Top 5 Women’s Abs Exercises for a Sexy Midsection

The best women’s abs exercises

Women’s abs exercises are slowly becoming the most popular topic here at Lean Curves. Women want to know how to flatten their abs and get more definition and tightnesss. Here are the five best exercises for developing a sexy midsection.

Edit: I recommend you head over to our Ab Workouts For Women section and check out the selection there. We have some of the best women’s ab workouts available, and of course they’ll all free and easy to follow.

1 – Hanging Knee Raise

The hanging knee raise is one of my favorites and is the best exercise for the lower abs by far. Your legs are quite heavy objects and using your abs to lift them up and then to do a reverse crunch is an excellent method of targetting and punishing the lower abs.

The hanging knee raise should be done slowly whilst hanging from a chin up bar. You should never swing your legs in place but instead the motion should be controlled and your abs should be tensed throughout the whole ROM.

One of the temptations in the exercise is to let your upper legs do the work or to lean back half way through it to make it easier. If you want the best results you have to keep everything nice and controlled. The best way to do this is to keep your mind focussed on your lower abs and make sure they are doing the work.


2 – The Decline Crunch

If you have a decline sit up board at your gym you should use it every time you train your abs. Doing a sit up or a crunch on a decline board is one of the best ways to make your abs do a little bit more work and it is a very effective exercise for building midsection strength and power.

One of the things I love most about this exercise is that there are so many ways to jazz it up. For example, you can:

  • alter the height of the board
  • do a crunch or a full sit up
  • add a twist to the top of the motion
  • add a weight to your chest
  • perform super slow declines

If you try to vary the way you do it each time you go to the gym you will see unprecedented success with this exercise.


3 – Bicycle Crunches

Recently a fitness book I was reading wrote that in their studies of the abs exercises it was the bicycle crunch that caused the abs to tense the most. It was (supposedly) twice as effective as the crunch for ‘crunching’ your abs.

I found this interesting and so I began experimenting with it. At first I pumped them out quickly and didn’t find them very challenging at all. However, when I slowed down the bike crunch and focussed on my abs and my breathing I found that it worked quite well.

The idea is to mix both the lower and the upper abs in one exercise. You fully extend out one leg while the other is bent and you touch your opposite elbow to the bent leg as if you are doing a twisting crunch. Then you repeat for the other side without taking any rest or dropping your torso back down so the whole time you are doing them your upper body is in a crunch position. It’s tough.


4 – Fitness Ball Crunches

I love these things and I will always write about them even when the ‘fitness ball craze’ is over. Why? Because they work so well.

Fitness ball crunches take the pressure off of your back and target your abs so well that the other muscles that usually come in to play during a crunch are left alone. This is a great thing for people who are struggling to get the movements right or who have a big waist and want to minimize the amount it gets worked so as to avoid it getting bigger.

When you get the motion of the fitness ball crunch right you are in for some serious growth. The idea is to roll the ball backwards as you crunch down so that your butt gets closer to the ground and then do the opposite on the reverse part. Try it.


5 – Sprinting

What the…? I hear you all say! Sprinting? Is he crazy? Well, you won’t find this listed at any other fitness site as a great abs exercise and if you do you know they are copying from Real Women’s Fitness.

When I was in sprinting training my abs grew like no other time. It is a mixture of the faster weight loss and the massive amounts of horemones that are released when the fast running is done. Also, the art of running is quite beneficial to the abs.

So, next time you are in the mood for some weight loss exercise try a few sessions of sprinting and see whether your abs respond. I bet they do!

About Katie

Katie has transformed her body from a flabby 186lbs, to a fit & toned 124 pounds through healthy diet and exercise. Katie joined the Lean Curves team in 2007 and has posted hundreds of articles on fitness, fat loss and healthy eating.


  1. Janice Wright says:

    i really hope this helps
    i am training for track this spring and need tight abs

  2. Heather says:

    Sprinting is, by far, the best ab workout. I can do 1000 situps or crunches and feel nothing after. The other day I did 8 100m sprints and my abs hurt so bad I can barely cough or laugh!

