30 Day Ab Challenge Workouts for Women that Work
So you’ve been doing your crunches, but you still aren’t getting the results you want. Just like with any muscle group, you want to do multiple different exercises in order to activate different parts of your core. Here are eight of the best core exercises for women that will be integrated into your 30 day ab challenge, along with detailed instructions on how to perform the exercise properly for optimal results.
The plank is the number one go-to for all things core related and should be included in all core workouts for women. It works all the muscles of the abdomen, including your obliques (the tummy muscles that line the outer sides of your stomach), as well as the muscles in your lower back, which are an important part of your core. There are two different variations explained here, which you will also find in the 4-week challenge below.
Forearm Plank: To perform this exercise properly, place your forearms on the ground, your weight on the balls of your feet, and hold your stomach off the ground. Brace your abdomen, contract your quads and squeeze your glutes to make sure your body is forming a straight line, just like a wood plank.
Side Plank: To perfect this exercise properly, choose a side. If you are laying on your left side, your left forearm is going to be on the ground, as well as the side of your left foot – with your right foot setting on top of it. Stack your legs and hips and stabilize your body to prevent rolling from side-to-side. Using your stomach muscles and the muscles of your outer hips and thigh (the abductors), lift yourself off the ground, keeping your body in a straight line.
Commonly known as the superman, but changed because women are awesome, the superwoman is a less popular core exercise for women because it doesn’t target the front stomach muscles which is most common but this is actually one of the best core workouts for women. The superwoman is going to put emphasis on your love handle area.
To perform this exercise properly, lay on the ground on your stomach with your arms stretched out in front of you and your legs stretched out behind you. Keeping both your arms and legs straight, lift them off of the ground using the muscles in your lower back. Make sure to keep your head forward and looking down. Hold the top position for a count before returning to the starting position.
This is a dynamic, or moving, core exercise, which means you are continuously activating and deactivating certain muscles of the core, allowing you to burn fat while performing the exercise.
To perform this exercise properly, sit on the ground, bring your knees close to your chest. Slightly lean back so your stomach muscles are activated. With controlled motions twist your core from side to side, letting your head go in the direction of your body. To increase the intensity of this exercise, lift your feet off the ground. If you really want to maximize the effects of our core workouts for women, hold a dumbbell, weight plate or med ball in your hands to complete a weighted Russian twist — that should get things burning.
Butt Lifts are one of the best core workouts for women. Don’t worry, they aren’t as weird as they sound, and they work wonders for that hard to reach part of your stomach: the lowest part of your abs. This is a tricky area to hit, as most core exercises target the upper abs, but butt lifts are here to fix that.
To perform this exercise properly, begin by laying on your back with your feet out in front of you and your hands under your backside. Lift your legs so your body forms a 90-degree angle. From there, using your lower abs, raise your butt off the ground, pushing your heels toward the ceiling. Hold for a count and slowly bring your butt back down to the ground. Keep your legs raised until you have completed the exercise.
Sit-ups are one of the best core exercises for women. This classic core exercise is great for all things tummy. Though difficult, as your strength begins to grow, you will find yourself performing this exercise with more ease. Also a dynamic exercise, this one is going to aid in your fat loss.
To perform this exercise properly, lay on your back with you feet close to your backside. Cross your hands over your chest or use them to support your neck. Using your stomach muscles, sit all the way up so your chest reaches your knees, and slowly release back down. To make this exercise easier, find a weight to put on your feet to help them stay down or you can stick them under the edge of your couch (put that thing to use in a healthy way).
Leg lifts engage the bulk of the abs, from your ribs down to your hips. They also do a number on your hip flexors — large muscles deep in your abdomen that connect your thighs to your spine that’s why they’re one of the best core workouts for women.
To perform this exercise properly, begin by laying on your back with your feet out in front of you and your hands under your backside. Lift your legs so your body forms a 90-degree angle. Slowly bring your legs down (keep them straight!), stopping about six inches from them hitting the floor. Raise them up again and repeat. To increase the intensity of this exercise, perform it hanging from a pull-up bar and try resisting gravity from a vertical position.
Mountain climbers are one of the best core exercises for women and are an integral part of our 30-day ab challenge and can be performed a variety of different ways. The version explained here keeps the muscles in your stomach activated and working the whole time. It also includes a lot of fast movement, which increases your heart rate and promotes fat loss in the stomach area as well as throughout the rest of your body.
To perform this exercise properly, begin in a straight arm plank. Bring one knee up to its corresponding armpit. From there, with a little running movement, switch legs so the other knee is up close to your chest. Begin slowly doing this exercise and speed up as you become more comfortable. Remember, just like when you’re doing a plank, keep your body nice and straight while quickly alternating your legs back and forth — the faster you move, the more oxygen you’re going to need and the more calories you’re going to burn, so make it count!
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