Get Ripped and Defined Abdominals with the Best Abs Workout for Women
Are you ready to learn what you need to know to knock ‘em out with drop dead gorgeous abdominal muscles? You have come across the right article. I’m here to fill you in on all the considerations you need to take into account when working your way toward truly astonishing abs. We will go over the basics of abdominal muscle building, defining, and toning, as well as cardio guidelines and nutritional tips to help you burn body calories to reveal the amazing abs beneath any extra belly fat.
I have put an excellent abs workout for you that can be done at the gym or at home. All of the main abdominal exercises can be done using only your own body weight. So gym = no excuses! Time to start working out those amazing abdominals!
Abs Workouts & Body Fat Loss Disclaimer
An important note before we get started: abs workouts are NOT the only thing you need to do to burn belly fat and build up your abs. If you only do abs workouts, you will be very disappointed by your lack of progress. While you will be building the strength and tone of the muscles themselves, if you don’t lose excess belly fat, you will NOT see the abs. There is no such thing as spot reduction; in other words, abs workouts DO NOT and CANNOT burn fat directly off your tummy. Any workout will add to your overall calorie burn, but simply cannot burn the fat directly off the area you are working out. This is one of the most stubborn and pervasive myths in the world of fitness.
Earning a strong set of abdominals is NOT a task for quitters or slaves to fitness myths. You will need to keep different aspects of your fitness plan on point to truly see results. These aspects include abs workouts, but even more important are your nutrition plan and your cardio plan. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into tips and guidelines for getting the most out the Astonishing Abs workout.
Tips & Guidelines for the Best Abs Workout for Women:
- As with any other workout, do a five minute general cardio warmup before beginning to get your body ready to exercise
- Before starting the Main Circuit of the workout, do each Abs Activator exercise twice
- Do the Astonishing Abs Workout as a circuit at least two times and up to four times through
- After completing your desired number of circuits, finish with…THE FINISHER
- Circuit style means do one exercise right after the other, resting only as much as necessary
- Take an extended rest at the end of each full circuit
- Make sure to do abs workouts 3 times per week
- Unlike other muscle groups, abs don’t necessarily need as much recovery time, so you can get away with working abs up to 5X weekly
- Balance out your abs workouts by including full body workouts throughout the week
- If you have excess body fat to lose, devote at least 120-150 minutes per week to vigorous cardio exercise
Overview of the Astounding Abs Workout for Women
THE ABS ACTIVATORS
- Abs Activator #1: Abdominal March – 20 reps on each side, rest and repeat
- Abs Activator #2: Hip Bridge – 20 lifts, 20 second hold, rest and repeat
THE MAIN CIRCUIT
- Abs Exercise #1: Cross Leg Crunch – 15 to 20 reps
- Abs Exercise #2: Knee Tuck – 15 to 20 reps
- Abs Exercise #3: Scissor Legs – 15 to 20 reps each side
- Abs Exercise #4: Roll Ups – 10 to 15 reps
- Abs Exercise #5: Bicycle – Two 30 second rounds, resting in between
- Abs Exercise #6: Russian Twist – Two 30 second rounds, resting in between
- BONUS Abs Exercise: Stability Ball Pike
- Plank – two minutes broken down into as many holds as is takes
Further Details On the Amazing Execution of Each Astounding Abs Exercise
Now you have seen the overview of the Astounding Abs Workout. Copy/Paste and print it out for easy access. Many of the exercises in the workout are probably unfamiliar to you. Let’s go over the exact form required for each one.
THE ABS ACTIVATORS
Abs Activator #1: Abdominal March – 20 reps on each side, rest and repeat
This is a great move to lead off your abdominal workout because it will activate your deep core musculature. This makes subsequent abs exercises both safer and more effective.
How To Do the Abdominal March:
Lay on your back and lift your feet up into the air, bending your knees. Keep your back smooshed as flat as possible to the mat while you tap one heel to the floor at a time, alternating with each rep. To make the move easier, bend your knees more so your heels tap closer to your butt. To make it more challenging, extend your legs straighter and straighter as you tap your heels down. For the most challenging variation, straighten your legs completely and lift your head and shoulders off the floor, keeping your chin tucked. It’s essential that you keep your back FLAT to the mat at all times by hugging your core muscles down and in toward your spine. Complete 20 reps on each side, moving slow and steady. Rest and repeat the abdominal march.
Abs Activator #2: Hip Bridge – 20 lifts, 20 second hold, rest and repeat
How To Do the Hip Bridge:
Start on your back just like the abdominal march. This time, keep both feet planted flat on the ground and your knees bent. Keeping your head and shoulders resting on the mat, press your weight into your heels and lift your butt and low/mid back off the mat. If viewed from the side, at the top position, you should create a straight line running down your knees, thighs, butt, and abs all the way to where your shoulders rest on the ground. Squeeze your glutes together firmly, keeping most of your weight in your heels. Pull your core in tight just like you needed to do to keep your back flat in abdominal march. Lower back down slowly and repeat. If it’s too easy, use some dumbbells held on the tops of your thighs to add some extra resistance. Complete 20 lifts followed by a 20 second hold in the top position. Rest and repeat the hip bridge.
