Ab workouts for women can actually be fun if you think outside the gym. We tend to think of exercise as “work,” and nobody wants to work, right? Unfortunately, women tend to carry their fat around the middle due to hormones.
While looking good in your bikini is great motivation, too much belly fat can increase your risk of heart disease and other health risks. Exercise and diet go hand-in-hand to help beat belly fat. Every meal should include lean protein, leafy green veggies, and healthy carbohydrates to fuel your body for fitness.
You can’t just do a thousand crunches and expect to have abs of steel. Without doing cardio, you end up with that firm abs hidden under a layer of fat. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a minimum of 150 to 250 minutes of cardio every week for weight loss.
You can work it into your busy schedule by breaking it up into blocks of 30 minutes five days a week or even 10 sessions of just 15 minutes each. (3)
The total time is what’s important, so take advantage of your lunch break to sneak in 10 or 15 minutes of something, such as taking the stairs or walking around the block.
Breaking out of the gym rut means you can do these fun ab workouts you may not have thought of at home while watching TV or on vacation.
Bonus: most of these exercises feel more like playing.
Here’s a look at some fun ab workouts for women.
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You can purchase a hula hoop at most discount and dollar stores super cheap, so go ahead and grab a fun color! You will feel like a kid as you get a great workout for your chest, shoulders, and upper back as well as your abs.
You only need 10 minutes a day to see results. Don’t forget to change sides so that both sides of your tummy get an equal workout. If you can only do 5 minutes at first, start with that. (1) Get your kids involved and they will benefit, too. If you master one hoop, add another hoop to double the challenge.
You may think of push-ups as just working your arms or chest, but they can help with weight loss to help trim your stomach.
Hold your body straight while placing your hands on the floor in front of your shoulders. Slowly bend the elbows and lower to the floor and push back up slowly. If you can’t do one traditional push-up, start with knees on the floor until you build some upper body strength. (4)
This basic exercise is great for improving spinal stabilization. It also works the hamstrings, lower back, and glutes. Lay on your back, knees bent, with hands out by your sides.
Slowly raise your hips while keeping your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Keep the body aligned with hips in line with your knees and shoulders, then lower. Repeat for several minutes. Don’t forget to hold your stomach in as you do bridges. (4)
The cobra stretch is a great way to stretch the front of the ribcage, especially if you have been doing traditional crunches or lying-down exercises. Lie face down with your palms flat on the floor near your chest.
Lift your head, shoulders, and chest off the floor as you pull your shoulder blades down and together. Think of a cobra curling its upper body up from the floor. Hold for 2 counts, and then lower back down. Repeat 8 to 10 times. (6)
This full-body workout improves core strength, balance, coordination, and focus. It also gives a great workout for upper and lower body strength. You don’t need an ocean; any calm body of water will work.
Keep feet hip-width apart and bend your knees slightly. Hold shoulder blades down and together with your core engaged as if you’re about to be punched in the stomach. Your top arm should stay straight while bottom elbow bends straight back as if you’re doing a row in the gym. Alternate sides with chest lifted. (5)
Get a friend and the dog together and you’ve got a fun ab workout that doesn’t feel like a workout. Playing Frisbee works your stomach muscles when you throw, and running to catch it gives bursts of all-important cardio. Try standing further apart to increase the challenge. Even if you don’t own a Frisbee, it’s easy to join a game-in-progress at the beach or lake. (1)
Grab a sturdy chair and sit tall on the edge. Place your hands on the edge with fingers pointing straight out towards your knees. Tighten your abs and lift toes 2 to 4 inches off the floor, then lift your butt up off chair.
Try to hold as long as you can. This is tricky if you have weak abs, but try to manage 5 to 10 seconds. Lower all the way down and repeat for one minute. (6)
Mixing any of the above ab workouts for women into your day will add variety to your routine and help make sure you hit all areas of the abs, as well as strengthen your core. Best of all, you don’t need a gym membership.
Many of these activities such as Frisbee and paddle boarding are a fun way to sneak exercise into your day while spending time with family or friends.
Finally, here’s one more unusual thing you may not have thought of. Check your medicine cabinet. Allergy medicines may cause weight gain, according to a Yale study.
Antihistamine users are 10 pounds heavier on average than those who don’t use antihistamines, Type H1 antihistamines such as Allegra block histamines of the immune system, which are important in fat and appetite breakdown. You may need to adjust your diet or add extra exercise when allergy season rolls around. (2)
By the way, Yoga makes for an INSANE Ab and Total Body Workout. No matter what age or stage of fitness you’re in, check out Yoga Burn by Zoe Bray-Cotton. If you’re over 35 and Yoga isn’t your thing, there is an amazing workout designed JUST for you – check it out here: My Bikini Belly or read my full Bikini Belly Review.