Ab Workouts for Women

Best 18 Ab Workouts for Women: Flatten Your Tummy with These Proven Techniques

Best 18 Ab Workouts for Women: Flatten Your Tummy with These Proven Techniques

Discover the best 18 ab workouts for women and proven techniques to flatten your tummy. Empower your core with effective exercises. Ab Workouts for Women guide.


 Getting toned, defined abs is one of the most sought-after fitness goals for women. And rightfully so—a strong core provides tremendous functional benefits beyond just looking good. Proper core strength improves posture and balance, prevents back pain, enhances athletic performance, supports the spine, and makes everyday activities like lifting and bending easier on the body.

AbWorkouts for Women can also help pull in the stomach and whittle the waistline, leading to a flattened tummy and trim physique. As a bonus, strengthening the deep abdominal muscles can even help prepare the body for labor and delivery by preventing diastasis recti.

However, lifting weights alone won’t banish belly fat. Spot reduction through ab workouts for women is a myth—you can’t remove fat from one isolated area. To fully transform the midsection, it’s crucial to pair ab workouts for women with a healthy, reduced-calorie diet and plenty of cardio.

For optimal results, aim for 300 minutes of moderate cardio per week along with full-body strength training sessions 2–3 times per week. Combining balanced exercise with a nutritious diet will help reveal those sculpted abdominals as the weight comes off.

This ultimate guide will provide women with 18 of the most effective ab workouts for women to burn fat, build lean muscle, and uncover that strong, toned core. Let’s get started flattening your tummy from all angles!

Anatomy of Core Muscles

Familiarizing yourself with the muscles that make up the abdominal area is key to understanding how to target them through training. The four major muscle groups include:

  • Rectus abdominis – The long, flat superficial muscles that extend down the front of the abdomen, creating the “six-pack” look.
  • External obliques – On each side of the rectus abdominis, running diagonally from the ribs down to the pelvis.
  • Internal obliques – Underneath the external obliques, running perpendicular to them.
  • Transverse abdominis – Innermost layer that wraps around the trunk like a corset.

Top 18 Ab Workouts for Women


Top 18 Ab Workouts for Women
Top 18 Ab Workouts for Women

Proper core training stimulates all these muscles through their full range of motion. Let’s explore the most effective ab workouts for women to target each area.

1. Crunches Ab Workouts for Women

Crunches Ab Workouts for Women
Crunches Ab Workouts for Women


Crunches remain a tried-and-true move for defining the rectus abdominis. To do:

  • Lie on your back, knees bent, hands lightly behind the head or crossed over the chest
  • Draw navel in towards the spine, lift shoulders ~2 inches off the ground
  • Don’t pull your head forward; keep your chin away from your chest
  • Slowly lower back down with control
  • 3 sets, 12-15 reps

Pro tip: For greater oblique activation, perform twisting crunches to hit the waistline.

2. Reverse Crunches

Reverse Crunches


Reverse crunches primarily work the lower abdominals. To perform:

  • Lie on the mat, legs up at 90 degrees, arms at the sides or under the glutes
  • Pull knees towards the chest, lifting hips off the ground several inches
  • Slowly lower back to start position with control
  • Complete 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps

Pro tip: Keep legs together and knees straight throughout the motion to increase difficulty.

3. Planks

Planks build incredible core endurance by holding the body stiff as a plank. Options:

  • Front planks – In a pushup position, keep back flat and hold for 30-90 seconds x 3 sets
  • Side planks – Supporting on one forearm, stack feet, and hold for 20 seconds per side x 3
  • Reverse planks – Place hands behind hips and press through heels to lift hips. Hold for time.

4. V-ups

V-ups work the upper and lower abs simultaneously. To do:

  • Lie on back, arms/legs extended overhead in a ‘V’ shape
  • Contract abs to lift legs and torso, reaching hands toward toes
  • Lower with control, repeat for 10-15 reps x 2-3 sets

Pro tip: For added difficulty, hover your legs above the floor throughout the exercise.

5. Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle crunches target the rectus abdominis and obliques. To perform:

  • Lie on your back, hands behind your head, knees bent to 90 degrees
  • Bring right elbow to left knee by crunching upper body
  • Switch sides, alternating legs and elbows in a “cycling” motion
  • Complete 10-15 reps per side, 2 to 3 sets

6. Russian Twists

Russian twists work the obliques through rotational movement. Do:

  • Sit on the floor, knees bent, leaning back at a 45-degree angle
  • Holding weight or medicine ball at chest, rotate torso left to right
  • Keep legs lifted; move only at the trunk
  • Do 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps on each side

7. Flutter Kicks

Flutter kicks isolate the lower abdominals. To execute:

  • Lie on back, legs extended 45 degrees, head/shoulders slightly lifted
  • Keep legs straight and long, lift one leg slightly, and switch legs rapidly
  • Flutter legs up and down for 15-30 seconds
  • Complete 2-3 sets

8. Leg Lifts

Leg lifts, like reverse crunches, work the lower abdominal muscles. To do standard leg lifts:

  • Lie on your back, legs straight, arms at the sides or under your glutes
  • Keeping legs straight, lift them to 90 degrees, and don’t arch back
  • Slowly lower legs back down with control
  • Complete 10-15 reps, 2-3 sets

Pro tip: For added difficulty, perform hanging straight leg lifts from a pull-up bar.