THE MAIN CIRCUIT
Once you have completed two sets of the Abs Activators, it’s time to get serious and hit the Main Circuit. Do the main circuit at least twice but up to four times depending on your fitness level and how crazy-motivated you are feeling.
Abs Exercise #1: Cross Leg Crunch – 15 to 20 reps
Cross Leg Crunch is a more productive variation on the traditional crunch exercise. A few sets of these will annihilate your upper abs!
How To Do the Cross Leg Crunch:
Lay on your back and put your legs straight up in the air, crossed, with knees bent just a tiny bit. Bending the knees too much is cheating! Extend your arms straight and use your abdominals to crunch upward to touch your shoelaces without moving your legs. Complete 15 to 20 reps, slow and steady.
Abs Exercise #2: Knee Tuck – 15 to 20 reps
Knee Tuck is a great follow up to the Cross Leg Crunch, making you feel the burn in the upper AND middle abs.
How To Do the Knee Tuck:
Still on your back, put your hands under your butt to give your sacrum a little support. Like abdominal march, keep your back flat and stable…but this time, tuck your knees together toward your chest, then push your feet away extending your legs straight without letting them touch the ground. If you find you can’t keep your back stable, raise your feet higher in the air as you push. If you would like more challenge, keep your feet low. You can also really squeeze your abs as you tuck your knees so that your pelvis rocks up off the floor. You can even raise your head and shoulders off the floor as long as you keep your chin tucked in toward your neck. Complete 15 to 20 knee tucks at your chosen level of difficulty.
Abs Exercise #3: Scissor Legs – 15 to 20 reps each side
Scissor Legs targets the notoriously difficult-to-address lower abs. Get ready to feel the burn! This move is particularly challenging but definitely worth it.
How To Do Scissor Legs:
STILL on your back, keep your hands under your butt just like Knee Tuck. This time, extend your legs fully straight up in the air. Keep them super straight and spread them wide to the sides like a pair of scissors opening. Then slice them together, crossing one over the top. Open again then slice again, crossing the other one on top each time. The difficulty of this move is controlled by how close your legs are to the ground. The closer your straight legs to the ground (and the less bent the angle of your hips), the more difficult. Pay attention to your back and whether or not you are able to use your deep core muscles to keep it stable. If you struggle to keep it from arching, lift your legs higher away from the floor by bending your hips more. For maximum challenge, keep your feet close to the floor and your legs completely straight while you lift your head and shoulders, always keeping your chin tucked toward your neck. Complete 15 to 20 slices for each side, and remember that it’s not a race. It’s better for you if you move more slowly and with greater control.
Abs Exercise #4: Roll Ups
Roll Ups work the abs from top to bottom and also improve your functional fitness by increasing your ability to roll up to seated from a supine position. If Roll Ups are too hard at first, try putting your toes underneath something or having your workout buddy hold your feet down.
How To Do Roll Ups:
Again, lay on your back. This time, lay completely flat so your legs are both fully extended. Extend you arms and crunch your abs as you slowly roll up to a seated position. Continue crunching as you reach your fingertips toward your toes. As you get ready to roll back down, force yourself to go SLOW. Don’t flop down or allow momentum to carry you. You need to fight the weight of your body the whole way down to get the most from this exercise. You will be tempted to flop, but don’t do it! If an exercise is worth doing, it’s worth doing right! Once the bodyweight rollup becomes too easy, hold dumbbells in your hands and roll up pressing the dumbbells overhead. Alternatively, hold a kettlebell at the level of your chest. Complete 10 to 15 roll ups.
Abs Exercise #5: Bicycle – Two 30 second rounds, resting in between
I won’t lie: bicycle may be the most challenging move up to this point in the workout. Don’t despair; just get it done and it will pay you back with tight and toned abs AND obliques. If it’s too hard, skip it for now and focus on the other abs exercises until you get stronger.
How To Do the Bicycle:
On your back, create a little cradle for your head with interlaced fingers. Lift your head and shoulders up off the floor and tuck in your chin. Begin pedaling your legs like you are riding a big old bicycle. If that is enough challenge, leave it at that, but if you are ready for more, crunch alternating elbows toward each of your knees as they pedal toward your chest. Move slowly and with control or go faster – still keeping the control. Go for time rather than reps – 20 to 30 seconds then rest and repeat.
Abs Exercise #6: Russian Twist – Two 30 second rounds, resting in between
Russian Twist is traditionally performed holding a kettlebell for resistance, but you can use any object that is able to be held between your two hands and gives you some weight to work with. Or you can do it with just body weight as you’re getting started. Russian twist directly targets the obliques and also works out your low back, training your body to twist safely.
