Abdominal exercises for women should include techniques to improve core strength and stability. Core exercises are great for strengthening the back helping prevent low back pain.
This is the main reason to workout your abs. The more functional your core, the better you can workout your abs.
The abdominals are great stabilizers and shouldn't just be trained in flexion and extension (crunches and back extensions).
One of the main functions of the core is to prevent motion. This is why training ab stability is more important than flexing your abs and spine with sit-ups and crunches.
So you can see why isolation exercises such as planks and side planks are so important for spine health.
Working out your abs with core stability exercises are important for activating stabilizer and trunk muscles you may have been neglecting in your previous training.
Whether it's a stability ball or a unilateral exercise such as one-arm dumbbell lateral raise, improving core strength and balance will help prevent back pain and rip those abs.
The following are 4 important abdominal exercises for women that work the tiny muscles involved in stabilizing the abs.
1. Plank with Leg Lift. Start in normal plank position (forearms and toes on the floor).
Maintain a solid rigid position while keeping your core tight. Keep a straight line from head to butt to heels. While holding this position, slowly raise one leg about 5 to 8 inches off the floor.
Hold for 2 seconds then return the foot to the floor. Repeat with the other leg.
2. Plank with Arm Lift. Start in the same position as a basic plank. Begin the movement by shifting your weight to your right forearm. Now, extend your left arm straight out in front of your body. Hold for 3 seconds. Return your arm back to the start position and repeat with the opposite arm.
3. Side Plank. Lie on your left side. Position yourself with the left forearm on the ground and prop yourself up with the side of your left foot. Tighten your stomach to help stabilize.
Raise your hips until your body makes a straight line from ankles to hips to head.
Hold this position for 30 seconds (or whatever the alotted time is).
Return to the floor and flip around and repeat the other side.
4. Bird Dog. This is a full body core stability exercise that will work your glutes, abs, and lower back.
Start by positioning on all 4s on the floor. Palms are flat on the floor with shoulders about hip width. Knees and shoulders should both be bent to 90 degrees.
Start the movement by raising your right arm up and forward. Raise the left leg up and back at the same time as you raise the arm. Be bracing your core the entire time.
The right leg and left arm should be raise up and extending until there's a straight line from heel to butt to hand. Focus on keeping your back and butt completely still during the entire movement.
Hold this position for 2 seconds then return to the start position. Repeat the opposite arm and leg.
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