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7 Best Ab Exercises for Women

Do these fool-proof ab exercises and you'll be able to wear that crop top with confidence in no time.
Flat abs woman.jpg

When people come to me and ask for better abs, they also specify one thing: Men always say that they want a ripped, six-pack-popping midsection, while women always clarify that they want a flat stomach with a little definition on the sides, but not abs popping out like a bodybuilder. Women want to make sure they look feminine and strong at the same time. Men just want to be able to look like they could do laundry on their washboard abs. Thanks to my years of personal training, I've been able to cherry-pick my favorite ab exercises for women. These ab-targeting moves are all in my brand-new book, Eat This, Not That! For Abs.

These compound core movements will target your entire abdominal region, which includes your back, obliques and abdominals. Plus, the one thing that all of these moves have in common is that you can do them anywhere! So, ladies, feel free to light your abs on fire anywhere from the living room while watching Scandal to the hotel room after a conference. You got this!


Squat with Bicycle Crunch

This compound movement not only hits your legs (which women love), but also works lower abdominals, upper abdominals, and obliques—all in one fun move!


Front Plank

This is one of the most underrated core exercises. This is the single most effective move that works every muscle in your body. Most importantly, you can do this anywhere! If you can only do it for 30 seconds before collapsing, try to add 10 seconds to it each time you attempt it. Do this for three sets every other day and you'll start seeing results!


Side Plank

The side plank is the first cousin to the front plank. One of the best isometric exercises you can do, this one targets your obliques. That's the area that many women want to tone the most in order to get those desired lines down the side of their abdominals.


Flutter Kicks and Criss Crosses

This combo will give your abs that burn that feels oh-so-good. This one practically draws the lines right down the sides of your midsection as you are doing them! By keeping your back flat and abdominals engaged, the motions of your legs will not only work your abs but also your inner and outer thighs.

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Seated Medicine Ball Twists

This one targets your obliques while also engaging your abdominals and lower back muscles. If you don't have a medicine ball, you can use a bottle of water (the bigger the bottle, the harder you make it for yourself). When doing this one, try to keep your feet on the ground; I see many people in the gym with their feet off the ground and not being able to get a full turn, nor able to keep their spine in a proper position. This one is all about form, so keep your feet on the ground, lean back just enough to feel engagement in your abdominals, and make a nice full turn with your shoulders! Get ready to feel that core burn…


Split Lunge with Bicep Curl

What are the top three areas that women want to tone? Legs, abs, and arms! And this exercise hits all three! Grab some 1-liter water bottles and get started. Even though you aren't actively moving your abs, they play a huge role in keeping your spine upright during this exercise, so please make sure you keep them engaged throughout the entire movement. This one makes your entire body tremble—so get ready!


Core Blaster

Forget everything you thought you knew about how to train your abs while on your back—and flip yourself over for this one. This one is all about endurance, so pace yourself. It works every single core muscle that you have and will get you the toned abs you desire in no time.

Bonus Tip


The biggest thing to remember when searching for your abs to make an appearance: a flat abs diet is 75 percent of the equation. Abs are all about body fat, and if your body fat levels are not low enough, you will not see any type of definition. Make sure you follow the diet plan in Eat This, Not That! For Abs, while incorporating the above ab moves—and I promise you that you will see a difference in your midsection!

She Lost 100 Pounds—And Shows You How!

Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Ilana Muhlstein lost her weight and kept it off—and in You Can Drop It!, she'll show you how to lose it, too. More than 240,000 clients have chosen her program—and now it’s yours to keep.

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