How To Do the Russian Twist:
Let’s practice the bodyweight version first. Sit tall with knees bent and heels on the floor. Hinge back from your hips so your upper body goes backward at a slight diagonal. Holding your hands in front of you with shoulders back and down and shoulder muscles hugging toward the bones, begin twisting your ribcage from side to side, arcing your hands over your knees toward the floor. Only twist as far as is comfortable. If you can do that in a slow and controlled way, keeping your chest high and your spine erect for 30 seconds, try adding five to ten pounds of weight by holding a kettlebell, dumbbell, or other object. If that feels fine, add as much weight as you would like that challenges your abs while still allowing you to keep perfect form. Whichever version you choose, complete 30 seconds worth, then rest and repeat.
Plank – two minutes broken down into as many holds as is takes to get through with good form
Only do the finisher after you have done all your Main Circuits (at least two circuits but up to four). The purpose of the finisher is to REALLY feel the burn and finish your abs off for the day. My preferred finisher for this type of workout is the Plank, which works all the muscles on the front side of your body, including your abs.
How To Do the Plank:
For a plank, you’ll be tummy-down. Place your forearms flat against the floor and rise up onto your toes. Achieve a truly plank-like alignment from the top of your head all the way down to your ankles by squeezing your ab muscles up and in and squeezing your glutes down. Contract your quad muscles to increase your lift and stability. Keep the back of your head in alignment with your spine, never letting your head poke forward or your shoulders collapse. Keep breathing as you hold this position for as long as possible up to two minutes. Even if you can only hold for 10 to 20 seconds at a time when you’re getting started, complete however many plank holds it takes you to get to two minutes total. Once you can hold for two minutes without collapsing your form, try one-legged plank by stacking your feet or one-armed plank by placing one hand behind your back.
How to Fit Abs Workouts Into Your Total Fitness Plan
Abs should be worked three times a week. If you are very fit and feeling very ambitious, you could do this workout up to five times a week. Abs are not like the other muscle groups in that you can work them more often with less rest time between sessions.
My preferred strategy is to work abs on alternating days three times throughout the week. I like to work abs on my upper body days or full body days. I find leg day so fatiguing that I don’t like to add to much extra work to it!
Do what works for you; you can even do this workout at home away from the gym. Just make sure you warm up first. It’s not something you would want to do first thing in the morning or right before bed because it’s pretty intense and you need to be ready for it and also have enough time to wind down afterwards.
Cardio Tips for the Astounding Abs Workout
For most women, a major part of the astounding abs picture is body fat loss. The reason is that if you have excess body fat on your belly, you can have strong and toned abs but you will never see them. While abs workouts will benefit your functional fitness and overall strength no matter what percentage of body fat you have, if your goal is to have visible abs, you MUST focus on burning body fat through cardio, full body strength training, and nutrition.
General cardio guidelines for body fat loss are to shoot for 120 to 150 minutes of vigorous cardio per week broken up into several sessions. The goal of cardio in this context is to add to your caloric burn. Simply put, when you burn more calories than you eat, you will lose body fat.
A great cardio choice for fat loss is interval training. Any cardio machine in your gym such as a treadmill, elliptical, ARC trainer, AMT, or bike will have built in interval training programs. Go for 30 minute interval sessions three to four times per week and you will be good to go as long as you stay consistent.
Nutrition Guidelines for the Astounding Abs Workout
As I mentioned above, belly fat loss (and body fat loss overall) occurs when you burn more calories than you eat. Therefore, you can be doing everything perfect when it comes to your workouts, but completely sabotage your fat loss progress with bad food choices.
The right diet will look a little different for each person, and it’s beyond the scope of this article to go in depth on exactly what and how much you should be eating. Instead, let me give you a few of my favorite fat loss nutrition tips.
- Many women will do well eating 1300-1500 calories per day when their main focus is fat loss (this depends on your activity level, lean muscle mass, and body type; there is no such thing as “one size fits all”)
- Don’t go below 1300 calories or your body will be too tired to exercise and your muscle recovery will not be efficient.
- Remember that food is fuel and YOU control what goes on your plate
- Indulgences once in a while (on a cheat day, for example) are OK as long as it’s not an everyday occurrence and your weekly calorie intake stays within your desired range
- For an ideal fat loss meal, fill your plate with tons of veggies so you’ll feel you have plenty to eat
- Add a palm-sized serving of carbs, and a palm-sized serving of lean protein
Best Abs Workout for Women: The Bottom Line
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my article. Now you have learned not only an excellent abs workout you can do several times per week to earn astounding abs, you know my favorite fitness programming, cardio, and nutrition tips for fat loss and abdominal building. Did I miss any of your favorite abs exercises or abs building and toning tips? Let me know in the comments below!