The 5 Best Ab Workouts for Women

The 5 best ab workouts for women — from beginner ab workouts to advanced core exercises. These bodyweight ab exercises target the deep transverse abdominals and obliques, as well as the rectus abdominis, also known as your upper abs and lower abs.

Best Ab Workouts for Women | Ab exercise

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that we’ve started spending more time digging into the analytics of NML. To be honest, digging into the numbers, analytics and spreadsheets isn’t part of my job that I love. But I DO think it’s really cool to see content you guys, as readers gravitate towards.

As we enter the summer months there’s a big trend in searches for upper body exercises, arm workouts and ab workouts!

Since I’m currently 24 weeks pregnant, filming a new ab workout with some of my favorite core exercises was out of the question. So I rounded up my 5 FAVORITE ab workouts for women.

Being pregnant with my second child I fully recognize both the importance of core strength, as well as how humbling it is to re-build your core postpartum. Therefore, I’ve included both beginner ab workouts and advanced ab workouts in this round up. 

Note, if you ARE pregnant, watch this live video below.

AND if you’re not pregnant, you should still watch the video below to learn more about how you can ‘turn on’ your transverse abdominals during all core exercises. In this video I explain:

  • Pregnancy Safe Ab Exercises and Prenatal Ab Exercises
  • Ab Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy
  • Transverse Abdominal Breathing and How to Strengthen Your Transverse Abdominals
  • Ab Exercises You Can Do While Sitting At Your Desk
  • Pelvic Floor Exercises for Women and How to Connect Your Pelvic Floor to Your Transverse Abdominals
  • What is Diastatic Recti and What Ab Exercises Are Safe for Diastatic Recti

*If you’re having trouble seeing the Transverse Abdominal Breathing video above, try turning off or pausing your ad-blocker. If you prefer, you can also view this video on YouTube here.

What are your ab muscles and core muscles?

Although you might just think ‘six-pack’ when you hear ‘core muscles’ — it’s actually so much more than that! I love this chart from the American Council on Exercise. It includes examples of how to actually move your body to feel each muscle group included in your core.

Function of Ab Muscles

As you can see, your core muscles include the upper abs and lower abs, but also includes all of your stabilizing muscles along your spine and pelvis too.

Why are core workouts for women so important?

Now that you know the core includes a lot more than just ‘six-pack abs’; the importance of a strong core goes far beyond aesthetics! Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work together to keep you stable, and help you keep your balance {Mayo Clinic}.

Harvard Medical School also points out that sitting at a desk, hunched over a computer all day, can make back muscles stiff and sore. Additionally this can lead to back pain over time. However, a strong core strengthens your back, and research suggests that performing core exercises can help prevent back pain {Harvard Medical School}.

Core exercises are especially important for women, more specifically women who’ve experienced pregnancy. A growing belly requires the abdominal muscles to stretch out, the ligaments and joints in the pelvis loosen, and the pelvic floor weakens to accommodate a growing baby {National Academy for Sports Medicine}. And things don’t just ‘bounce back’ into place immediately after baby’s arrival. I frequently have women reach out to me years after giving birth who still struggle with core stability and engaging their abdominal muscles. ENTER TRANSVERSE ABDOMINAL BREATHING VIDEO ABOVE!

The  5 Best Ab Workouts for Women

Postpartum Core Recovery + Diastasis Recti Exercises

Beginner Ab Workouts

Whether you’re a fitness beginner or a postpartum mother looking to challenge their core muscles in new ways, these advanced ab workouts are for you:

  1. 7 Exercises for Postpartum Core Recovery + Diastasis Recti
  2. 10-Minute Beginner Ab Workout for Women {I personally love using a pilates sponge ball to increase core engagement for this workout. This is the one I have, and it’s available on Amazon for under $10}.

Advanced Ab Workouts

Ab Exercise for Women

For those a bit more advanced in their fitness journey, looking to challenge both their beginner or a postpartum mother looking to build, or re-build, core strength these beginner ab workouts are for you:

  1. Super 7 Core Workout
  2. 7-Minute Abs Workout for Women
  3. 10-Minute Butt + Abs Stability Ball Workout {if you’re in need of a stability ball I highly recommend this DynaPro 75cm Stability Ball, which also makes a great pregnancy/birthing ball}.

Bonus: you can mix and match these 18 Core Exercises for Women to make your own, custom ab workout to specifically target your upper or lower abs. And because I get asked most about exercises to target the lower abs, I also have these 3 Exercises for Lower Abs on the blog.

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5 Ab Workouts for Women

Ab Workouts for Women | The 5 Best Ab Workouts

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