9. Ab Roller

Ab rollouts utilize a wheel to target the entire core. To perform:

  • Kneel on the mat, grasp roller wheel handles, engage the core
  • Keeping your body straight, roll the wheel out in front of you as far as controlled
  • Pull back to start, resisting arching low back
  • Repeat for 10-15 reps, 2-3 sets

10. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers build core strength and get the heart rate up. Do:

  • In high plank, draw right knee to chest
  • Switch legs, bringing left knee in
  • Increase speed for 30 seconds
  • Complete 3 sets, resting 1 minute between

Pro tip: For low-impact, keep toes on the floor and alternate pressing heels back.

11. Hollow Hold

The hollow hold strengthens the entire core. To perform:

  • Lie on back, legs straight, arms extended overhead
  • Raise legs/upper back slightly off the floor, engage the core
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds, keeping back rounded
  • Complete 3-5 sets

Pro tip: Challenge abs further by reaching arms/legs away from the trunk during the hold.

12. Dead Bugs

Dead bugs isolate the transverse abdominis muscle. Do:

  • Lie on your back, arms straight above shoulders; knees bent 90 degrees
  • Keeping low back pressed down, extend the opposite arm/leg out
  • Hold briefly, bring back to the center
  • Repeat on each side for 10-15 reps, 2-3 sets

13. Forearm Plank

Forearm planks keep the core braced like standard planks. To do:

  • In plank position, drop down to forearms with elbows under shoulders
  • Keep hips lifted, body straight from shoulders to heels
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds, repeat for 3-5 sets

Pro tip: Do slow, controlled hip dips from side to side to increase oblique activation.

14. Boat Pose

The boat pose engages the deep core abdominal muscles. Perform:

  • Sit on the mat, knees bent, lean back, and lift your feet slightly off the floor
  • Raise legs to balance on sit bones, legs bent or straight
  • Extend your arms straight in front of you or reach toward your toes
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds, repeat 2-3 times

15. Chair Pose

Chair pose tones the abs while improving balance and posture. Do:

  • Stand with feet together, raise arms overhead
  • Send hips back like sitting in a chair
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds, repeat 3 times

Pro tip: For greater difficulty, raise up on your toes and hold longer duration.

16. Heel Touches

Heel touches work the upper and lower abdominals. To perform:

  • Lie on back, legs extended straight overhead
  • Keeping legs locked, crunch up and touch right hand to right heel
  • Return to start, repeat on the other side
  • Do 10-15 reps per side, 2-3 sets

17. Windshield Wipers


Windshield Wipers

Windshield wipers target the obliques. To do:

  • Lie on the back, legs straight and extended upwards.
  • Keeping legs vertical, lower them out to one side towards the floor.
  • Bring legs across the body to the other side, like a windshield wiper motion.
  • Perform 15-20 reps on each side, 2-3 sets.

Pro tip: To increase difficulty, hold your legs a few inches off the floor during the movement.

18. Bent-Knee Side Plank

Bent-Knee Side Plank

Bent-knee side planks build oblique and core stability. Perform:

  • Lie on side, elbow under shoulder, knees bent at 90 degrees.
  • Raise hips to create a straight line from knees to shoulders.
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds per side, repeat 2-3 times each side.

Pro tip: Make it more challenging by extending your bottom leg straight out on the floor.

Sample Ab Workouts for Women Routines

Sample Ab Workouts for Women Routines
Sample Ab Workouts for Women Routines

Now that we’ve covered a variety of effective exercises, here are three Ab Workouts for Women routines for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels:

Beginner Ab Workout Routine

  • Crunches – 2 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Reverse crunches – 2 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Plank – 3 sets, 30 seconds
  • Bicycle crunches – 2 sets, 10 reps on each side
  • Russian twist – 2 sets, 10 reps on each side

Intermediate Ab Workouts for Women Routine

  • Reverse crunches – 3 sets, 12-15 reps
  • V-ups – 3 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Side plank – 3 sets, 30-45 sec each side
  • Mountain climbers – 3 sets, 45 seconds
  • Russian twist – 3 sets, 15 reps on each side
  • Ab roller – 3 sets, 8-10 reps

Advanced Ab Workouts for Women Routine

  • Hanging leg raises – 3 sets, 15 reps.
  • Ab roller – 3 sets, 12-15 reps
  • Windshield wipers – 3 sets, 15 reps on each side
  • Plank – 3 sets, 60 seconds
  • Boat pose – 3 sets, 45-60 seconds
  • Flutter kicks – 2 sets, 30 seconds

Aim to perform focused ab workouts for women 2-3 days per week, allowing at least 1 day of rest in between sessions. Listen to your body and don’t train abs when very sore.

Diet Tips for a Flat Tummy

Without addressing diet, even the best ab workouts for women won’t reveal that six-pack. Here are some nutritional tips for losing belly fat:

  • Maintain a calorie deficit to burn fat overall.
  • Eat plenty of lean protein to retain and build muscle.
  • Reduce refined carbs like white bread, pasta, etc.
  • Limit sugar, fried foods, and excess alcohol
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
  • Increase high-fiber foods to help reduce body fat.
  • Focus on whole, unprocessed foods as the cornerstone of your diet.


Consistency is key when working towards tight, toned abs. Follow a comprehensive plan that includes HIIT cardio, full-body lifts, plenty of ab-specific exercises, and a solid nutrition plan. Over time, your dedication will transform the midsection and reveal sculpted abdominal muscles.

Which of these ab workouts for women will you incorporate into your next workout routine? Let us know in the comments below!


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