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Ab Exercises for Women

ExerciseBallMany people believe that the sexiest part of a woman might be flat and sleek abs. To achieve those muscles without looking like Mr. Universe is really more simple than you might imagine. In the first place women don’t normally have enough testosterone in their body to develop large, bulky muscle. Instead, it is normal for them to develop lean muscle, improve strength and improve balance.

So how should women begin a program to develop those flat and sexy abs?

The first exercise that you shouldn’t include in your exercise program are crunches. In the first place, crunches only target one part of the abdominals, the large muscle that runs down the front of your body or rectus abdominus. In order to get a lean look from all views (and not just your front) you’ll be doing multiple different types of abdominal exercises.

In the second place, crunches require that you curl your spine and place an abnormal load on the lower back and increase the risk of lower back pain. Instead, it is more effective to do abdominal exercises that keep your back in a stable position. Interestingly, these exercises also work more than one set of muscles at a time and therefore are very time efficient. This is important in a fast pace daily program.

Crunches also do not work your abdominal muscles doing a natural motion for them. In real life your core muscles are expected to keep your back stable and provide protection for your internal organs. Instead, the crunch works only one muscle group in a motion that puts more stress on your back.

Crunches also do not work the lower abs. These muscles are very important to your strength, balance and abs that look good in your summer bathing suit.

So, what’s better?

There are actually two different types of exercises that will work your back, arms and abs, giving you the sleek, strong core muscles you are looking for. You’ll get all this in 10 minutes 3 times a week!

Do these exercises with at least 48 hours in between so your muscles have the chance to rebuild, stronger and more powerful.

1. Pushups: These should be done with your back completely flat and your head in a straight line. Hold your stomach and core muscles tight, like someone is going to punch you. If you can only manage one, then do just one. Work up to doing 15 repetitions 2 times. That’s 2 sets of 15 reps.

2. Plank: The plank is done in the pushup position with your elbows on the floor and your forarms pressed into the floor. Keeping your back flat and your head flat, tighten your abs and back like you are expecting a punch in the stomach. Hold this position 3 times. Work up to holding it for 90 seconds 3-5 times.

3. Side Planks: This exercise is the same concept as the plank, but done on your side. You’ll do them on both sides. Starting on your left side, place your elbow beneath your shoulder and lift your hips off the ground. Keep your body completely straight, like a plank of wood. Your feet should be on top of each other. Hold for up to 45 seconds doing between 3-5.

Each of these three exercises can be accelerated as you become stronger. For instance, you can do pushups holding hand weights. When you have pressed up and you can lift one weight and work your shoulders and back.

The benefits of these exercises is that they don’t take a lot of time, they work multiple muscle groups and they do not put strain on your back.

Have Fun!

RESOURCES

Real Simple: 6 Easy Lower Abdominal Exercises
http://www.realsimple.com/health/fitness-exercise/workouts/lower-abdominal-exercises-00100000062453/

Health: 24 Fat Burning Ab Exercises
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20664616_2,00.html

Women’s Health: Flatten Your Belly With This Killer Ab Workout
http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/flatten-your-belly

Womens health Magazine: 10 Abs Exercises Better Than Crunches
http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/abs-exercises

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Copyright 2014 The Franklin Reporter & Advocate
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