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6 Ab Exercises All Women Should Do

Our Next Women's Only Beginners Groups start in May!

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When it comes to training women, ab or core strength is on the top of our list.

Whether your goals are weight-loss, strength, performance or endurance, strengthening and building a better core should be a priority of your exercise routine.

Before we get into why and how you should be training your core, let's quickly discuss what area of the body we are talking about. 

At Dynamic, we focus our core training on the rectus abdominis (think 6-pack) and the lateral abs or obliques. These cover both the front and lateral aspects of your core.

We do not do any direct low-back work as the majority of our members come to us with overused and stiff low backs. In fact, most low-back pain is not due to a weak low-back, but weak abdominals. 

The benefit of improving your core strength goes well beyond better looking abs. 

A strong, stable core has been shown to:

  • Improve posture
  • Protect your spine
  • Decrease low-back pain and stiffness
  • Decrease your risk of injury in and outside of the gym 
  • Increase hip and shoulder range-of-motion
  • Improve total-body strength
  • Improve performance with other strength and cardio exercise
  • Increase endurance (better breathing and diaphragm function)

Now that we know why you should be building bulletproof abs, let's get into our 6 favorite ab exercises!

Enjoy :) 

#1 Planks (front and side)

When is comes to ab training, the plank is number one on our list! It challenges your abs and obliques to work to stabilize both your spine and pelvis.  This is a great teaching tool for how to brace and how your posture should be while doing just about every other strength and cardio exercise. Getting good at planks will have a great impact on your posture, strength and performance. 

Key Points (front plank)

  • Start on elbows with fists directly under your eyes
  • Keep straight line from head to heels
  • Keep hips tucked under and glutes squeezed
  • Focus on long exhales through your mouth
  • Start with 3 sets of :10-:30 holds/side

Key Points (side plank)

  • Start on side with elbow directly under shoulder
  • Keep hips squared and high 
  • Keep straight line from head to heels
  • Keep hips tucked under and glutes squeezed
  • Focus on long exhales through your mouth 
  • You should feel lateral ab or side
  • Start with 3 sets of :10-:30 holds/side

Ready to take your planks to the next level? Click HERE for 5 new and challenging plank variations!

#2 Ball Rollout

Get ready for some ab soreness! These are one of the toughest exercises for your core as you have to work extremely hard to hold your spine in a good position as you rollout. If you are new to these, start with a small range-of-motion and work to a larger motion over time. 

Key Points:

  • Start on knees with forearms on ball
  • Have hips tucked under, glutes squeezed and abs braced throughout
  • Start motion by letting ball rollout up arms
  • Your hips and head should move together towards the ball
  • Maintain a straight line from head to knees throughout
  • Go as low as possible without losing spine position and return
  • Start with 2-3 sets of 6-10 reps 

#3 Anti-Rotation Press

The anti-rotation press is our favorite exercise for that typically tough to hit area of your lateral oblique. By pressing the band out, your lateral obliques need to work double time to prevent yourself from rotating. 

Key Points:

  • Set up in athletic position, feet shoulder width apart
  • Start cable handle or band at chest level with fingers interlocked
  • Brace abs throughout
  • Press handle or band out front so arms extend straight
  • Hold for a long exhale and feel abs tighten then return to starting position
  • Start with 3 sets of 8-10 reps/side

#4 Farmer Carry

The farmer carry is a favorite amongst our members. Think of these as a weighted and moving plank. Walking with weights is a great way to improve the strength of your grip, shoulders, core and hips. Carries challenge you to control your spine and aid in improving core stability and even improve cardio and fat-loss by elevating your heart-rate.

Key Points:

  • Start with 2 kettlebells or dumbells in hands
  • Squeeze weights hard and stay tall
  • Keep shoulders back and abs braced
  • Do not allow weights to move around
  • Start with 3 sets of 40-50 yd walks

#5 Wall Press Dead-Bug

The dead-bug is one of our favorite ab exercises here at Dynamic. It is a great way to build anterior ab strength and is great for all levels. We use them in our warm-ups, strength circuits and even as part of our cardio finishers.

Below is a video taking you through the wall press dead-bug:

Key Points:

  • Start with hands on wall and low back flat to floor
  • Keep hands pressing into wall
  • Lift legs to 90 degrees, knees bent
  • Slowly reach one leg out, pause and exhale through mouth
  • Press low back into floor as you exhale
  • You should feel abs working
  • Start with 3 sets of 5 reps/leg

#6 Pause Bear Crawl 

Think of the pause bear crawl as a more challenging, moving plank. We love crawls here at Dynamic as they work to strengthen and stabilize the entire torso. The movement at your hips and shoulders challenges your abs to stabilize your spine, rib cage and pelvis. Not only do these work your abs and shoulders but they are great for getting your heart-rate up and burning some serious calories! Be sure to master the front plank before adding the bear crawl to your routine.

Key Points:

  • Start on all fours with hands placed under shoulders and knees under hips
  • Start by lifting knees off ground
  • Progress forward by moving opposite arm and leg at same time no more than 3"
  • Pause in between each rep 
  • Keep abs braced and do not let low back or trunk move
  • Also move backwards to increase the challenge
  • Start with 2-3 sets of 5-10yds

Our Next Women's Only Beginners Groups start in May!

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