and fitness. Although many of us dream of having a nice, toned midriff, it may take a bit more effort and sweat than many are prepared to put in, to make it a reality.
The fitness and health industry is booming in this modern age as more people are aware of the importance of a healthy diet and active life. But unfortunately that means there are also lots of people who will try to sell you on the latest gimmick or fad, which is supposed to achieve that ever elusive dream body with minimal effort, and super fast.
The reality is, all this approach will do if you fall for it, is lose you some cash and some wasted time following the latest fad.
So, I wanted to make sure that from this post, as well as some workout tips, you also gain a better understanding about ab training, and it's role in achieving those flat toned abs we all desire.
It won't work in isolation!
The term 'lower abs' is not very accurate because the muscles underneath the skin on our abdominal section covers the whole area from the upper rib cage up to the pelvis.
There are 4 main muscles on your abdomen:
Rectus abdominis: this is the layer of muscle known as the 6 pack muscles. These muscles function to support your back while bending or picking things up
External obliques: these are the muscles on the side of your abs that help in rotating and bending sideways
Serratus anterior: located on the side of the chest, this muscle is important for posture and shoulder health, and is used to thrust the shoulder forward when pushing something.
Transverse abdominis: this is the deepest layer of muscle that acts to stabilize the spine and prevent back pain
From this piece of information, it is clear that you don't actually need to do a separate workout for upper and lower abs, since any exercise you do will effect the whole muscle of the abdomen.
The reason why people are obsessed with lower ab workouts is because fat tends to accumulate at the lower part of the abdomen. Women often have trouble spots like this because naturally the hormone estrogen causes the body to hold on to fat in certain body parts.
Unfortunately, there is honestly no way to spot train abs separately to achieve the dream six pack
In order to get abs, you need to reduce your overall body fat percentage by training your whole body.
Once you have reduced your body fat enough, any musculature that you have developed, which for women will take some hard work, will become more visible.
This does not mean that you should just skip doing lower ab workouts entirely. Lower ab workouts are great because they will tone your belly and improve your balance. A strong core may lower your risk of suffering a back injury, in general life, or particularly while training with large compound moves like squats and dead lifts. (which are great for stimulating muscle growth and calorie burning)
There is certainly no need for any fancy workout machines to perform ab exercises. The most important thing you need is the time and persistence to do it. In addition to that, you need to devote a complete focus while doing your workouts to achieve maximum benefit.
According to studies, there is a connection between your mind and muscle activation especially in resistance training. Instead of mindlessly going through your workout, try to focus more on every muscle movement you're doing, as this will speed up your results for muscle gain.
It is also beneficial to do exercises in high intensity intervals. This type of training method has been proven to show results in a short amount of time, and can easily be incorporated into lower ab workouts for women.
There are many varieties of lower ab workouts for women out there. With that being said, here are some of my favourite exercises that you can incorporate in a high intensity circuit, and do today to get started on the abs of your dreams:-
Lower ab workouts for women - high intensity circuit;
Complete the following eight exercises in a circuit, then rest for 30 seconds and start again.
If you haven't done much ab training before, you could start by doing each exercise for 30 seconds, and complete two circuits. If you're already pretty fit, or as you progress, try doing four circuits, which will then still only take you 12 minutes, but will give your abs a great workout.
I usually do this type of workout at the end of my weights training, or after I've done a running or bike session, to finish off.
Lie down on your back with knees bent and feet on the ground. While exhaling, lift up your trunk, reaching sideways with one of your arms for the parallel heel. Inhale as you return to starting position. In alternate motions, keep touching your hand on your heels. This workout will tone up your external oblique muscles. Take heed to keep your legs in place and your feet firm on the ground.
Single knee raise crunch;
Lie down on your back with knees bent and hands placed behind your head. Raise your shoulder off the ground and bend knees to about 90 degrees. Slowly bring your right knee and left elbow together, lightly touching it. This exercise is almost like a bicycle crunch but the difference is that you're not stretching the legs out. This workout activates your rectus abdominis muscles.
Lie down on your back with knees bent, with legs wide apart. Raise your shoulders blades off the ground with arms straight and parallel to your trunk, try to reach through between the legs. Keep your ab muscles contracted at all times.
Wide toe touches;
While lying down on your back, put your legs up straight against your trunk making a 90 degree angle. Spread your arms wide on your side, parallel to your body. While exhaling, slightly raise your shoulder blades from the ground while stretching your left arm to reach the left heel. As you return to your starting position, inhale. Repeat this move with the right side. Do several repetitions alternately. Remember to always keep the abs braced during this move.
Lie down flat on your back. With your arms extended above your head and legs spread out, try to form an X on the ground with your body. While exhaling, lift one arm and the opposing leg simultaneously, touching your fingers onto your toe. Inhale and slowly lower back arms and legs to starting position. Repeat on the opposite arm and legs back to starting position. Be careful not swing the arms and legs mindlessly, but to focus on a slow, controlled motion. Be sure to contract abdominal muscles throughout this exercise.
This exercise targets your external obliques. With your back on the floor, lie down with arms extended on both sides. Raise your legs up straight against your trunk making a 90 degree angle. In a slow controlled motion, lower your legs to the left side of your body until your legs are close to the floor a few inches from your left hand. Slowly bring back to starting position. Repeat on the other side. Do several repetitions alternately.
this exercise is a simple but very effective one. Your body stays in one position but this static form of exercise will develop your core strength. It not only trains your abs but also your shoulders, arms, and glute muscles.
Position your hands straight under your shoulders on the ground as if you're about to do a push-up. Plant your toes on the floor and try to make sure your body is straight and stabilized. Your head should be aligned with your back. Hold the position for 30 seconds. You'll find out that as you gain more strength, you can hold a plank position for a longer period of time.
The world record for planking is 8 hours and 1 minute. (as I publish this)
To make this exercise harder, you can place a weight plate on your back to add some extra load.
this exercise is another basic static exercise that helps to build your core strength. Lie on your side and place your forearm on the floor under your shoulder in perpendicular to your body. With your legs straight, your upper leg is placed directly on top of the lower leg.
Your body is raised from the floor by straightening your waist. Hold the position and repeat on the opposite side. This may be hard for beginners, so if you have trouble doing it, modify this move by angling the body up against a wall.
Beginners can also do another modified version of it called a bent knee side plank. In this version, the leg that is closest to the floor is bent while planking, making it easier to balance.
To make the exercise harder, try extending your arm, instead of resting on your elbow. When you are doing the side plank this way, really focus on making sure that your body stays in a straight line from shoulders to feet. If you start sagging at the hips, your abs probably aren't strong enough for this more advanced version yet.
While doing all these exercises won't magically get you the perfect six pack abs you want, combined with proper training and diet, to achieve a low body fat %, it will help in sculpting and toning your body for more muscle definition.
Flat abs are the result of a healthy diet and proper training.
If you'd like some ideas for meals to include in a healthy diet, my list of 31 easy clean eating recipes might inspire you.
And for some tips on proper training check out these posts;
It all boils down to your choices. what are you willing to sacrifice to get the abs of your dreams? Depending where you are currently in your fitness journey, it may be difficult to do a complete 180 degree change, but little steps each day and persistence will take you a long way.
And, always make sure that you are enjoying your training. Mix it up and have fun, and it will be so much easier for you to stick to a consistent plan over time.
I'm always looking for more ideas about training, so please share any tips that you think might be useful, about lower ab workouts for women, or different ab exercises to include in a training circuit, in the comments below.