  3. Stacey says:

    Running is the best workout ever! Especially incorporating an uphill. I can workout hard at the gym, but when I go jogging up a mountain trail, I really feel it the next day!

  4. CHAIT says:

    i have heard that sit ups and crunches are not good for girls as if done they face problem it true????

  5. bob says:

    awesome thanks

  6. Sara says:

    I have heard that when women do ab exercises it makes their stomach bulg. Is this true? If so, does what should I do? I really want my abs to be lean, does stretching help?


  7. Melinda says:

    OMG! When I started my routine I had 4 months to get tone. With these ideas and changing my eating habits it only took 2-1/2 months to get where I wanted to be. Many thanks.

  8. Norma says:

    Sara, your abs will bulge if you do ab exercises with heavy weights. I do lots of reps with low weights and my abs are flat and defined.

  9. Shonna says:

    I need help getting a flat tummy in 2 1/2 monthes please help me

  10. nat says:

    ive only been doing abs workout for 2 weeks and it definately helps i u really try hard to focus and feel the abs working!

  11. Kyra says:

    lye down and hold onto an object above ur head (object on the ground) that will not lift up. Slowly lift up your legs until they form a little less then a 90-degree angle with your torso and head. then slowly let your legs down, but dont allow them to touch the ground. reapeat this multiple times.

    THIS TOTALLY WORKS! i did lyk 50 and i can feel it already!

  12. P says:

    what excersise should you be doing if you want the fat around your belly to be tight?

  13. Sam says:

    If you want to work the belly fat on the sides , u need to work ur oblique muscles .. the best cardio is swimming to loose the fat and bicycle sit ups and any form of crunch that works the oblique mucsles… but u also need to work the entire abdominals .. upper , lower and oblique in order to notice a difference. its a good way to vary ur ab workout..

  14. trisha says:

    so im not fat i have a pretty nice body i just want abs in lik a month what can i do to get abs

  15. crystal says:

    so everyone says im skinny, but i feel like i need to get my stomach tighter. what can i do?

  16. Theresa says:

    I am 50 in menopause and my waist blew up in two years. I have the beginnings of spinal arthritis and want to tighten and have a waistline again. I have weak knees and I may not be able to sprint until at least I lose some weight. I want to tighten my abs and get a waistline. Any suggestions?

  17. mary said says:

    try the p90x ab work out every day you will see results very fast

  18. anna says:

    these excercises are a great way to build stomach muscle
    however, i find that combined with cardio training they have produce even better results. If you find that you are carrying some extra weight around your midsection, try doing the eliptical for at least half an hour and then ab workouts diretly after. Also, no matter what excercise you do, whether its bench pressing, arm workouts, leg workouts your core is always active and therefore your abs will be too. Any cardio training such as the treadmill, cross trainer or even the bikes will help. I have also read that if your goal is to lose fat, you should do cardio before weights and if you want to build muscle, cardio training should be done after weight training. However, i find it easier to do cardio first and then wights because your muscles are warmed up and the results are still good. I know i have rambled on but i hope this helps some of you :)

  19. Nortwest says:

    I dont know who is the author of this article but definitely has no idea about human anatomy and especially kinesiology. I kindly suggest you to do some reseach or self study before u publish any article or give tips to ppl about something u have no clue.

  20. louise says:

    i am a runner and found that i lost inches off my eaist but i struggle to get definition in my lower stomach, my upper abs i can see by doing abs but i really struggle doing the lower abs find my back arches?! any advice?

  21. Lacey says:

    I’m try lose 5 inches off my waist line. I recently got a BOSU ball as a gift, and have been doin crunches in it is this the same as regular fitness ball or better??

  22. Help? says:

    I need flat abs in 1 1/2 months, help?

