5 Strength Exercises for Women To Get Instant Abs
Achieving a tight, toned tummy takes hard work, dedication, and just the right workout routine. Losing belly fat is an incredibly common, relatable fitness goal—especially after going through menopause when your body fat typically travels to the belly, the Mayo Clinic explains. We have you covered with all things fitness and spoke with Katie Kollath, ACE CPT and co-founder of Barpath Fitness, who shares her top-recommended strength exercises for women to get instant abs. (Because let's be honest: Fast results are always the most desirable when it comes to fitness!)
According to Kollath, your core musculature features five different sections, and you need to strengthen all of them in order to achieve the results you're looking for. Keep reading to learn about the five best strength exercises for women to get instant abs. And next, don't miss the Simple Yet Effective Exercises for Instant Abs That Trainers Love.
1. Hanging Knee Raises
Target Muscle Group: rectus abdominis
The hanging knee raise starts with you holding onto a pull-up bar with your hands placed shoulder-width distance apart. Put your feet together and slightly in front of you as you lift them off the floor. Raise both knees so that they form a 90-degree angle, and then keep lifting them toward your chest. Lower them back down.
"As you lift the knees up, think about flexing the lumbar spine specifically so you are posteriorly tilting the pelvis. This will allow you to actually flex the abs rather than only stabilize them. Without proper pelvic position, this exercise will mostly result in flexing and extending the hip flexors versus the abdominals," Kollath explains.
Target Muscle Group: transverse abdominis
In order to properly perform a plank, your pelvis should tilt under and toward your spine, which you may recognize as a "posterior pelvic tilt." Getting into this correct position creates more tension in your abs while lessening tension in your hip flexors, Kollath explains. She adds, "Think about tucking down the rib cage which will engage the rectus abdominis muscle, which is responsible for flexing the trunk, and reduce the involvement of the hip flexors, which can take over and make the exercise less effective for targeting the abs. Therefore, by focusing on maintaining proper posterior pelvic tilt during a plank, you can ensure that you are effectively working the muscles in your core and getting the most out of your workout."
3. Cable Wood Chops
Target Muscle Group: obliques
To start cable wood chops, secure the pulley at the highest setting. Keep your shoulders and hips square so they're aligned. Extend both arms ahead of you. Hold onto the handle, and, while using control, pull it toward your opposite hip. Maintain a tight core, and make sure your body doesn't twist! "As you reach the end range of the movement, you can slightly pivot your back foot, but avoid excessive twisting that could compromise your form," Kollath notes. "By following these steps, you can perform the exercise effectively and safely, targeting the desired muscle groups and achieving your fitness goals."
4. GHD Back Extensions
Target Muscle Group: erector spinae
The next move in our strength exercises for women to get instant abs can be completed on a back extension machine at your local gym. "To begin, place your feet on the bottom platform and rest your quads on the pads provided. From there, flex your spine downward until you reach the floor, then extend your spine back up again," Kollath explains. "It's important to note that you should avoid hyperextending your spine; simply extend it enough to create tension in the erector muscles."
5. Pallof Press
Target Muscles: obliques, transverse abdominals, rectus abdominis
When you're dealing with anti-rotation, you're loading up a rotational movement, and then creating resistance against that rotation. Anti-rotational movements will help you increase your core strength and stability. "These exercises are basically training you to handle torque so if you get bumped or fall or twist your spine a certain way, you have strong enough musculature to handle that," Kollath explains.
For the Pallof press, you'll work with a resistance band anchored to the side of your body or a cable pulley. Bring the resistance band or cable forward, and keep yourself from rotating when the band or cable attempts to move you into a rotation (hence, anti-rotation).