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How much abs is too much abs? by Tanya ,  Jan 10, 2013

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!

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