  23. Cerise says:

    ok, i really hope this helps, ive been struggling with weight all my life and i am trying to lose what i have, dieting is helping alot! but i really need some other excerise then walking or whatever to get me excited about not just walking 5 miles a day… thanks.

  24. Katie says:

    Just FYI – never do your cardio before weight training – it wastes energy and renders your hard work with dunbells etc ineffective. Cardio comes last! and for fat loss – only work at 60% of your maximum reccomended heart rate. 20 minutes a day is all you need – stay consistent!

  25. nicki says:

    i need to get flat abs in 2 weeks help

  26. amela says:

    wow, I never thought that this is so easy, well not that much. I always thought situps were the best manner in which you could get hot stomach abs, and I don’t mean only flat stomach but real six pack and sure also many others think this is the best way. Thanks so much for these advices, they just might work!

  27. yuenmei says:

    i really want abs what is the best exercise i can do for a 15 year old?

  28. Steph says:

    hi im 12 years old and i dont want lots of abs cuz i think tht looks disgustin but i would like to have lower abs i can see my upper upper abs sculpting but i want to know what excercises can i do to gain lower abs ?

  29. cece says:

    to gain lower abs u can do leg sissors all u have to do is hang on somethng above you and turn side ways and left your leg as high as they can go on your side and kick your legs

  30. skyla says:

    i am twelve and i weigh almost 150 pounds! i try and try to lose weight but i just keep gaining! do you think these exercizes would help? i really hope they will! Thanks

  31. Kylee says:

    I am going to try this out :) i hope it works im 110 and i wanna be 102 i do run every single say i used to be lighter but some how i gained wait is there any suggestions on what food helps you lose weight and helps you with your abbs ? thanku!

  32. manny says:

    Decline bench crunch? Are you kidding me? People in the gym have no clue how to do this properly.
    This is a horrible “ab” exercise. The psoas muscles do most of the activating not to mention the lower back arch that people will injure themselves doing the movement. And with a twist even????

  33. Heidi says:

    Okay….im 175 and i suck in my belly :/ im tired of it. my belly is big and i need results in about 5 months. please help v.v

  34. keyara says:

    my heart rate is 36 & im 11

  35. Sarah says:

    Isn’t running bad for the female reproductive organs?

  36. Joanne Martin says:

    I am a huge fan of the P90X ab work out. Only 15 minutes twice a week gave me the better results than any other workout. I highly reccomend.

  37. Carissa says:

    I am trying to lose anywhere between 15 to 30 pounds i have gained over 30 pounds in the last year and i hate the way i am now. i have absolutely no energy. most of my weight has been gained in the stomach area. i use to wear size 1 to 3 pants now i wear 7 to 9 pants. i need the fast way to lose it or tighten it up please help..

  38. Darlene says:

    I have been doing P90x for three weeks amazing results, can see abs already. You need to work your whole body, need to lose the fat.

  39. Hailey says:

    im 14, i weigh about 137 – 140 lbs. im 5’6 5’7 and i really want to loose 10 pounds fast. its like everything goes to my stomach and i want to be in shape . help?

  40. cathy allen says:

    What is the best exercise I can do to get that 6 pack i want, but my lower back just feel like some kind of weights are inside, giving me excrutaing pain, is because my core is weak, or I need to see a back speacialits, I am so tire of this muffin top, I am 45 yrs old

  41. Lynne says:

    Tried this so far for 5 weeks. Really hard but other girls are now looking at me like OMG. Just in time, as the fall turns to winter.

  42. T says:

    “What the…? I hear you all say! Sprinting? Is he crazy” I am so dissapointed to find out this was written by a man. Although I do some of these exercises already, a man and woman respond differently to different routines incl sprinting.

  43. Shelby says:

    Start in a crunch position, but legs like you would do the “butterfly” strech with your legs. Then do crunches like that. Also bend one knee while the other is across it.

  44. Shelby says:

    Start in a crunch position, but legs like you would do the “butterfly” strech with your legs. Then do crunches like that. Also bend one knee while the other is across it.

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