Whether you want to tone your body, lose a few inches around your waist or achieve that long-desired six-pack, ab workouts for women are fantastic means of strengthening your core and getting in shape. And the best part is that they don't require excessive gym equipment, as most can be done within the comforts of your home.
While there are many core strengthening exercises you may engage in, we have selected the 5 best core exercises for women that you can incorporate into your next workout.
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Best core strengthening exercises to try out:
1. Hip lifts
Lie down on your back, raise your legs, and hold them perpendicular to your torso. Keep your arms by your sides as you raise your hips and lift them a few inches off the floor. Hold it for a few seconds before lowering them to the ground. Keep repeating and try to do each rep without letting your hips fully touch down on the floor for a more intense workout.
2. Flutter kicks
Flutter kicks and workouts are great for your core. Just lie on your back and tighten your ab muscles. Raise your legs, keeping them straight and above the level of your hips. Leave your arms straight in line with the floor. With your toes pointed forward, start lowering one leg and bring it back up as you lower the other. Continue the movement of kicking while keeping your core engaged.
3. Leg lifts
Leg raise ab workouts are some of the best exercises for your ab and leg muscles. Lie on your back and hold your core muscles tight. Lift your legs about one foot off the ground until you feel your core engaged. Bring them back down and repeat the movement without letting your ankles touch the floor at each rep.
Do side leg lifts by turning on your side and lifting one leg at a time to engage the sides of your core.
4. Bicycle crunches
Go a step further from your average double ab crunches to incorporate bicycle crunches. While lying flat on the floor with your legs stretched in front and hands behind your head, lift your shoulder blades off the ground and bring in your right knee towards your chest and have your left elbow meet the knee. Switch sides to engage the left knee and right elbow in the same movement and keep alternating. Make sure not to push your neck forward with your hands as the force should be generated from your abs.
5. Mountain climbers
Get on a plank position with your arms straight and place your wrists directly beneath your shoulders. Alternatively, bring each knee to your chest and back out as you speed up the rotation keeping your glutes engaged.
How to recover from ab workouts:
It's a must to conduct adequate muscle recovery after a workout, as you're sure to experience some level of pain and soreness all over your body after an engaging ab workout session.
Perhaps you're wondering why your legs hurt after doing abs workouts. What's interesting is that most core exercises engage other parts of your body's muscle group, and as such, you may experience soreness in areas aside from your abs.
Pain in your leg muscle is a common occurrence after ab workouts. Hence your post-workout recovery should target leg muscle recovery as well.
Incorporating the following techniques would help your muscles recover faster after a good core workout:
1. Take a cold shower
After an intense workout, a cold shower is a great way to relax your muscles and help them regenerate. It is known to help reduce muscle soreness and promote faster recovery.
2. Use a calf muscle recovery tool
If you're experiencing pain in your legs and calves, an active massage compression tool would be the ideal solution. SPRYNG calf compression wraps are some of the best recovery massage tools available that promote healing in your leg muscles through active compression.
3. Hot water bottle
Experiencing sore abs is a sign you've had yourself a good ab workout. A good old hot water bottle or a heat wrap can help ease the pain in your sore abs as it increases blood flow and speeds up recovery.
4. Rest and recover
One of the best ways to relieve muscle soreness post-workout is to allow your body to heal itself. So don't try to push beyond your limits. Give yourself plenty of rest and ensure you receive sufficient high-quality sleep each night so your body can recover itself.
For more on alleviating muscle pain post-workout, visit here.